Working Parents, How Do You Handle Your Child's Sick Days?

Last time I blogged,  I wrote about choosing private over public school for JD since I work and I need access to before and aftercare.

As a working, solo, single parent, it’s kinda hard to work out a sufficient schedule when drop-off and pick-up is on me. Same thing goes for when JD gets sick. And would you believe it, JD got sick on his FIRST day of Kindergarten.

I was at my desk working on a Fall sweater story when I saw JD’s school flash across my cell. Stomach dropped. It was the administrator calling to tell me JD had a low grade fever. The policy at school is that kids must be picked up if their fever reaches 101.5. JD was at 100-something. My work day was nearing its end, so I decided to stay and pick him up at the regular time. This made me feel like complete sh*t, but I’m a single working mom and I don’t like “special treatment” because of this and there was no one around to get him.

I picked him up at 5:45 PM. When we got home his fever was 100.6 degrees. I gave him some medicine and told him that he could eat whatever he wanted for dinner. He asked for bow-tie shaped pasta with olive oil and cheese. He ate a little. He fell asleep early, but woke up at 11 PM with a barky croup cough and 103 fever. I medicated and brought him into my bed. JD also has asthma and his cough was consistent, so I did a nebulizer treatment with him too. He fell asleep. I twisted and turned, freaking out, knowing that I would need to call out of work in the morning, knowing that I had a lot of work to do.

In the morning his fever was worse. “My throat and neck are broken,” JD moaned. At the Ped, JD tested positive for strep throat. In a way, this is better than a viral infection. I find viral infections to be soooooo annoying. At least the doc was able to give him antibiotics. I got two doses in him yesterday, but he had a really bad night. JD and all sick kids, I think, tend to be worse at night. His fever spiked again and we needed to do a nebulizer at 3 AM. “You always take care of me, mommy,” JD said through his mask with mist floating everywhere.

I was freaking because I knew in my heart I couldn’t send him to school, even though the doc said, “Two doses of meds and he can go.” Even though I work from home on all Thursdays, I wanted to go in today to compensate for being out on Wednesday. Luckily I got a lot of work done yesterday, emailing editors and publicists most of the day and closing one of my stories. Phew!

Single parents often ask me for advice when it comes to working when your kid is sick and there’s not another parent around. The only advice I can offer is … stay calm. Take care of your kid. Do as much as you can from home. If you’re fortunate enough to access a babysitter, go for it. If not, do what you have to do. I did.

Update on JD: His spirits are up! He’s eating a little and drinking a lot. By tomorrow he’ll have 5 doses of antibiotics in him, so I’m praying he’s off to school and I’m off to work. Let’s put it this way, if his fever is below 101.5 — he has to go. I have to work.

Here are some of my JD-approved tips for soothing Strep Throat pain:

  • Ice pops (JD likes Popsicle Marvel Heroes)
  • Ice cream (Orange cream is JD’s fave!)
  • Lollipops
  • OTC pain meds every 4 hours (JD is a fan of the kind that melt in your mouth)
  • Character soup (JD loves Campbell’s variety of Cars, Sponge Bob and Dora)
  • For those of you reading my blog for 5 years, you know JD hates taking medicine. My secret: I measure the meds in the syringe sucker and little by little give it to him on a spoon.
  • Tons of TLC. I let JD sleep in my bed when he’s sick.
  • Demand nap time. JD is past napping, but napped for 3 hours yesterday. I didn’t worry about bedtime being off, I just let my sick kiddo rest. Rest is crucial.
  • *Precaution: Sanitize everything, wash sheets and blankets, buy new tooth brushes


Parents, how do you handle your kids’ sicks days? Please share. Thanks for your feedback. 

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