It’s been a better 2020 so far than 2019. However, our sons have been sick every other week it feels like. They have been as sick this Winter as they were the first year of daycare. It’s been rough. We all are sleep deprived. Because God forbid the fever spikes in the middle of the day or Croup or vomiting or any other one of the hundred illnesses that have run through our house this Winter.
Nope it’s always in the middle of the night when shit hits the fan. Sometimes literally. Then we have an argument in the morning about who has to miss work. She’s at a new job, trying to make a good impression, of course since she started, we’ve been battling the plague like we are ground zero of the infection.
I own a practice and if I don’t work I don’t get paid. Clients also don’t like it when I cancel- rightfully so- as a result I run the risk of losing clients if I cancel them even once.
So with one of our sons sick (also God forbid they get sick at the same time- always consecutive never concurrent) we argue because we are both essentially terrified of losing our jobs because of canceling to take care of our son.
Our society is messed up. Parents shouldn’t feel this way. Pressured to go to work because if we don’t we will lose our job. That has never been said to us to be clear. But we know how it goes. Too many absences means unreliable. Unreliable means bad employee or in my case bad provider.
Then I get asked by any one who finds out that one of them is sick “Did you bring him to the doctor?” My answer is a resounding “No.” Well not always. Croup in one of my son’s can get very bad. So after the first night (When many people would likely call 911 but we stand outside in the cold and give him popsicles until his breathing improves) we do call the pediatrician and bring him in to get a prescription for steroids. I do have a respect for airway issues.
But for everything else. Nope. Viral illnesses happen. I understand that. Fevers happen. Vomiting/diarrhea happens. Unless they are severely dehydrated or still spiking a fever after a week or are compromised with their breathing in some way…we can manage at home.
I’m a nurse practitioner and worked as a staff nurse in a pediatric ED for over six years. Also I don’t want to be dragging my sick miserable kid to sit in an office for half an hour while we wait for the provider who is likely running late. Torture.
It’s also great that these weeks of illness still require us to pay full tuition at daycare. So one of us misses work all week, we don’t get paid, (My wife doesn’t have PTO yet as it’s still a new job), but we still pay full tuition at daycare for a kid or two who are not actually there.
When we said we wanted to be parents I didn’t really think about this part of the deal. Cleaning up puke. Shampooing the carpets. Taking care of sick kids. The stress of missing work and the ensuing financial stress that causes. As well as the stress of worrying that we will lose our jobs because of missing time.
That entire chapter of parenting was left out by anyone who ever told us we should be parents.
Today was another sick day. We finally asked my Mom to watch him because we were both feeling we couldn’t miss more work and the sick one wasn’t horribly sick anymore- not puking, no fevers, for over 24 hours, just still not himself.
The parenting struggle is real. Today required more juggling and taking the healthy kid to daycare while coordinating with my mom for sick kid. Also then worrying and feeling incredibly guilty for being the parents who can’t stay home and take care of their sick child.
But I’d feel worse if one of us lost our job and couldn’t pay the mortgage.
So there’s that.
These days feel like a lose-lose for us struggling middle class parents.
I find myself wishing for the teenage years when they can be left home alone. Then feeling very guilty for not “enjoying” them at this age. Feeling guilty that I was not home with him today.
I remember doing IVF and thinking I just want a healthy baby. I didn’t realize that baby-hood was only the beginning. Parenting hasn’t even begun when they were babies that was more basic survival.
I didn’t go to hot yoga last night and I had to cancel my therapy and acupuncture. Those all seem very first world problems. But they are actually my way to cope with the stress of life. So to miss all three in one day was not good for me either.
But I had to stay with the sick kiddo and at night he had a fever and he wouldn’t go to sleep unless he was in my bed with me in it. So I got into bed at 7 PM. It was kind of nice I’m not going to lie. Had there not been a sick kid with me I would have probably had a great night of sleep.
Anyway. I’m exhausted. My wife’s exhausted. We are crossing our fingers he can go to daycare tomorrow. But have my mom on standby again. At the end of the day we do our best to give them everything, but still go to sleep thinking we haven’t given them enough.
I guess that part of parenting. Giving your all and battling insecurities that it’s not enough.
I’m also ignoring the fact that the most qualified candidate is an intelligent woman who’s doing crappy at the poles losing to two other 70 something year old white dudes.
On the plus side…I have a stockpile of Purell which my business partner made fun of me for buying in bulk when we opened…who’s laughing now?! #CORONAVIRUS #NURSESARETHEBESTATHANDWASHING