How to Survive Sick Kids
Sick kids and Singledom:
Often I hear other single parents or parents with limited outside resources share the persistent problem of how to manage missing work and staying home to watch a sick child. I’m in the thick of this right now. The Bear has the flu and I cannot ask anyone else to stay home with him while he recovers. I cannot be THAT MOM and send him to school sick but as a result I lose precious wages needed to make ends meet.
I know I am not alone in this mess. My friend and fellow single mom, Erika, just managed battling pneumonia and having two very sick boys at home all at once. She missed important shifts and immediately started figuring out where else she could cut corners for the month. And she did it alone.
Another friend lost her job after simply being unable to attend work after both her children got the flu over a two week period. She also got the flu—but by that time she no longer had a job.
Other friends have husbands trade off or they look at the amount of sick days and potential losses when deciding who should call in. Some people ask parents or siblings to dive in and provide care in their absence. It’s a dilemma for many.
I know parents that sell items on Facebook, beg for overtime or sell for MLMs to get some extra cash. My own father would get side jobs restoring vehicles so he could afford the massive costs of raising six children. When we were sick my mom would buy some Sprite, lock the door, and leave us with a barf bucket. We would nod in and out laying in her bed watching reruns of shows like I Love Lucy and answer her phone calls when she checked in on us from work. We suffered until she could get home from work. But I just can’t do that with a 5 year old-—times have changed. And I don’t have a husband to share taking days off or an ex who lives close by to jump in and help.
Last year I got a terrible bout of the flu and a good friend picked up The Bear so I could survive the fevers and vomiting without having to parent on top of it. I’ll never forget that kind gesture. She knew I had no one to call and relieve me from the demands of a three year old. She made it easier. Even for just one day.
I don’t have any Top Five Ways to Solve the Sickness Dilemma. Surviving sick kids is just that: surviving. But what I do have is compassion. I feel you. And I wish you luck when you experience this stressor.
Sending you wishes of health as the flu season takes full force. Stay healthy, drink your water and take your vitamins!