Mom Confession: I Make My Daughter 'Prove' She's Sick if She's Going to Miss School

Mom Moment 28

I’m not exactly a mom that could be accused of Munchausen syndrome, the mental disorder that causes someone to make another person ill in order to seek medical treatment for attention. Nope, I’m more from the no fever, no blood, no problem school of parenting.

So when my kids get the sniffles, I tend to do just about anything to make sure they’re actually sick enough to stay home from school before I let them. Since I currently have one fifth-grader upstairs and in bed at this very moment, I’m wondering how many other moms try their darnedest to make sure their kids get out the door in the morning.

It usually starts the night before, when I notice a bit of extra tiredness or a certain listlessness. Sometimes there’s a slightly stuffy nose. This is when the allergy medication comes out, along with extra juice and an early bedtime. Last night that didn’t work so well for me, with my little sicky up way past 11 complaining of a scratchy throat. Crap.

This morning I was still hopeful, as I pulled her out of bed, stuck her in her uniform, and sat her down for breakfast. “I’m not hungry,” she claimed, and being a child, and me being the provider of the food, she’s usually in a constant state of near-starvation. Double crap.

She didn’t have a fever, and she wasn’t throwing up, so I loaded her up on more allergy meds, and told her she would feel better by the time we got to school. Of course by this time, little sister was busy telling me that she didn’t want to go to school if the big one didn’t. Crap, crap, crap!

With a carful of sniffles and whines, we set out to school, me with every intention of saying goodbye to both my daughters for the next seven hours. Poor sick girl complained about her scratchy throat and sipped ice water the whole way.

I told her things like, “If you’re too sick for school, then you’re too sick for TV,” and “Mommy has to work, I can’t entertain you,” and even, “You’re really sick enough to stay in bed all day rather than learn fun new things and see your friends?” I concluded my questioning begging by suggesting that she just try to go for a little bit, and I’d pick her up if she couldn’t make it.

“Mommy, I don’t think I can make it,” my sad sniffly and snuffly daughter said to me.

So here we are, with her resting, and me loading her up with Gatorade and cough drops. Because gosh darn it, I’m going to get that child well enough for school tomorrow by the sheer power of my will! Or something.

How sick do your kids have to be before you’ll keep them home from school?


Image via Jenny Erikson

education, elementary school, kid health

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Coles... Coles_mom

It's moms like you who infect the rest of the kids in school. I go a million miles out of my way to shame someone go send their kid to school sick. Your kid with sniffles then gives it to my kid, who then brings it home to my other kids- that we can't get medical insurance for- so after $1000 between three er visits, medication, and (unpaid) time off of work- we're even more screwed. All because you didn't want to be a momma. Wtf is wrong with people like you???????!!!!!

c_gal... c_galvan87

Mom judgment start...now! Oh wait, it already started

nonmember avatar Melissa

@Coles_mom...get off your high horse! Not everything is contagious, and keeping your kid home if they aren't really sick is STUPID! She OBVIOUSLY didn't send her kid to school, but was trying to make sure that she was really sick enough to have to stay home. It's moms like you that make people think moms are crazy!

nonmember avatar llmama

Coles_mom...why is it so many people feel the need to go the ER? If your kid gets a cold from another kid at school that sucks, but is so not a reason for the emergency room...you do that to yourself.

keelh... keelhaulrose

Wow, Coles mom, perhaps you could save a few bucks by looking up walk in clinics. A lot of places have them because they want the ER to be for emergencies. And I'm speaking as someone who hasn't had insurance, either, so don't tell me I don't know what it's like. I knew the closest walk in clinic was an hour and a half away and $89 for a basic visit, and the ER charged $450 to get into a room so it saved me money, if not time, to drive. Sucks when you're sick, but I'd spend $200 for the clinic and gas when the hospital would charge $600.


My mother was a nurse. She'd keep us home only when she felt we were sick and a health hazard to others, but minor colds or the tail end of the flu saw us in school with medication in the nurse's office. A lot of school districts only give you so many days off without penalty. My husband was once threatened with being held back for missing two weeks of school with a hospitalization/illness. Ten days was all it took that district to hold a child back.

Andrea Byrd Plate

Wow, thanks for the snotty judgement Coles_mom!  Obviousy she didn't send her kid to school, but if moms kept their kids home every time they had a little sniffle, they'd never learn anything!  Plus, kids are sneaky-if they think they can get a day on the couch with TV and mommy waiting on them instead of school, they'll try to pull it off.  My mom's rule was, if you don't have a fever and you aren't vomiting, you're going for at least a half day.  I will be applying the same to my daughter when she starts kindergarten in a couple of years.

Andrea Byrd Plate

keelhaulrose, have to chime in with districts holding kids back-I almost didn't graduate high school because I came down with, of all things, chicken pox my senior year and had to miss two weeks of school.  This despite the fact that I was an honors student, had already accepted a place at a university, and had my homework sent home with friends so I could keep up.  Needless to say my daughter has received the chicken pox vaccine, since apparently I was immune to it as a young child only to contract it as an 18 year old.

Kate Cooley

Wow. I mean, obviously you should do your Mom-est to determine if your kid is really sick, but using things like “If you’re too sick for school, then you’re too sick for TV,” and “Mommy has to work, I can’t entertain you,” and even, “You’re really sick enough to stay in bed all day rather than learn fun new things and see your friends?” is emotionally rough on a kid. Don't use the guilt stick to beat them out the door on days when they're not feeling their best.

Josh Marihugh

"If you're too sick for school, you're too sick for TV." That's not guilt-tripping, that's truth.

We rarely missed a day of school for sickness. I do recall missing three days for chicken pox, and that one, they DID let me watch TV and play with my Atari.

adamat34 adamat34

Ya Im agreeing with Kate. Thats a little harsh. I would bend over backwards to make my boys feel better. Tlc, even with what is clearly described as a cold, makes for a faster recovery. And yes, Im a nurse. Love goes a long way.

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