If I Had A "Real" Job...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012
I awoke in the middle of the night to a child with seething ear pain. For 2 hours, I consoled her by rubbing her back, kissing her head, and tolerating the whining and piercing screams until the Advil kicked in. Eventually, she fell asleep. But I stayed awake, worrying as parents often do. Eventually, I, too, succumbed to heavy eyelids.

When daylight came, I knew I'd have a sick child home from school today. I called the school to report her absence. It's her 10th sick day of the school year (yikes!). I called the pediatrician. I made the appointment. I went to the appointment. I went to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription. And I returned home.

When I got home, I looked at my desk. A slew of unread email messages. The voice mail light on my land line was blinking frantically. A handful of un-retrieved and even more unanswered text messages. A pile of papers haphazardly arranged on my desk.

I stopped short of my desk and wondered, "What if I had a real job?"

The kind of job where I am required to be at the office by a certain time each morning and required to stay until a certain time each evening. The kind of job where deadlines are anything but flexible. The kind of job where I am an essential part of the process and success. I used to have a job like that. And then I had kids.

When Harper started kindergarten in September, I planned to get back to work part-time. I took a month off to get my act together around the house knowing that having a job outside the home wouldn't be conducive to accomplishing ANYTHING inside the home. And then I started taking on some freelance writing and social media gigs. It was supplemental income until I went back to work. The work kept me busy and satisfied. But I still yearned to be a major contributor to the household GNP.

And then sickness hit our house. Harper was out for almost 2 weeks. Surely, that alone would have gotten me a pink slip. Although the Hubs telecommutes, he also travels quite a bit. I cannot rely on him to stay home with sick children due to his travel schedule. We don't have family to help us out. Local relatives work full-time. I bear the burden.

So, every time I sit down to so some job searching, I think of my children in times of sickness, and I wonder just how understanding an employer could be. Because everyone has a breaking point...

If you are a parent who works outside the home, how do you handle your child's sick days? How do you determine who stays home from work? Please weigh in here or head over to Facebook to join the discussion.

1 comment

Anonymous said...

I haVe become a mess since i had children lol. If i had a real job i wouldn't have it very long. Plus, my kids would totally terrify the babysitter. Lol. Hope the kids feel better soon.