Thursday, August 2, 2007

Calling in Sick

I felt really odd yesterday during the day. By the time the twins went to sleep last night, I felt wiped out and went to sleep not long afterward. Note - after you have children, most of the time you have no shame in going to sleep before 10.

I woke up with a bad headache. My allergies sometimes cause bad headaches and migraines. I took my migraine medicine, emailed my boss that I was coming in late and went back to sleep.

Fortunately, I was able to sleep in and didn't have to worry about taking care of the kids.

But that is one of the changes since we had kids. Staying home sick from work has new meaning. Actually, just being sick has new meaning. I may have stayed home in the past if I was tired or just wanted to relax. Maybe work was stressful or boring and I didn't need to be there. Sometimes I was really sick. And I could stay sleep the entire day and just worry about taking care of myself.

It should come as no surprise to the parents who read my blog that this has changed. My sick hours (where I work) have become precious. I refuse to use them unless I absolutely have to. Often, I will go to work because it is less hectic than my house, and I know that I won't get much rest at home anyway.

The good news is that I do have sick time. And my company is not too picky if I need to take sick time to watch my kids because my husband is sick. My in laws (particularily my mother in law) have been incredibly supportive. She has been known to not go to her work to take care of our kids when my husband is sick.

And things have gotten better as my kids have gotten older. I was able to sleep in this morning and get a little rest. The migraine medicine finally kicked in.

My mom always said that it was difficult for her when she got sick when we were younger.

I think it's hard to manage these issues in general, but especially for a parent who stays home. Fortunately, I work in an IT job where if I'm out of the office, no one needs to cover for me. Thankfully, we haven't run into the issue yet where a co-worker without children needs to pick up my slack. But we have run into issues because my husband had repeated sinus infections.

I guess all I'm saying is, while you can call in sick to work, it's very difficult to call in sick to being a parent. Since parenting is a 24/7 job, sometimes the question has to be asked "just how sick are you?". And it's no fun (for either parent) to be forced to ask that question.

I don't know what I'd do if I were a single parent. Most people I know have some sort of support system of friends and relatives who can help in these crises. We are slowly but surely developing our network - but it is not as easy as it would be if we were members of a neighborhood church. Personally, I wouldn't want to deal with all the other baggage that would be a part of being church members, so it's easier this way.


JulieOShields said...

I am sorry you had a migrain, they are no fun. What you say about not being able to take a sick day from parenting is so true though. I was a SAHM for 17 years while my kids were younger. I felt very fortunate being able to do that, but I always resented my husband for getting sick and staying home for me to take care of him... and the kids. Of course, I didn't really resent him, but I always thought it unfair that he could take time off his job and recover while I couldn't. We have never had family near by. I guess that was one benifit of belonging to the LDS church...though I don't think it was worth it. I am sure I could have figured something out!
AKA Under.Construction

Anonymous said...

Thanks Julie - It's a difficult situation - no matter what you do. It's not something that people who aren't parents think about (at least I didn't), so I wanted to bring it up.