When your child is sick at home you want nothing more to leave work and care for them. When you stay home with your sick child you feel like you are letting your work team down. This is a struggle that 9-5 mom’s have faced since they entered the workforce. Us mom’s feel we have a responsibility to be everything to everyone.
We feel like we can’t let anyone down. It is in situations like this where we feel guilt at ever turn. “I’m a bad mom for going to work and not caring for my sick child.” (Even though he is home with daddy.) “I’m a bad employee if I stay home and I’m letting down my co-workers, leaving them short handed.” How do we balance these feelings? Is any choice the right one? How do we moderate the emotions of a working mom and a sick child.
It’s easy to say my children come first, and yes they do. However, in being a working mom we also take on a reasonability to provide a function. Our work “family,” depends on us to do that as well. Logically, most employers understand a mom’s need to be with a sick child, but us mom’s still feel the need to please everyone.
In the same respect, even if you find a family member or daddy to watch the sick child, you still feel guilt. Y ou know they are in good hands and are being taken care of but mom’s feel that no one can care for them like mommy. Also, we ask ourselves are we being a bad mom by working while our child is sick? In our head there is no happy medium for this mommy guilt.
Here are three ways to get in your head and not let this guilty feeling overtake you
- Be where you are needed most- Sometimes that is work, sometimes that is with your children. If your child is energetic and sleeping well, don’t feel guilty about sending them to school with a cough or runny nose.
- Don’t abuse your sick time – If you have sick time don’t feel guilty when you have to use it in times like this. That is what it is for. As long as you are abiding by your works policy, don’t feel bad about taking a sick day to care for your child. Be aware if your guilt is coming from a different souce. Maybe you have used your child as an excuse to take a day off when they where not really ill. Your guilt might be coming from your abuse of sick time not from your feelings about your child.
- Ask for help when needed – Part of our guilt generates from us feeling like we must do it all. Be a great mom a la 1950’s, be a 1990’s career woman, and still have the energy to do crafts, get our hair done, complete the TP reports, and be everything to everyone. It’s ok to let dad be dad and take a day off to care for the kids. We don’t live in a age where child rearing is just the mother’s job. It takes a team. So when you feel overloaded ask grandma to step in. Talk to your boss about your work arrangement. See if you could work from home for a few days. We have all heard horror stories but most employeers are more accommodating then we give them credit for. Give others a chance to help you.