Working Moms- What Do You Do When Your Young Child Is Sick?

Updated on August 17, 2010
D.F. asks from Monmouth Junction, NJ
26 answers

Im a stay at home mom and my babe gets sick often. Luckily I am home to take care of him. I was just thinking how hard it would be if I had to work and he was too sick for day care. What would I do? What do you mom do?

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answers from New York on

I am very lucky that I have an old babysitter that still take care of my kids when they are sick. I have heard of a program that care for children when they are sick. I don't know if its a nanny for a day. I know the last company I worked for offered this service to there employees. I hope this helped or someone knows what I am talking about. :)



answers from Washington DC on

I have always been able to do my job from home, so that helps. But still, my sick kids come before any work obligations - and that is always. Luckily my kids do not get sick often, but when they do it is over the top. But I just work from home. I do work before they get up, at nap times (which is a lot when sick), and after they go to bed. I still am mommy and they still get my undivided attention. My husband had to take leave, but if I had something it was difficult to get away for, he would just do that. Not too bad at all. Most companies and bosses understand an work-life balance is a HUGE thing in the work place right now.



answers from Tampa on

It is tough no doubt. My husband and I switch off. Sometimes it just depend on who has what going on at work each day. It helps that we use a home daycare that doesn't make us come get the kids for every little sniffle. High fevers or throwing up usually warrant one of us staying out. A common cold usually means they can go to daycare.

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answers from New York on

Well, in my case my mother now lives with me. So like today, my daughter is not feeling well and she is home with my mom. Nonetheless, if any of my children were sick I would take off from work. I pretty much would go to work sick just so I could use my sick days on them. Thank God I been blessed to have a good and understanding boss in each and every job. But my priority has always been my family :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

I stay home if my son is sick my work place is very understanding in situations like this, im very lucky.



answers from Boise on

Got to stay home. Sometimes I can do some work from home, or work into the night to make up. Sometimes my husband can take some time too (he has a lot more comp and sick time than me) and we can split it.



answers from New York on

When our kids were young/babies, if one was sick, my husband and I would determine who had a more "important" day (meetings, deadlines) and decide who would take off. We were both able to use our sick time for this. My kids are older now, but I work a school year job with 17 sick days, so I take all the sick time now (thankfully my kids really aren't sick, the oldest is 15 and has not had a sick visit to the doctor since age 4).



answers from Jamestown on

"Luckily" my daughter gets sick on Fridays or over the I have those days off.

I remember when my older kids were sick during the week. I just took off work or had a sitter on call to watch them at my house. You can't take them to daycare sick and work is not more important.



answers from New York on

Thanks for thinking of us "working moms" - though I think any mom is a working mom. :-) I always ask myself how SAHMs do it, I love my kids but 24/7 with them...

Anyway, to answer your question, I have to take my vacation time. My old boss didn't want me to miss work so he would let my oldest (3 yrs old) come in and I would set her up with a DVD and some snacks for half a day and then take a 1/2 vacation day. When the baby is sick she needs all my attention so I have to take a full day off. Unfortunately my husband's job isn't as flexible so it's all me.




answers from New York on

Nursing helps a lot and having a relative to stay home with the kids definately helps otherwise u just have to save up your own sick days for those days.



answers from New York on

I think any answer to this depends on if you know why your child gets sick often. Do you know that he has a chronic illness? Otherwise, if you are considering going back to work, I would find out why he is getting sick so often if he's not in daycare. If you put him in daycare he will be exposed to many new illnesses.



answers from Los Angeles on

use sick days -- i'm out of sick days for the year already and have been using vacation time! sucks but what can you do..



answers from Portland on

I am a single parent and go to school full time and work at two part time jobs. I do not have vacation or sick days as benefits. I stay home when my child is sick, without pay. So I try really hard to keep her healthy with a whole foods diet for this reason. I am so glad she has not been sick for any of my final exams, although I have had to miss class a few times.



answers from Huntsville on

My current company is awesome. I can work from home whenever I need to :) I even plan to take my daughter to school and pick her up and stay home with her (and finish my day's hours at home) when she starts Kindergarten next year.

Before, I've had my mom keep her. There was even one time they closed the daycare (and all schools in the area) due to the "swine flu" and I didn't know they closed the daycare until the morning of - and I was already driving over there! The daycare is on an Army post, where my dad also works as a civilian (engineer). So, my dad was the one who called to tell me they closed the daycare. He had already worked out a plan for me to pick him up from work, drive myself to work, while he took my truck to my house and spent the day with my daughter haha :P

That's pretty much all of my options. Hubby is usually gone with the National Guard when I need him home... haha


answers from Saginaw on

Sometimes my mom takes her, sometimes I take the day off, sometimes my husband takes the day off. Just the other day when I couldn't take the day off nor my husband, she came to work with me. (Luckily, I have a flexible work that allows this. And she is also almost 5 so its not like she was running around making trouble. My youngest who is turning 3, this would not be an option)



answers from Boston on

switch on and off with my husband! But we both use sick days.



answers from Chicago on

When I was working I had to use up all of my vacation days first, and then personal days, and finally sick time. After that was all gone, I had to take unpaid time off (this despite the fact that my hubby has almost 1 month of vacation/yr since he is a physician and if he had to stay home it meant having to reschedule 18-22 patients and causing THEM significant inconvenience.)

I honestly can say that I DREADED seeing my son's daycare phone # come up on my caller ID at work since I knew I'd have to leave for anywhere from 1-5 days, depending upon his illness. I hated having to tell my supervisor, to talk to our manager, to let our HR person and general office mgr know, and hand off my work to other department members. I was the only mother in our group and the guys gave me a hard time about it every time.

Sad to say, but what I was looking forward to MOST about becoming a SAHM was NOT so much getting to be with my kids all day, but not having to leave work for sick kids.



answers from Washington DC on

Take off.

I did it a bunch when my daughter was little and I was working.

Depending on the boss I had; what was going on at work; how sick my daughter was; and how much sleep I was getting, I would do some work from home.

The kids come first! I even had to leave a meeting my boss and I were hosting for a bunch of Sr. Execs. in our organization, because my daughter at 18 months old had a severe asthma attack while at day care. That's life. But that is also why I am not working now, my son has some series medical issues, and trying to juggle them, his doctor's appointments, regular illness, and his school issues, I just cannot work right now.

I hope the helps. I know many people who use a nanny, or neighbor/friend for this reason. Also my husband would take time off too. He and I traded depending on what was going on in our offices.



answers from Tallahassee on

I use my sick and vacation time. I also have alot of family in town. I live next door to my in-laws and they help out ALOT! Hubby and I take turm using our time as well.



answers from Houston on

I stay home with her. It sucks when they are out for about 2 to 3 days, in those cases dad and I switch in taking days off. His boss is more understandable than mine. I use my sick days/vacation because in my company they are both the same, we don't get separate. My boss does not like it, but what can I do. I also sometimes bring her to the office with me to work, but it's hard on those "not feeling too good days", so we just stay home and cuddle.



answers from New York on

As a full time working mom, I most often take a vacation day so I can stay home with my child. If I have no vacation days left, I take it unpaid. My husband does the same, we work who will be the one stay home depending on the situation. If my child is not really sick (low temp, mild cold but not "acting sick") I will let him stay with his grandparents. Theres different levels of illness...he is in daycare 3 days a week (with grandparents the other two) If its a daycare day - I obviously DO NOT send him to school and I either myself my husband or a grandparent stays with him. We are VERY THANKFUL and LUCKY to have our parents close by but as a mother, I most often am the one to stay home b/c what mom doesn't want to comfort her sick child! My boss is understanding and my company if flexible, we do have sick time but I know they don't like it to be used unless there is real sickness, clearly with children there is real sickness but to "not rock the boat" so to speak I use vacation time so excessive "sick" days don't become an issue. I use some throughout the year but cautiously...everyone's work culture is different and you know what will make waves and what won't - regardless my child comes first so even if I have to take it unpaid I will - my attitude is: I have a priority and that priority comes first - pay me however you want or not,but I have to be with my child.



answers from Phoenix on

My husband and i both work full time so we first try to see if either of us are available to take a sick day from work and if not or if our kids are sick more than one day we invest in the help of our parents and my sister who is a stay at home.



answers from New York on

Hi - My kids are 11 and 12 now. I worked FT when one was very little, then took a year off when the 2nd was born and worked PT until they were in 1st and 2nd grade and started full time again. Pretty much you have to stay home and take a sick day. I also recommend that if you take a sick day make sure you get some extra rest while the kid is sick as a preventative to you getting sick later on. Sometimes my husband and I would alternate but that was rare. Now I have a laptop and just work from home when they are sick. The good news is once you get past 2nd and 3rd grade they do not get as sick as often. The worst is when they get these viruses with high fevers that last for days and you can't go to work. Hopefully you get a boss who has kids and understands.


answers from Phoenix on

Both my husband and I own our own businesses so between the 2 of us, we can either leave early or stay home as needed. In fact, this is the first year my kids aren't in aftercare and I'm picking them up from school. Working parents that don't have friends/family to help out have to take sick or vacation (whatever their boss allows) to take care of their kids.



answers from Atlanta on

Well, you or your husband has to work from home or take the day off, depending on your company's policies. My husband and I trade off and work from home. Unfortunately for a lot of people, they are forced to take vacation or PTO, and they wind up not being able to have any or much time off for anything enjoyable.



answers from New York on

when i went back to work.. i made it clear that my kids come first.. if they are sick.. i will behome with them. my first job said no way... so they wouldn't keep me on.. i found a job that is flexible... they even let me bring my daughter to work.. if she just isn't feeling good. In my family, the kids come first..berore the job.. it's tjhe only way i will work ,,,, i want to be able to take off to see a school play, or bring my child to the dr. I want to be there after school too.. so i only work 9 to 2.... i want to know who my kids are with, i want to go over homework with them, i want to be home for dinner.. it works great.. sure we had to cut back.. but it's worth it.

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