Going to Work When Your Kids are Sick

HebrewDawn: Going to Work When Your Kids are Sick

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.

HebrewDawn: Going to Work When Your Kids are Sick
VHP sleeping off her fever


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.



When and Where to Draw the Line

Boundaries are something we wrestle with from a young age, though we may not appreciate the limits they seemingly put on our lives. From a young age we fight to push these very limits, even though they exist to keep us safe, out of trouble, and on the right path. In time we come to learn to set our own boundaries so that we can make room for what’s important in our life. As adults, the boundaries we establish are for the many facet of for our life, and we must decide when and where to draw the line.

HebrewDawn: Boundary Setting 101 - When & Where to Draw the Line

It’s taken me many years and LOTS of practice, but I am much better at setting boundaries than I once did. There was a time when I worked 40+ hours a week, went to school full-time, volunteered, and somehow made time for friends and family. But all of that came at a cost. One such expense was sleep, because who has time for 7 to 8 hours of sleep when you have that much to do? There was also the cost my sanity, as I tried to keep straight where and when I had somewhere to be or something to do. But this was all a small price to pay for being able to do all the things right? Wrong!

Trying to do everything only led to being..

burnt out




and the list goes on.
Been there too? Want to break free from this cycle of trying to do it all, and then heading on a downward spiral of burnout and frustration?  HebrewDawn: Boundary Setting 101 - When & Where to Draw the Line

1. Decide what is most important to you. 

Making time for family or friends? Growing in your career? Volunteering and giving back to your community? Faith?

This may be different for each of us, AND it can vary over time. It’s critical that we pay attention to how our priorities ebb and flow. Before I had my daughter, I preferred starting my work day a little later and would work later into the evening. Now that I have my little girl, I’d much rather start my day earlier and get home to her sooner than later.

2. Decide what your limits are going to be. 

Limiting yourself to work 40-45 hours per week? Taking vacation time regularly? Seeing your family a certain number of times per month? Having dinner with friends once a week?

Just like our priorities and what’s most important, this can be differently for you and me. I’ve learned that working 50-60 hours a week doesn’t make me any more productive, and I’m better off keeping it closer to 40 hours per week. Thankfully I’m not alone in this, and more and more studies are coming out to show this. Even coming to show that you can be at an increased risk of stroke from working more than 55 hours a week. YIKES!

3. Decide when and where you need to draw the line. 

Establishing your boundaries from the start is critical part of being able to maintain them. I have friends who are pastors, and have to choose what their day off is going to be since they work on Sunday. Many choose Monday or Friday in addition to Saturday like many of us. BUT, it’s hard for them to protect their day off, because people want to meet with them on their chosen day off. Like any of us when someone is pushing the limits of our boundaries, they have to decide whether or not to say yes or no. If they say yes, they’re setting the precedent that their boundaries don’t matter. If they say no, people know to respect their boundaries and meet during their work week.

Learning to say no and sticking to it usually doesn’t have it’s negative effects. Instead you protect yourself, and show that you a person of your word. You won’t do that which violates your limits, but you’re all in when the time is appropriate. Once you have established what your boundaries will be, work on knowing your clues for when you’re getting overwhelmed. Being able to recognize this before you’re burnt out helps you recalibrate your boundaries as needed, so that you can make room  for what’s most important to you.

Our Need for Rest

As we begin the first work week of 2016, I want to take a moment to remind all of us of our need for rest. All week long we work so hard, and far too often we go and go and go without taking a moment to pause. How often have you said that you need a weekend from your weekend? How often have you felt too exhausted to go back to work due to all that you did over the weekend?  If you’re ever feeling this way, you need to make more time for rest.

Our bodies and minds are not made for all this going and going and going. We desperately need to make time for rest, so that we can be refreshed for the days ahead. Whether you make Saturday, Sunday, or another day of the week make sure you choose a day to rest. How you spend that day is up to you, but be sure it is in a way that gives you a renewed sense for the week ahead.  I think about my day yesterday which was full of much running around, but ended with an evening spent with my extended family. I probably should have done the errand running on Saturday so that yesterday would have been more restful, but it was still time well spent. After spending the evening celebrating my uncle’s birthday and playing games with as a family, I feel much joy. I can definitely say that my heart and soul feel refreshed and ready for the days ahead.

How do you like to spend your day of rest? What helps you feel refreshed and renewed for the week ahead? I’ll share more in the future about sabbath keeping and our need for rest.