In the past 72 hours, our household has gone from a kid with 102 degree fever, strep throat, and sleeping most of the day, to Mr. Risky Business parading around in his underwear and sunglasses, calling himself "Fast Batman". I've watched more Lego, Power Ranger, and TMNT shows than I care to admit. I love the miracle of antibiotics!
I have had a lot of thinking time between fretting about when to call the doctor and keeping up with work emails and projects. I am thankful to have a job to afford me the luxury of sick days. Not every mom has this. I am thankful for technology to be able to check in remotely. I am thankful for a husband that shares this responsibility with me. It takes work juggling what's important on each other's calendars and our family but we seem to work it out.
Now that I'm on the other side of lost sleep, I thought of some tips to share with my fellow working moms and dads:
1. Manage your work well. Keep on top of important projects so you can afford to walk away for a day or two unexpectedly. Nothing is more anxiety producing than have deadlines looming when your child comes down with the latest virus! It will happen. Don't be surprised, plan for it.
2. Get permission to work flex hours, especially if you haven't done number 1. You can do almost anything at the office, except return phone calls, after hours when others aren't there. In fact, my "secret sauce" is always arriving earlier than everyone else at the office. I can get more done in that time before anyone else is there. My husband and I have done split shifts so we each cover a half-day and we both have permission from our employers to conduct occasional business from home.
3. Family and Friends Plan. There is no reason mom should be the only one to stay at home. Of course, for many people that are single or have no family nearby this may not be an option. I've looked into friends that can help too (stay at home moms or friends with part-time jobs). No one should have to choose between their child and their livelihood, but I'm a realist and I know this happens out in the world. For that reason alone, this back up "village" is necessary. You'll have anxiety about spreading your kids germs to their family. I suggest loading them up with Kleenex, sanitizer, and disinfectant spray. If they're a parent, they'll sympathize with your need and you can reciprocate the favor someday.
4. Don't keep kids home for every cough and sniffly nose. As soon as they are fever, diarrhea, and all that other good stuff, free for 24 hrs, send them back to daycare/school.
Hope these tips can help another working parent. Please share any additional ones you may have!! I gotta go catch Fast Batman and wrangle him into bed!