Full-time Job and Your Children

Updated on May 10, 2010
B.C. asks from Fort Worth, TX
17 answers

I am looking forward to getting a full-time job soon, but the problem is i dont have any family where i live its just my husband , my son and i. My husband has a very demanding job so if my son gets sick at daycare he cant take off and stay with him and like i said before we dont have and family on stand-by if he gets sick and if we cant leave and stay at home with him. My question is how do you working moms handle you supervisor when your kid gets sick and you have to leave work or take off to stay at home and be with them?

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S.G.

answers from Dallas on

I think you can feel out a new boss to see how they would feel about it. Bosses that are mothers themselves are usually more understanding, but there is a line. Any job should have sick time off. However, I have seen many postings that specifically advertise are mommy friendly. I wouldn't ask a boss about it in interview #1... at least wait until you are negotiating final terms!!

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D.M.

answers from Denver on

We are in a very similar position. We both shared the responsibility. Every company has sick time... although it seemed most times it was me taking off, but it is an option. Good luck, I know it can be stressful.

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K.M.

answers from Dallas on

I'm a supervisor and have mom's who work for me. I'm clear with them I expect them to use their sick time if their child is sick. I also give them an option if its only part of the day or a half day to make it up the next day in hours.

I would also be clear and agree on the plan of action before the first sick day happens. You could also consider doing something that provides flexibility. I recently started my own wellness company and it has a lot of flexibility. I'm hoping to leave the corporate world within they year. Email me if you want to know more about the opportunity, [email protected]____.com luck with job hunting.

1 mom found this helpful
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I.G.

answers from Seattle on

I think it depends on your job.

I get paid vacation time and paid sick leave AND my company is big enough that they must provide FMLA. My employer is also very supportive of staff and it has never been an issue to take a day off to take care of a sick child.

When I first went back to work I had to take time off at least once a week or every other week for about a year. They just catch every single little bug at daycare.

Good luck!

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D.W.

answers from Indianapolis on

We're in a similar situation.

We have NO family around, and we have 2 young children in day care.
Before getting laid off last year, we both had flexible schedules and could take off as needed. I no longer have that flexibility with my new company, so my husband has to do most of it. Even though my job could be done primarily from home, I have to follow company policy and take a full or 1/2 day off to cover the absence.

My direct manager has 3 children of his own, but his wife is SAHM, and his father owns the company, so we have to follow the company line closely.

I'm always very honest, but my husband has to do most of the accommodating. We're fortunate to have friends and neighbors that we can call in a real bind and help us out for a few hours.

I've also been staying late/coming in early on days that I know I'm going to have to take an extra long lunch to go to a doctor's appointment for the kids.

Being a working parent is a double-edged sword, and in a new company to me, I don't want them to perceive it as a weakness, so we make due as best as possible. 9 months in, I'm hoping things will level off a little.

We had a babysitter come to our house when our son was an infant - it was much harder. Yes, you don't have to rush to get them to day care at a certain time, but when she was sick or wanted to take vacation, we were stuck accommodating her and having to use our sick/personal time. I've found Day Care to be much more accommodating.

Check into the benefits as well. My previous company provided a benefit for emergency child care at no cost to us.
Good luck!

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C.J.

answers from Dallas on

We have been in your situation from day one. I think there is a lot of great advice listed on what to do. In addition, I have always tried to work extra hard before my child is ill. Turning in work projects ahead of time, volunteering to take on some additional roles, etc. I also don't make excuses for my absense or make any kind of stink when someone else is out. I say that because non-parents often feel like they get stuck with our work and somehow we feel our child being ill is more important than their time off. They aren't your supervisor, but it is rough for them to think they will have to pick up the slack. Let them know that is not the case.
I also live by my phone that pushes emails to me and allows me to work remotely. Even if you don't have that option, letting people know you are out, but available can sometimes ease the stress of asking off for a sick kiddo.
If there is an extreme need that you MUST be in the office, you could look into a sitter/nanny option for the day. some college students who have flex schedules due to classes can come and work/sit for you. Especially if they are your regular date night sitter you have more of a comfort level with them.

C.C.

answers from Fresno on

It really depends on the kind of job you have. If it's the sort of job that you could do anywhere, then your supervisor may be fine with you working from home on occasion. If it's the sort of job where you have to be there (i.e. customers walk into the business and expect to see you sitting there), then you will likely have to take sick/vacation time whenever your child is sick. I know exactly where you're coming from; we have 2 kids and unfortunately no family nearby. I will say this - you really can't keep them home with every little sniffle. I only keep my kids home if they have a fever or they're throwing up. Other than that, I give them Tylenol and send them to school. I don't feel bad about it; they got it from some germy kid at school, so it's not like the other kids haven't been exposed already, right? Pretty much if I would go to work with that level of illness, then my kids go to school with it. It's not ideal, but we don't live in a country that really honors families very well. There is no support system to speak of, and our economy almost demands a 2-income household in order to make ends meet.

M.M.

answers from Chicago on

Do you have the option for a nanny, instead of daycare?
I'm in Chicago, and for us here, the price was about the same. We had the same issue of not being able to pick up and leave anytime there's an issue or DS is sick. Our nanny is WONDERFUL and we couldn't be happier with her.
Maybe something to look into. Check hourly rates for your area. A great website to look into is www.sittercity.com. I have several friends that have found their nannies that way, and you can see what the asking rate is, basic info, etc... They've all also passed background checks.
If you decide to go that route, and would like help with interview questions, I'm happy to PM you the ones that we used during interviews.

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J.S.

answers from Dallas on

Work for someone that is understanding. Tell them you don't expect a paid day off -- you will take the day off without pay. You could also offer to make up the hours that week if they are busy. As an employer I have always been understanding of this, even before I had children.

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M.B.

answers from Dallas on

Honestly, I tell the potential employer that my family comes first and that if an issue arises, I will have to deal with it. I am currently looking for a job and in my experience, if whomever is hiring you isn't okay with this, they themselves don't have the right priorities in life and likely won't be the best boss. Also, although your husband has a demanding job, as a working mother for 17+ years, there is still a lot of inequality in the work place in that it can be frowned upon when mothers take off to care for a sick child yet when the father does, he's lauded for being such a great guy. You might want to consider finding a job that has some flexibility so that you can work at home when these situations arise.

I have found that by being an above average performer in my job that no one has ever had an issue with my need to take off to care for my children. You might also check around - you may have a neighbor that could help out. Although, in my experience when a child is sick they really do need mommy. In hindsight, I have no regrets about my having not been as successful at work as I would have been had I not put my kids first. However, I would hope that anyone can accept not having achieved the level of success that they are capable of in the workplace, but I know few people that can live with themselves having compromised their child's wellbeing. At a minimum, you should ask about this during a follow-up interview - it's really not worth bringing up in a first interview and although it's illegal for them to ask about this during an interview. While there a whole lot of mothers that have managed to achieve some balance in this area and the research has shown that our children are better off in some areas than kids with stay-at-home moms, you never know about any bias the hiring manager may have.

Also hen my kids were in daycare, I used every possible opportunity to visit to ensure they received the best of care - in the end they have benefitted from seeing that moms are people too and they can have a life outside the home and still be a great mother. I think their wives will thank me later in life.

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D.B.

answers from Charlotte on

.

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A.O.

answers from San Francisco on

I totally understand what you're going through. We moved to a place with no family/friends and I had to go to work also. My husband is on call 24/7/365 and works long hours so we knew that I was the one who had to give up hours if something happened to our kids. I was lucky enough to get a job as a receptionist during the hours that my son was in 9-2. And when I interviewed with them I let them know the situation with my hubby. They knew going in that there was a possibility that I would have to call in or leave early if needed.

There are two things I can suggest to you (both I have done):
#1. Get a job where they know that possibility and
#2. Work evenings and weekends so you are available during and after school.

It is not easy, so I send as much good luck your way.

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C.L.

answers from Fresno on

I have worked fulltime with both of my girls (ages 1 & 3). I was lucky enough to stay home the 1st 6 months with both kids, but I am a teacher so I get 10 sick days and my husband helps out as much as possible. I thought with this year having 2 small kids the winter was going to be stressful with constant sickness, but it has been fine. We have an in home lady and haven't had that many issues with her being sick. It will probably be better if your kids are in a small in home daycare- less likely to get sick all the time. Try to find a friend or someone you know that you can call in an emergency situation.

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K.H.

answers from Minneapolis on

I have a boss with a 3 year old son, and my twins are almost 3. There's another woman in our office who also has a 3 year old son and a 7 year old son. Since everyone has kids and everyone's kids get sick, we're all really supportive of each other, and try to help each other out when we have to leave or whatever--including our boss. I know I'm pretty lucky that way, but I think when you interview you can get a feel for how supportive they are of family.

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

work nights.
I know some families that do that... one spouse has a day job, and the other a night job.

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K.H.

answers from Dallas on

I believe full disclosure is effective....letting your supervisor know what is going on. Also, see how you can make up any time missed...to show you're not just trying to get time off. Someone mentioned FMLA...please be advised that the company must be required to follow this regulation, you must also meet eligibility requirements and the illness must qualify under FMLA...it can't be used for any and all illnesses!

Good luck..I have a 6 week old and will be going back to work in a week and a half so I will be facing the same issue!

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L.C.

answers from Dallas on

Oh, I do feel you on this one! And the Catch-22 is, even if you keep them home when they are little, when they go to school they get all the bugs then... you just can't avoid it.

The way we handle this is by switching shifts... I work nights and my husband works days. When my son is sick we have "Sick Camp" in the living room and I nap while he watches TV. I usually get up every 30 - 60 minutes to check on him and make sure he's OK, and he's right next to me if he needs anything. It's worked well for us.

Otherwise it's imperative to find an employer who understand the opportunity cost of having parents as employees. I think that working parents are a boon to an employer, because they're more responsible. I've been working since my son was 6 weeks old, and my boss has told me on many occasions how much he appreciates the fact that I take my attendance seriously.

Also, my company has a sick child care option where they'll pay for a sitter to watch my sick child for up to 80 hours a year. I've never had to use it (I work nights) but I definitely would if I worked days.

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