The GEM Debate:
What Do YOU Do When Your Child Is Sick But You Have To Work?
I gotta tell you, this one is going to have me on the fence. And I’m so sorry about that.
Over at The Stir the debate over sick children is heating up. It seems a blogger on the site is imploring parents with sick children to either keep the sick kid home or pay her medical bills because her children are catching those germs and going home sick, but is that a reality we all can afford?
Sick kids haven’t affected me yet. My breastfed daughter has only been sick once and that’s when I had the opportunity to stay home with her. I had obligations, but a doctor’s note was all that was required and I didn’t lose any money for not meeting the obligation. As it stands now, well, you know how it is. I work for the head GEM, Rene, and as such, can nurse a child to health without any ill-effect on my work day. I’m so freaking blessed to have that option, but there are those who have a regular 9-to-5′s; their bosses would like to see them every day or they aren’t getting paid. The parents need the money so they send their kid to school with the bug. And therein lies the controversy.
Now, we’re not talking about sending your kid to school with the flu, which is a very serious condition. But per the Centers for Disease Control, in many illnesses, the infected party is contagious a day before they start showing symptoms. In other words, it’s quite possible the damage has been done by the time you are aware something’s amiss with your little miss.
But let’s be real: who really wants to send their sick child to school? I’ve teetered the line once or twice, but Joelle was fine when I picked her up. It.broke.my.heart. But in my defense this was at a time where she could sleep all day. Most grade school children don’t have that option so they are a bit crankier when they just want a moment to be still.
Sending your kids to school while they are sick isn’t the ideal way to go, but some parents don’t have another choice. Depending on the ages of grandma and grandpa they may still be working as are your other family members if you even have them in your geographic area. There’s no such thing as emergency day care for older children (dibs! It was my idea). Many parents are penalized in some way for taking a day off work most significantly by not getting paid which is the last thing any of us want. So what do you do as a parent?
No, seriously. What are you doing as parents? What’s your contingency plan? Are you penalized at work for time you miss? Let us know.
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Ella Rucker is the mother of one of the smartest, funniest two-year-olds she’s ever met. She is currently assistant to the head GEM which means hats-a-plenty including writing, editing, and producing for Good Enough Mother. An Ohio native implanted in NYC for the last 13 years, Ella has achieved one of her many dreams by writing. Her musings (she’s amused they’d be called “musings”) can be found at other places on the web so make sure you follow her on twitter@ellalaverne for all the information.