As a parent there are many tough moments mixed into all the beautiful ones. Many of us have experience those difficult ones; like the first time they cry from getting shots, the first time they get seriously injured, and the first time they get sick. But I believe what makes that last moment even more challenging is going to work when your kids are sick.
I keep waiting for the moment that it’s easier to walk out the door leaving my daughter in the care of someone else who loves her while I go to work. To date, that moment never gets easier, and I even dread the moment when it comes. When my little girl is feeling ill, there’s nothing more that I want than for her to feel better. If I can’t make her feel better, then I can snuggle with her until she does.
Unfortunately for me, today is another one of those days that I have to go to work while my little girl is sick. Fortunately my husband has sick AND vacation time through his employer, whereas I only have PTO (paid time off) to be used for both sick and vacation time. Since my husband has more time off, this means he usually stay home with a sick kiddo, and for that I am thankful.
On a day like today, I am most thankful that my daughter is left in the care of her daddy who loves her enormously, is chef extraordinaire, and is one of the most caring people I’ve ever met. I know that without a doubt that my little girl will get nursed back to health with all the cuddles and care she requires.
I know that on a day like today, that not everyone is so fortunate to leave their child in the hands of their spouse, significant other, or another trusted family member. And for this my heart breaks. I can remember the days of my own mother being a single mom, and our neighbors who were single parents as well. They were were stuck with the choice of between going to work to be able to put food on the table and being there with their sick child.
Leaving your child in the care of someone other than yourself and balancing out the responsibilities of work and parenting is never easy. I’m certain leaving for work when your child is sick is not the hardest thing in parenting, but it most certainly can feel like it in the moment. For each person the struggle is different in varying degrees, but it’s a struggle none the less.
I hope the next time we have to wrestle with this situation, we will remember that we are not alone in the guilt and worry. I encourage you to let those that care about you know that you’re having a tough day being apart from your sick child. Most of all, I hope for a day when we don’t have to be stuck choosing between being with our sick child and going to work.