You know those horrible moms who send their sick kids to school, daycare, or nursery knowing their kids probably have a chance of passing that sickness on to another kid? Umm, ya… Sorry about that.
My huge 9+ pound babies were unbelievably healthy for their first 2-3 years of life. Maybe it’s thanks to breastfeeding, or maybe it’s a bunch of good luck, but we managed to dodge a lot of sickness. But the first time my daughter’s daycare called and told me my little girl had a fever, I found myself in a bind.
You have to wait 24 hours after their fever subsides before they can return to daycare. But the problem is, after you have a baby–depending where you work–you exhaust all of your vacation and sick time during maternity leave. So you return to work, and if your child gets sick, you don’t have sick time. It starts to accrue again by about 6 hours a month, but between doctors appointments and other emergencies, that can vanish quickly.
A dose of Tylenol and a prayer just before drop-off and heading to work is a secret I’m embarrassed to admit. I only did it once in desperation when I was working full time at the station. Then I didn’t see it as a big deal. All kids get sick, it’s a part of life, and we’re all trying to power through it. Now I can see things a little differently.
I still get it.–The desperation of having to go to work yet not having backup child care options. But I’m fortunate to be in a position now where I can adjust my work schedule for my family, and I have my mom less than two miles away when we’re in a real pinch.
And on the other hand, now that my daughter is in elementary school, I’m beginning to witness the toll sick kids can take on our family.
A few nights ago Lil’ J woke up rushing to the bathroom to throw up (by the way it’s so nice that she can recognize when she’s going to be sick now). Is this a sign of what’s to come? We’re barely a month into school and we’ve encountered what appears to be a stomach bug (which honestly we get once a year about this time anyway).
She never got a fever, and was better the next day (which was a Saturday) so I’m hoping maybe it was a fluke and the rest of us won’t be coming down soon. That thought alone was enough to make me empathetic for other families. I’ve learned my lesson, I won’t be sneaking my sick kids into the drop-off line with a medically reduced fever.
Schools send mixed-messages though. On one hand they don’t want you to go to school if you’re sick, but on the other hand, you can only be absent so many times, and the class with the best attendance gets parties and perks. Maybe it’s suppose to be an incentive to try to stay healthy.
We are stepping up our hand-washing game. Washing before we leave the house, once we get home, and many many times in between. My daughter love the smell of our new Seventh Generation hand soap so much I caught her washing her Barbie’s hair with it. There’s no synthetic fragrances yet they smell SO good. We’re also staying on top of vitamins, getting plenty of rest, and praying for good health all around.
I still worried what I’m up against though. A small daycare class is one thing. A classroom full of 16 other kids? I’m not sure we stand a chance.
Have you found your kids get more sick during the school year?
*Thank-you to Seventh Generation for sponsoring this story. I’m partnering with them as I share my imperfect life and ways I’m trying to improve it with you. If being more conscious of natural cleaning products, hand soap and eco-friendly diapers are on your list of priorities, head here for more information. As always, all opinions are my own.