WAHM Sick Days

I read posts like this one that talk about taking a sick day and enjoying movies on the couch and time to themselves and my normally brown eyes glow in a neon green fashion from the jealousy that courses through my body. Oh my goodness — what I wouldn’t give for a day like that…

But the truth is, my job is just different.  There aren’t off days.  There isn’t sick leave.  There are deadlines — and those deadlines don’t care what I’m doing — whether I’m in labor or taking one of my kiddos to the ER — or going on vacation — it just doesn’t matter.  The work still has to be completed if I want to keep my job.

For the most part, I’ve made my peace with this.  I mean, I can’t have it all, can I?  My job has amazing flexibility – that flexibility just means I grade papers while in labor and write discussion responses while on vacation.  Right?  Well, yes.  Until my mental health and sanity starts to demand a “sick day” and the reality hits me – that ain’t gonna be happenin’.

Last week, Shannon posted on Facebook that she was taking a sick day to be at home with her kiddo.  Even that made me jealous.  My kids ended up sick for three days last week as well and while I did keep them home from school and was home with them, I couldn’t focus all of my attention on them.  I had to split my time between work and their needs (their needs always come first – no worries) but after I tucked them in on the couch with Elmo, I had to fire up the laptop and get to work.  That hour was precious minutes that I would have loved to have been snuggling with my kiddos, but instead I was in a chair across the room trying to grade in choppy intervals.

When the sickness hit me, I had no choice but to succumb to it — and then once the worst passed, I made my way down to my laptop to do what absolutely had to be done, even though my stomach was still queasy and sitting up made the room spin.

I don’t think there is a solution — or even a better way necessarily — with my line of work.  However, that doesn’t stop my eyes from turning green when I dream about traditional working mom sick days…


  • The first time I was sick and needed to stay home, I realized what a luxury it can be to have sick days and day care–since Baguette was well, I could drop her off, come home, and get the rest I needed. I certainly don’t take them for granted, because it’s all too easy to imagine how hard it would be without sick days and day care.
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  • Jo says:

    I work in the corporate world (at an online university, actually) with relatively decent benefits and income, but have been itching to get out – have more flexibility, more time with my kid… Wouldn’t it be great to work from home, I thought? Thanks for the reminder that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It seems that all types of work situations have pros and cons – I just have to find the perfect fit for me and remember it’s not always going to be grand.

    Oh, and I dream of hanging out on the couch when sick too, but that rarely happens because if I am sick my kid is usually sick and I am tending to her. I get jealous eyes too!
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  • When P. is sick, she gets a sick day on the couch with movies and juice and all sorts of nice things, but I’m still at the kitchen table on the computer working because that’s just the way it is. When I was sick as a somewhat bigger kid, my mom rented me videos, pre-made my lunch, and then had to go to work. I’m hoping at least that even if I’m not on the couch P. will remember that I was there. Though honestly, it was novel and fun to be home alone watching videos :)
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