Wouldn't it be great if there was some type of childcare center for illnesses? A place where we could drop off our sick children in a loving environment where we know they are cared for during their ailment while parents are still able to go to work. Kind of like a sick bay onboard a Naval ship or something. Now I completely see how this isn't really something that could be easily done, but in my mind its comfy beds with easily tossed or sanitized bedding, with a little movie player and a tray with fluids, tissues, books or other activities. I do understand that with so many illnesses that go around all the time, taking a child there would put them at risk for coming home with another sickness and not really possible. Plus who wants to just leave their little in someone else's hands when they are at their most vulnerable. However, I still think it would be nice to have as an option.
Influenza has hit the Root house and with it the uncertainty of who out of the two of us is going to stay home and take care of our ailing eight year old. My husband and I are very lucky when it comes to child care, we live by family and on a normal day have free childcare options. That doesn't translate to sick days though, there are times when our caregivers just can't take him due to health concerns. We are also lucky because we work for very family oriented, understanding businesses and we both have paid time off. However, we both have responsibilities in our jobs that makes missing work a huge inconvenience for the companies and at times is pretty much impossible for us to not be at work. We work well as a team and so far this week have figured out the best way for each of us to be able to go to work for at least part of the day and have had co-workers that have our backs and help pick up the slack.
But in times like these, where we are both juggling taking time to be at home with our son and making it into the office/shop to get some work done, I can't help but wonder how other people do it. How do you take care of your responsibilities at home, your responsibilities at work and financial responsibilities as a single parent or as a worker who doesn't get paid time off? As we saw recently with the government shutdown lots of people live pay check to pay check.
The flu is something that can easily put an individual out of service for at least a week. A case of flu running through a home could easily lead a parent to miss a couple of weeks of work with just one child and themselves getting sick if it doesn't happen all at once. What if you are a single mom of two kids and you each take turns getting sick, but you work hourly and don't get sick leave? Yikes, before you know it there could be a pretty sad paycheck in your future. When I used to stay home and one of us would get sick I would joke that I was going to make everyone pile onto the couch to cuddle and watch movies so we would all get it at the same time and be over it quicker.
Over the past month another stomach bug made its way through our home, definitely not the flu, but still miserable and caused some sick days. Luckily, well kind of, for us, my son and I both were sick within a few hours of each other. My husband didn't get it until a week later, but that was a few vacation days down between the two of us.
Now we are facing what could be a long bout of the flu going through our home, because lets face it, no matter how many precautions we take now that we know he is sick, all of us were exposed before the eight year old ever started showing symptoms on Monday morning. He probably spent at least an hour cuddled up in mom's lap on Sunday evening taking turns reading each other stories all up in my space and breathing his infected little air my direction.
We have those vacation days and work together trying to create minimal impact on our work performance and our paychecks, but both are going to be affected while our little one is recovering and- knock on wood- if either of us get it as well. Neither of us have an endless supply of sick days and both of us have jobs where there are just things that we need to be there to take care of. So like I said to open this, wouldn't it be nice to have an illness childcare option? I don't know how it would actually work or if it would actually be feasible, but boy at times like these, when it seems like the whole town is coming down with the plague it sure would be nice.
As a side note to this editorial I have one more thing to say on this subject. As you all probably know it isn't just my family being hit with illnesses right now, it is everywhere in our community. Lots of kids are out of school, adults out of work and finding an opening with a doctor is extremely hard.
Let’s all do the neighborly thing and try to keep things from spreading as much as possible. If you or a family member aren’t feeling well keep them or yourself out of public.
Obviously I understand that people still need to work even when they have sick family members at home, however, please try to keep your time out and about to a minimal when possible. Things that can be skipped or rescheduled like a hair or nail appointment, a coffee date or school event, lets try to skip those. Once we know family members are sick, you never know if it could be incubating in yourself as well and why put more people at risk. You never know when you are going to run into someone with a compromised immune system or that individual who is barely scraping by and can't afford another missed shift.