What Do You Do Do When Your Child Is Sick?

Updated on January 12, 2008
L.S. asks from Salt Lake City, UT
11 answers

My daughter is 3 and goes to a great daycare near my work. Of course they wont take her when she is ill. So far I have missed three days of work to care for my daughter, who has a cold with a cough that is making her vomit. I work at a place which has the unspoken expectation that I should show up to work even on my death bed. This is not an expectation which i hold for myself. But I would do it... I hate missing work especially when I am not on my death-bed and I have so much to do. Here I am, at home, feeling guilty. So what is everyone's back-up? Grandama works full time, sister-in-law has 4 kids and is happy to watch a healthy daughter, but does not want her kids sick.

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answers from Denver on

Yours is the plight of a lot of full-time working moms. I also work at a company that is grudgingly flexible for me. I was basically told that I am not as good at my job now as I was before I had kids, because now I have to take time to get my kids to the doctor, etc. and can't/won't work 70 hour weeks (without overtime pay by the way) anymore. I about fell off my chair when I heard that. Of course it was a man telling me that--one who has a wife at home that does all of these things for HIS kids so he doesn't have to. (I'm in process of finding a new job...)
In the meantime, one option I have found is through nanny services. There are several in the area that you can pay a small fee to ($75 for the year) and have access to their pool of nanny/babysitters. You then pay the nanny/babysitter by the hour to watch the kiddos. Now, there are some illnesses when you need to stay home and be with your child and there are others that they are mostly ok but can't go to daycare per their rules (i.e. if they've had a fever within 24 hours, if they have a cold/cough but are up and running around, whatever). This might be an option for you--check them out. A couple are ABCnannies.com and coloradonannies.com. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

Dear L.,
I just wanted to say I feel for you, I had a job for 4 years where I was actually told when my son had to go to Primary Children’s Hospital "You need to figure out where your priorities are", I of coarse laughed, but it also set the stage of where there expectations were of me, I missed my sons Kindergarten Graduation, little school plays, moms and muffins and much more all for my Job, a job that has ZERO respect for me unless I gave my all and everything to them only. So I dedicated my time from that moment on furthering my education (which wasn’t much, computer skills basically) to get a job where taking care of my family and me was a priority for THEM, its a government job, I get almost 1 month a year off total between vacation, sick and holidays. I don’t ever have to come in and cover for someone on nights and weekends because were closed :), I love it, I remember the first time I needed to take a little time off, (like an hour) and asked if I could work through lunch and stay late, they looked at me weird and said, "why don’t you just take some sick time?" I'm sharing this with you because I've been in our shoes; I have realized that you only get a few precious years with your child before they grow up. I was a single mom for 10 years. I'd give anything to be able to go back and be there for my son when he needed me. But I can be there now. I cheer for you to get a new job. As far as a back up, I did try to burden my mom and family to take time off their work so I wouldn’t have to, and it often worked, they did it for me. Not to be harsh, but the best thing I learned as a single mom is don’t make other people suffer so that you (or your job) don’t have to, Being home with your sick daughter is part of the Deal of Parenthood. You deserve to be good to you and your daughter; I also believe God takes care of single mothers. Sorry if this was off topic.
(((Hugs))) Best of luck to you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

There are certain things to watch for with sick kids. Fever, how long they have been throwing up, diaherrea, running nose (green), etc. I would talk to your Pediatrican and see what they reccomend. If she is throwing up, I wouldn't guess it was a cold. I would guess something else is going on.

With you being a single mom, and I say this with all due respect, you are the only one who can take care of your child the best. I have been a single mom in the past. I know it's frustrating and cuts into some of your time, but who else is there for your daughter and can comfort her and love her the way you can? Sure, work is important, but being a mom takes top priority. It is a full and overtime job, with not any monetary pay, but many other rewards. You are doing the best you can, I am sure, but if you don't take care of your daughter in the beginning and she becomes more ill, it will only lead to more days off in the long run.

Also, maybe you can get a note from your doctor. There is something called FMLA.(Family Medical Leave Act). This is a new law that has came into effect. Here is a few link that might help you to get started. Of course, it is most important to talk with you company:


Here is some of what the above site says:

The Family Medical Leave Act
FMLA requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to "eligible" employees for certain family and medical reasons. Employees are eligible if they have worked for a covered employer for at least one year, and for 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months, and if there are at least 50 employees within 75 miles.
Job benefits and protection
· For the duration of FMLA leave, the employer must maintain the employee's health coverage under any "group health plan."
· Upon return from FMLA leave, most employees must be restored to their original or equivalent positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms.
· The use of FMLA leave cannot result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of an employee's leave.Unlawful acts by employers
FMLA makes it unlawful for any employer to:
· interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right provided under FMLA;
· discharge or discriminate against any person for opposing any practice made unlawful by FMLA or for involvement in any proceeding under or relating to FMLA.

But, once again, do some reading on your own and talk over your concerns openly with your employer. I would mention FMLA to your employer so they know that you are aware of this. It may help you to be able to go where you need to a lot quicker.




answers from Salt Lake City on

Some cities have drop-in day care centers devoted to kids who are sick. They have a nurse on staff, and it can be expensive, but at least you aren't missing work. Also there are drop-in hourly places in most cities, but they may not want to take your child either. Some jobs will allow you to take your own sick time for your kid's time, but in any case you shouldn't feel guilty. In the worst case, you could take unpaid days off until she gets better. Employers have to get better at being flexible for working moms--it's tough what we do every day! Good luck and hope your baby feels better soon.



answers from Denver on

I also understand your dilema and my suggestion is to start searching for a more family oriented employer. There are alot of them out there. Don't feel guilty about tending to your daughter. I also had those feelings. Luckily I had an employer who also had small children and I was able to work from home. Unfortunately, I was laid off and my search is on for the same kind of employer. Good Luck.....



answers from Reno on

Oh, I really do feel your pain. My daughter seems to get every single bug there is out there, and I just started my job in November - I think I've already missed 4 or 5 days due to her getting sick. I am lucky that my company is pretty family oriented and they understand. My family all lives back east, and we're pretty new to this area, so I have no real backups that can watch her. It's just me.

TMI alert: this may get graphic but here we go:
My daughter also has a tendency to vomit when she coughs excessively. My doc told me that the reason some little ones vomit is because the mucus gets so thick that it causes a gag reflex in some kids - my daughter is one of those kids. The only thing you can really do is try to cut the mucus down - children's Mucinex works really well as does PediaCare multi symptom cold.

I don't really have any advice for you on the work/sickness thing, but some of the other posters have come up with some options. Good luck with this, and DON'T feel guilty about missing work - there is nothing more important than making sure your little girl is OK. Hugs.



answers from Denver on

Im not sure if you have this option but my work provided me with a laptop and phone card so that I could still do work from home when my kiddos are sick and I then do not have to use any sick days or loose pay.



answers from Boston on

I don't know why companies can't understand that allowing you to focus on your family will then allow you to focus on the company when all is well. It tends to build loyalty.

Is there any way for you to work a little from home? Maybe that will offset their critisms?

Anyway, I say focus on your daughter, she really needs you right now.

My biggest concern, though is what is causing her to vomit? Is she dealing with a flu? Or are her lungs a little too reactive and maybe need medical attention. Coughs shouldn't make her vomit. If they do, it sounds like they are too forceful. I ask because every time my son got a cold, he'd have respiratory issues that would not resolve on their own. The only way we were able to help him manage his cough was with asthma-type medicines. They were incredibly effective and helped him stop coughing at night which helped him sleep better... which allows him a chance to rest & recover. If you're not sure, have your doc listen to her lungs and rule out any non-cold related issues.

FYI - a great resource for responding to chilhood illnesses:
It was very helpful in helping me determine how to help my children at home and when to seek professional assistance. It really does empower the parent. I would have driven my doctor's office crazy without this information.

Best of luck,



answers from Grand Junction on

I was in the Navy and had a child that got sick a lot. They knew that if I didn't take care of my child I was worthless at work and they are very strict as you know it's the military. I was a single parent and there was no one else to help in the current vicinity. I would not feel guilty. I believe family comes first. Your employer is either not right or is just trying to make sure that you are not using it as an excuse to miss work. Don't worry. A.



answers from Colorado Springs on

i would talk to your child's pediatrician. maybe he can recommend a good in home care giver in our area.



answers from Fort Collins on

L., I truly sympathize with you! I DID quit a job once because they told me I had to bring my daughter to work with me when she had a feveer and an ear infection. i was so mad. I have created a small network of friends who work jobs during hours that are not the same as mine (ie weekends and eves)and now that my daughter is in preschool, sometimes her old babysitter will take her. If she is really sick, of course I stay home with her, but the guilt factor is always there, whether your employer approves or not. I am lucky enough to have a husband who covers when he can, so I can't begin to imagine how hard it is to be single. My hat goes off to you! I do not have family here, so I know how hard it can be to find fill in care. We need a child care cooperative in FTC in a major way!

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