It never fails. You’ve been back in the workforce for just a short while after returning from your maternity (or paternity) leave, and already you find yourself using up sick days. But not because you’re the one who’s ill; because your baby is.
That’s the thing no one really tells you about returning to work. You can have the best of intentions in the world, but you’ve got a baby now. And babies get sick. Especially babies who are new to daycare. Which means all your paid time off might just be dedicated to caring for your sick little one in the year to come.
The problem comes when you have limited sick leave, or a job that doesn’t lend itself very well to unexpected absences. How are you supposed to do your job well and still parent your child, who may or may not need you home on any given day?
The answer is, there is no singular solution that will work best for everyone. But there are methods you can employ to reduce the fallout of a sick baby when it comes to your job.
First and foremost, make sure you work with your partner to determine who can take off and when. If you both have jobs that require you to be there, the burden may have to be shared when it comes to caring for your sick little one. Like all things in parenting as a team, compromise may be key to finding an agreement that works. And that agreement may need to be flexible if your child becomes sick on a day that one of you has a big presentation or some other crucial need to be on the job.
Beyond that, working with your supervisors to find acceptable solutions can be a good idea. Plenty of jobs have duties that can occasionally be done from home, so maybe you want to ask about projects you could work on from your laptop the next time you have to call in sick in order to care for your child. Engage your supervisor in a conversation about options that may be available on those days when your little one wakes up with a fever. You may find your company even has policies that allow for working from home a set number of days a month. Or that you can arrange a flexible work schedule, so that if you have to stay home on Monday, you may be able to make up those hours on Saturday.
Ultimately, it is all about finding balance and accepting that your life now revolves around a new little priority; but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your job completely. Look for solutions, communicate with those involved, and find ways to make it work; even when you have to stay home.
Written by Leah Campbell, infertility advocate, adoptive mama, writer and editor. Find me @sifinalaska on Twitter.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general informational basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.