Sick Day? Maybe?

I got the call from school yesterday that every working parent dreads: “Your kid is in the nurse’s office, she’s pale and doesn’t feel well, but she’s not running a fever.”

I’ll tell you without a doubt, especially as an hourly wage independent contractor, I’d much rather her be running a fever. BECAUSE THEN I HAVE NO CHOICE.

It’s a terrible thing to have to do, consider that leaving your work means less dollars on your paycheck and how that weighs out against a child who might be getting sick, but might also just have eaten too fast at lunch.

“Can you come get her? Or send someone for her?”

Before bed last night. She was feeling 100% but I was worn out and wanted to sleep at 7pm.
Before bed last night. She was feeling 100% but I was worn out and wanted to sleep at 7pm.
I hate it when they’re direct like that. I much prefer the calls they make when my kid hits his head – a call their required to make – “We just wanted you to know,” and then leave it at that. But this time she directly asked and what was I supposed to say, “Well…you see…if I leave I don’t get paid so I’d really hate to leave if she’s not sick. Also? My husband has a huge deadline in 2 weeks and he’s been working 80 hours a week to make it to the deadline so he’s OBVIOUSLY unavailable. We’re just going to ride this one out, okay?”

Nope. I went and got her.

My husband gets ample sick time, but no one else in the office uses theirs (especially not right now during crunch time) so he really doesn’t want to use his when I could without getting any repercussions at work. No one at my office has any problem with me leaving for a sick kid. AT ALL. So we go with me and hope I can make up the lost time during my so many free hours over the course of the week. Because I have so much free time to spare.

It’s hard, yo.

I could not cut it as a stay-at-home Mom. I tried for various reasons two different times and it was terrible both times. It’s hard and never-ending and I COULD NOT DO IT. That said, on days like yesterday? I’m momentarily jealous. At least as a SAHM I could go get the kid and there would be no guilt or financial repercussions associated with the decision. I wouldn’t choose to go back to being a SAHM ever, but those “Maybe sick?” calls from school are the only time I’m ever jealous of the former SAHM version of myself.

She’s fine. And we had a talk about how sometimes we get headaches and stomach aches and we’re fine and I really need her to evaluate how she really feels before having them call me. It’s a shitty talk to have with your kid, but it’s one she needs to understand. That while I’m home taking care of her and she’s getting perkier and perkier by the minute, I’m not getting paid. So, if she could have just waited it out then my paycheck wouldn’t have to suffer and we wouldn’t have to figure out which savings pot to pull from to make the budget.

And then I pointed out how lucky we are to even have savings pots. When her big brother was little I couldn’t pay my utility bill if my paycheck was less than expected. There’s a big difference.

So basically I felt guilty and then had to lay on a nice layer of guilt to her so she’d understand the situation and maybe go an hour after her stomach hurts to see if it passes before having them call me.

BASICALLY – I’m writing the next parenting manual over here. “Parenting By Guilt: It Never Hurts Anyone.”

3 thoughts on “Sick Day? Maybe?”

  1. My daughter and I had to have a similar type talk last week. I do have sick leave and my job is very understanding but I had a million and one things I needed to get done for trainings I’m helping host this week. She was very perky after awhile & I was somewhat annoyed–not a good combo. It’s hard to make those decisions.

  2. I’ve definitely experienced this! My pay doesn’t get affected because I’m salaried, but my work doesn’t get done. My husband tends to get angry with the kids when they are sick, so it has to be me especially if there is any question about if they are really sick.’ In first grade my daughter came home sick and then perked right up several times until I got the idea to make home less fun – no toys, no tv, no reading, just napping & homework when she feels better. That worked pretty well then, although this year (7th grade) she’s had a few more no fever sick days. I’ve been talking to her about how being worried can make someone feel sick when they aren’t, but I’m not sure if it has helped. Luckily at her age now the school usually gives me a choice to ride it out. Then I feel really guilty when I do and they call me back and say “now she has a fever!”

  3. So – was yesterday stomach and headache pain? I had to pick up my 8 year old for the exact same thing. Who then proceeded to come home and ask for crackers and cheese and can I pleeeeease play with my toys. We had the discussion – I told her I don’t plan on picking her up until she throws up at school. I have a good relationship with the nurse too, so I always feel comfortable telling her nope, not this time!

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