tissues, swine flu, sick daysMy working mama friend and I were just "freaking out" together about whether our sick days were going to last the swine flu (and regular flu) season, especially when some of us (me) already used a few on a summer "H1N1 scare" and when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants parents and/or kids (which also means a parent) to stay home at the first sign of "sickness" this season.

Do you have enough sick days to potentially cover you and your kids this season? Or are you one of the many workers with no paid sick leave at all?

Over on BlogHer, Rita Arens is talking about this fear too in her post CDC: Keep Your Sick Kid Home. Your Boss: Get Your Butt to Work.

Rita writes, "My kid was sick all the time her first year in daycare.

I spent most of that year a defensive, angry wreck, and my daughter's health played a big part of that. Every time she was sick, I liked my job less. I liked daycare less. I liked myself less as her mother who couldn't keep all the balls in the air. I felt like a failure at my job and as a mother, and the constant discussions over who was going to take off work or find alternate arrangements to get to the doctor's office wasn't exactly helping my marriage, either."

Uh, bingo! Rita hits all the nails on the head. Sick kids can:

  • Make work harder: explaining to bosses and coworkers alike; getting your work done and well; worrying about job loss in this economic climate;
  • Make school days confusing: lots of worry, especially amid this season's pandemic hysteria, about when to keep them home and for how long or, when flu exposure strikes your child's school, whether or not to send kids into school;
  • Make childcare expensive: you pay whether your kid attends or not;
  • Make marriage treacherous: "you stay home, no you stay home," or in my case, I'm already working at home, so I'm always dealing with the illnesses — a blessing and a zinger;
  • Make you and the rest of your family sick: households with multiple children often get hit with a back-to-back string of sick days that can easily add up to a week off from work; and then mom and/or dad may be stricken too.

For single parents, a child's sickness hits doubly hard because mom or dad can't tag team a second working parent's sick time.

Ugh, there's no real preparation to be done (other than an extra helping of worry). We just have to wash our hands a lot and wade into the season, thinking good, healthy thoughts for our families.

If you're a working mom, do you feel prepared to handle the potential sicknesses of the season? How do you (and your boss) handle this juggle each year?

Related posts:

Keeping Sick Kids Home from School

Swine Flu Symptoms and Facts

Swine Flu: CDC Eases School Closing Policy