It’s a real dilemma to care for your sick kid when your income could be on the line.

sick kid
[Image description: Little boy sneezing into a tissue.]

If you’re a 9 to 5 working mom, and your kid falls sick, your first instinct is to drop everything to be with them.

And that instinct is correct, in my opinion. Your family, and especially your kids, should be your first priority.

But what do you do when your job is on the line? If your employer is not tolerant of you taking the time to be with your kid, your income is in peril.

In a 2012 study, researchers found that one-third of parents polled said they were concerned about the loss of income or the loss of their job due to having to care for a sick child.

So the stress of having to choose between work and your kids is real.

Moreover, this study found that even though gains are being made in gender equality at work, the mom still shoulders most of the burden when it comes to a sick kid.

So what to do? It’s certainly easier when you’re working from home, but not everyone has that privilege. Below are some ideas of what you can do when torn between needing to be with your kid and saving your job.

Take Any Leave Provided By Your Employer

If you have family responsibility leave, take that. After that, sick days should be acceptable. Then you may have to tap into your annual leave days.

Ask For Help From Family And Friends

If your child is not that sick that they need your personal attention, ask for help. Maybe your mother or mother-in-law can help, or there’s a neighbour who’s willing to keep an eye on your little one.

You don’t have to do it all yourself, don’t be ashamed of asking for help.

Get Your Partner To Help

Despite your instinct as a mom to be the primary care provider, if you have a partner, they should help. You can take turns to take care of your kid, and that way, hopefully, your leave won’t run out as fast.

Negotiate With Your Manager

When all other options are exhausted, try to negotiate with your manager.

Perhaps you can put in overtime for the day missed or take a day or two of unpaid leave (instead of losing your job).

If you don’t ask, you won’t know.

This is a tricky situation, but I hope these suggestions will help. I know they may seem obvious, but when you’re in a panic after the childcare provider has called, sometimes the obvious flies out of the window.

Good luck mama, you got this.


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