The Sick Kid Juggle

For the past month, I’ve been doing the sick kid juggle. My 20-month-old, James, is suffering from a mysterious stomach thing that causes diarrhea like you’ve never witnessed before. We’ve done tests, tried different foods and dietary changes, cleaned like fiends, everything you can think of, called the pediatrician’s office multiple times. Still, the diarrhea won’t stop.

Some days, I’ve had to keep him home because it was so bad — and guess how much work I got done on those days? Add in a few nights here and there of multiple diarrhea-leakage wake-ups (is there anything grosser?) and I’m not at my tops even when he goes to the sitter.

At least I’m lucky enough to be self-employed, so my boss can’t exactly punish me for “taking sick days.” I’m my boss. I do have clients, and sometimes I have to explain to them why I wasn’t able to deliver a project (“Sorry, wiping a butt right now, I’ll call you back!”) But it’s a whole different ballgame for those who work for “the man” and have run out of paid sick days — or don’t have any to begin with.

That’s why I encourage you to read this Cincinnati Enquirer article by Cindy Kranz, “Parents struggle to juggle sick kids, jobs.” And not just because she interviewed yours truly for it (though I’m thrilled she did). It’s an important look at a very real problem many working moms face — the choice between keeping your sick kid at home or keeping your job and sending them to school/daycare. Thank you, Cindy, for bringing this issue to light!

6 thoughts on “The Sick Kid Juggle

  1. Loved the article, but some of the comments were thoroughly depressing. My company offers two weeks’ sick pay, and it can be used for my illness or my child’s. I’ve never had to use all two weeks. It’s not as complicated as some would like to make it seem.

  2. ashburnmom @ live. com says:

    I’m sure you’ve gotten every “helpful hint” on your son’s condition. If I might add one more? There’s a condition called congenital sucrase-isomaltose deficiency (CSID). It’s basically sugar intolerance and there’s a medicine available to manage it. It’s rare but is often overlooked when trying to diagnosis children w/similar symptoms. Just a thought. Hope your son is better soon! Take care!

  3. Thanks, ashburnmom. I haven’t gotten many suggestions of what the cause could be, other than virus, infection or “sensitivity.” We have an appointment with a GI specialist in a couple of weeks, so I’ll be sure to ask about CSID.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I wasn't able to read the article (looks like the link's done), but I'd like to respond to April's "It's not as complicated as some would like to make it seem" comment. Um, yes, frequently it is. I have two weeks of sick leave as well, and two kids, and while mostly that's fine, the year they got back-to-back pneumonia was extremely difficult (especially since it was kicked off with my own bout of pneumonia). And if you have even one kid with recurrent issues – like mine needing weekly speech and behavioral therapy, which is not nearly as uncommon as you might think – you can kill your leave time really really fast. I'd like to see a standard HR policy for all types of employment that allows you to purchase extra leave with no ill effects on your annual review. Oh, and many folks work for entities without the sick leave you and I think is normal.

  5. I have to say it is definately difficult. I have a 4 month old daughter at home, and am still juggling the sick kid and work schedule. I also have sick leave, but it falls under FMLA which since I work a manual hard labor job I had to use up all of my FMLA as my maternity leave which left me with only our point system of 12 points. 7 days were used when my daughter was in ICU with RSV so I was with her, another 3 days with her at home giving her breathing treatments every 2-4 hours, which left me with 2 days for the rest of the of those was used today because my poor baby is sick once again and couldn't go to the babysitter. So yes it is as complicated as some people make it seem remember everybody is in a different situation!!

  6. Billie Jollie says:

    Whether the baby is better now or not, I hope he gets better soon geometry dash

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