Working moms’ advice for dealing with sick kids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  (WOTV)- The dreaded cough all-night long, the sudden fever, the unexpected vomiting.  These are just a few of the common symptoms that is every working-mom’s worst nightmare.  You’ve got a big meeting and your child wakes up running a temperature.  Your first instinct is to get them a dose of Tylenol and pray that you can pass them off as healthy for daycare or for school.  But your better judgement and motherly instinct tell you it’s a day for pjs, cartoons and chicken noodle soup.  So what’s a mom to do?

As a mom of a 3-year-old and a 5-month-old I know the routine well.  One minute they are fine and the next minute you’re arguing with your spouse about who’s staying home.  For us we often decide based on who’s day is busier or who has used the least amount of sick days already.  There are some days where neither of us can do it and those are the hardest.  Here’s some advice from my own personal experience along with other West Michigan moms!


mom working from home

The number one piece of advice I have for other working mommas is to always be prepared!   I always bring my work laptop and power cord home every night, you never know when a child may get sick and you can at least keep up from your living room.

Keep an online calendar.   I always keep all of my work meetings and appointments on either my google calendar or my outlook calendar.  This way I can keep an eye on the digital version and I can be connected.


working mom on phone

When I have to stay home for a “kids” sick day I try to connect back to the office as much as possible.  I keep my computer on with my email open so I can check it often, only replying to what’s necessary.

Conference call in.  If you’re going to be missing a big meeting see if you can call in.  I do this a lot.  I ask someone to take good notes but that way I can still participate without having to reschedule.   I always “mute” my line in case the dog barks or the kids are crying ect.

If you anticipate a sick day coming your way copy current project files over to your desktop or gather your file folders to bring home.  You can always play catch up at nap time or after your kids go to bed.


grandma with sick kid

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  If you need to be at work and neither parent is able to stay home (goodness knows these days happen) call for backup.  Grandma or grandpa are usually my first call, but an Aunt or a backup babysitter can work too.  Have a list of go-to people who can help on a weekday should sickness arise.  There are also nanny services that are available if you’re willing and desperate enough to pay the price.


Even though there isn’t always the perfect answer for times like these, sometimes a little support from other working mamas may be just what you need!  You are not alone trying to do it all.  Take if from these ladies, just do your best!

Beth-Support is so important. One of the hardest things…drop everything at home that has to be done (laundry,etc.) and cuddle your sick kids. In my experience just holding them and being close helps them feel a bit better. Ask for help! Be honest with your boss and be prepared at work so they don’t have to pick up too much slack when your not there.


Cat-  It’s a tough balance for sure. My husband picks up most of the slack. However, he stayed home with this kiddo on Friday and is slammed at work. I’m a little slow, so I’m working from home this morning, and he will relieve me around 1. It’s not perfect at all, but it’s the best we can do. It’s usually a “who’s plate is more full” kind of determination.


Danielle- I personally wouldn’t be able to do it with out a support system.. Husband.. Boyfriend.. Grandparents… What ever it might be that’s how I work 40hrs and take care of my sick kiddos!


Rebecca- My friend once told me there is never any real balance. You have to hope you can tip the scales to home sometimes, and tip the scales to work other days. That’s made sense to me. It helps my guilt. Some weeks are 6 day weeks and some days are 12-14 hour days. Others, I have to take time back to keep the kids healthy. It’s just life. Having an upfront convo with your boss helps too. The sick years usually only last for a few, but you’ll be with your company a long time.


Jamie– I am curious as well! It’s getting harder and harder with sick kids, dr. and dentist appointments, etc. I am lucky that I have an understanding boss but it is still difficult.


Kellie- Last year was my first year at my new teaching job and I felt so guilty when at the time 1 or more of my kids were sick and me pregnant and had to call in! Being a mom and having a career is one tough job that’s for sure!


Erin- Pray! Ask for help!


Sarah-  I wouldn’t be able to do it without my parents!!! Advice: Live near your parents or someone you trust who can watch kids as needed.

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