22 June 2015

Never Have I Ever: Sent my Child Sick

It's a mother's guilt.

Specifically, but not exclusively a working mother's guilt. 

Specifically, but not exclusively at this time of year.

Noses are running. Chatter and play are interrupted by coughing. Nappies are being changed more frequently.

As a mum to a not-quite-two year old and as an employee who works not quite twenty two hours a week, I am faced with the dilemma every manic Monday of determining just how sick my baby is. Is the goop coming out of his nose truly clear, or does that tinge of green signify something more than just a runny nose? Is that 'occasional' cough a little bit too 'occasional' to just be a cough?

Don't get me started on that mark that looks suspiciously like ringworm or conjunctivitis. 

As a completely judgemental {non-mother} supervisor of a small team a couple of years ago, I wholeheartedly admit that I used to get frustrated, even shitty when the phone call/text message/email message requesting the carer's leave was received, especially and what seemed like frequently, during the cooler months. I wondered if the carer's leave card was being abused as simply a way to have a day off and perhaps was a little bitter that I was not entitled to such privilege. 

Now I know that having a kid is never a day off. It's not relaxing. It's full on.

I also know that it is a HUGE mental battle to do the right thing and keep your child at home, and to play the carer's leave card, so to speak. As a part-time employee, I really battle with having the day off especially as Ned's only daycare day is a Monday and I only work Monday, Tuesday and half a day on Wednesday. I am extremely grateful and lucky that my parents look after Ned on Tuesdays and Wednesdays but also know it wouldn't be fair asking two people in their early sixties who should be enjoying their retirement to look after a very energetic toddler for another nine or so hours.

I suppose this is an admission of guilt that yes, I have sent Ned to daycare when I knew that he probably should not have been there. I know that it's not fair on Ned, and especially not fair on the other kids at the fabulous and nurturing family day care that he attends. Ned's daycare mum is amazingly supportive and understanding and I hope she knows that if I have selfishly sent him when he really shouldn't be there that she can call me to come pick him up. And I hope that my supervisor and boss as parents themselves know that a parent does not take the decision to take the day off to look after a sick child in lieu of being at work lightly.

So tell me, do you struggle with this too?

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