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March 06, 2006


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My wife and I alternate.

If one of us needs to take the day off with the kids for those reasons, she will take the day off, then the next time I will take the day off. That can be changed if for instance one of us has a huge meeting or event, then we take their turn and they are then our love slave for a month...

I'm kidding on that last part, but it sounded good, right?


As working parents, this has always been our biggest problem. We're still trying to sort it out as it happens. Thankfully, we have family relatively nearby. When situations come up, it's the one time I'm glad to be living near family.


When I was working full time after the birth of our first child, we alternated caring for her if something like this came along. While we didn't have a nanny, we obviously couldn't take our daughter to daycare when she was ill. We also had occasions when the daycare was closed on days that we both worked (Good Friday, Christmas Week, etc). I traveled a fair amount, so my husband was usually the one grabbing the short straw. However, he had two bosses--one with 5 kids, the other with 3. They totally understood the challenges and didn't mind if he left early or didn't come in.

Mr. Big Dubya

We've been working through Little Dub befing sick for the past couple of weeks - Mrs. Big Dubya broke down last Wednesday and called her mother to come out - take a look at her site or read my DC post from last Friday - it has been a bitch.

And to top it all off - I am now sick. Woo-fuckin'-hoo.

Mr. Big Dubya

Befing = being+barfing

cam c.

I probably have little relevance posting here, but it's lunchtime and I have a few free minutes... :)

Home office here (I'm a freelance and contract web/UI designer) so every day is "take your daughter to work day". Hard to take phone calls sometimes; I've found using the cordless on the balcony or getting mommy to close the bedroom door helps though.

I do take her out for quick meets with clients, such as picking up cheques or source CD-ROMs, etc. but not to sit-down things... they seem cool with it. My client (and former co-worker) took a pic of her on his camera phone for his girlfriend this morning...


This has varied greatly over the course of our parenting & work lives. We generally alternate, although that can lead to situations where the parent who's at bat is arguing that the kid isn't really sick, which I don't enjoy. There was a period when the Bee a horribly contagious (but when caught early, not terribly serious) bacterial infection that caused her to stay home for three weeks, where we actually hired a pair of temp nannies (they worked alternate days). And now that I (mostly) work at home, I tend to be the person who's more on-call for sick kids than LD. Except that I'm on the road a lot more than he does (he never travels for work), so in those instances, it's all on him.

Definitely a balancing act.


I think it's pretty safe to say that fathers in previous generations didn't deal with this issue. I'm glad to see that todays fathers are involved enough with their kids to the point where these kinds of things equally affect THEIR lives.

That being said, I would look into finding out if any nearby daycare centers will take the Peanut on an emergency day basis if this ever happens again. I know some places here do that but I hear it's pretty rare.


The Peanut's such a cutie, MD. Maybe she can help you close some deals with your clients! Who can resist her adorableness?

Mama Nabi

We're lucky since hubby and I work different shifts. However, if one were to choose, I'd take a day off, not due to any gender issues but because my work offers benefits and his doesn't. I agree that Peanut could probably close some deals with her ultra-cuteness.


i was a single mom for 7 years, so i think it's programmed in me that i have NO options. i have to stay home, or bring him to work. now that i live in sin with my fiance- i guess i have his help (if he's not working on a project)... but still, it's like i assume it's my duty to stay at home with him if he's sick. lucky for me though, i can do a bunch of work from home.


As a single parent of two kids, I took sick kids to work a lot. A couple of standouts: my son was terribly sick at about age 4, and came with me to work. A coworker also had a sick child at work. We had a HUGE meeting with the VP of our division about some upcoming changes. The VP was, by far, the most boring pedantic speaker alive today. He took forever to speak. My son was quiet and happy to munch on our delish lunch complete with giant cookies. The other kid, uh..not so much. At one point she got THAT look and her mom grabbed the trash can and the kid rolfed up everything she had eaten. Now that made for a memorable meeting!

My daughter had pneumonia right when we were in the midst of a huge release, and so she went to work with me every day for a couple of weeks. There was a beanbag under my desk, and she brought her blanket and pillow and some stuffies, and slept most of the time. She knew were all the free food was, and became a secret Starbucks Mocha Latte chilled drinks whore. She knew everyone in the office and would go visiting when she was awake. At one point, they set up a computer for her, and we brought in games and she sat and played her games and didn't bother anyone. Two weeks is a LONG time to have a kid at work, but nobody complained because she was so sick and so sweet. How times have changed!

Anne Glamore

We tried it all-- taking them to the office long enough to get something filed (tip-- give kid lots of paper and a wide assortment of office supplies). Was able to work from home at times (have been on 40 lawyer conference call and had one wonder out loud "Who is wailing 'I want my train?'")

It does get better.


I work at a company who discourages children existing, much less bring them to work. And it wouldn't be safe for my kids to be where Hubby works. We have always had our kids in day-care. When they were babies and got sick, one of us stayed home. Now I either ask my mother or I hire a temporary nanny. I use a nanny service, and they can generally find you a good temp ASAP. I pay a ton more than I would for a regular nanny. But I know my kids are being taken care of, by people who have passed a kagillion background and personality tests. Ok, so I don't know about that last one, but you know what I mean. We also use the same service for in-service days and holidays that we don't get off too. If they are really sick, I stay home, but because my girls are in day-care, they get sick often and they generally are not that sick. But I hate to send them in when they have a cold, cause they just don't feel well. Sorry, for the novel.

Linda B

It's so great that you can take Peanut to work when you have to. I could bring E to work with me if I absolutely had to, but I'd be afraid I wouldn't get her back. I work with a lot of women with pulsing ovaries.

But for the most part, one of us has to call in sick to work. Because my manager is a bit more understanding, it's usually me who has to "sacrifice" and stay home. I can't say I mind, honestly :)


We do it the old-fashioned way! We whip out our W-2s and whoever makes less money has to stay home with the kids. Thankfully, in our house, that's ME! Can't complain though. I'd much rather stay home with the kids than go to work.


Someday I will write about the time I brought a 6-month old baby to a job interview, and attempted (unsuccessfully) to leave her in the lobby.

In Tokyo, when my husband and I both worked, we used a back-up sitting service for a while -- it was hideously expensive, but always there.

Most of the time, though, my husband and I would still fight about who needed to do what.

And I think my low point as a working mother was the morning I left a feverish, puking 9-year old boy and 7-year-old girl ALONE, as in COMPLETELY UNATTENDED, because 1) they both got sick very suddenly, so no time to call anyone; 2) my Japanese husband insisted that they were old enough to stay home alone, so he was NOT staying home from or going in late to work (and by Japanese standards, he was correct); and 3) I had to do a GDP data release for a financial wire service, and no one could take my place, and if I missed it, I would be dead meat at work.

I quit that job soon after.


This is a dilemma that we face often. Julia is in daycare and, like many of the other parents have mentioned, it's germ warfare when you put multiple babies in one room. She started getting sick when she was 5 months old with respiratory infections. We're lucky enough that both of our families live close by so we rotated grandmas (my mom, his mom, my stepmom). We still do this when Julia is really sick and there are multiple days that need to be accounted for. But otherwise, I usually stay home since I am a teacher and it's a little easier for me to take time off.


It's really weird because my nanny calls in sick every day. Hmmmmm, maybe I should fire her ass.

I work from home and am lucky to have a content-non-crawling baby and a job that gives me the flexibility to juggle all of it. One day I would like to have a nanny part-time. Sigh...

Ariel K.

Bosslady and I must work for the same company! I swear there must be 1,000 people working in my office and I must be the only one with a child. They can't understand me AT ALL when I say I have to stay home because the kids are sick or have to leave the office early for a teacher conference. It's insane. I hate it!


We've had this problem when our live in nanny (who looks an awful lot like ME and happens to share my name and Social Security number) has 'called in sick.' My husband has taken sick days and worked from home; he has also taken the kids to work with him, which never worked well, although it was the fault of our crazy children not his employers. Mostly, though, I have had to suck it up and parent through it, which tends to involve a LOT of television and Pop Tarts.

In addition, I have had my (very minimal) daycare fall through on days when I have, say, an OB/GYN appointment (took the boy with me--now he knows where he came from) and an appointment with my therapist (again, took the boy with me--now he knows where he'll be going).


I had to bring my middle daughter to work one day last year. She was eight. She made up a sign that she was selling girl scout cookies and taped it to the wall just outside of my office. It said "I'm in the breakroom selling GS cookies." She took her little order form and sat in the break room ALL DAY selling cookies. She had a grand time and for weeks I heard about my enterprising little sales person. LOL

But I'm too skeered to bring the little one to work! Yikes. I can't imagine how I'd get anything done at all (and I already only do the bare minimum LOL).


As a benefit of my job, we have access to emergency daycare. This is a great perk-- we used it during the transit strike and the baby loved it-- at least for the first two days.

Queen of Ass

As a single parent, there's only one person to stay home with him when he's sick. Thankfully, if he's not that bad, I can bring him to work, too. We bring my laptop and a bunch of DVD's, and his sleeping bag. He naps on the floor under my desk (where it's dark) and plays around all day. He's old enough now, though, that he wants to go "visit" people all the time. I get more socializing done when he's there than otherwise!


Typically, one of us stayed home. My mother-in-law watched the kids when they were younger. Now there is only one that really needs to be watched and he's fairly self-sufficient.

It was tough when they were younger, though. We were lucky in the respect that they didn't get sick often, since they didn't have much exposure to other kids until they went to school...but when they did get sick, whoo-boy...

I'm sure you can all relate to...projectile vomitting!


Oooh. Chilcare.

My husband and I both work - only he gets ZERO sick time or vacation time. That means that when I'm sick, I get to stay home and take care of T. And if T is sick, I get to stay home to take care of her. And if my husband is sick, then I get to take T in to work with me.

He works evenings, and I work days. Neither of us gets a break because there's always a need for childcare.

I lovelovelove that I can bring T to work with me though.


I work two days a week, telecommute from home, never have meetings ... so I am the one who takes care of the sick kiddies. Husband's work is great but he's on the phone all day & sits in a workshop so, not safe for little ones. If one of my kids is sick on a day I work & can't go to daycare, I call a grandma or an aunt. If they're busy, then I work in the evenings (that is, from 9pm until whenever I'm done). Luckily have not had to do that but once so far.

LOL on Susan's comment about the times when mom is not able to parent due to sickness. Call in the backup sitter: TV!


We do the alternating thing too. Like you, I'm a bit more flexible so I tend to take a bit more responsibility in this but we're both open to the 50-50 split. If we can't agree on who stays home we just "rock, paper, scissors" it.

I always lose.


This is exactly the scenario that keeps discouraging me from considering getting a job. I can't imagine juggling sick kids, unavailable caregivers, etc. For someone that has been a stay-at-home mom for 13 years, I can't imagine how I would manage it!


I wish I had some advice for you but I don't. I think it is great that you were allowed to bring your kid to work. How cool is that?


We are kind of lucky since I'm the only one working. And when living in Sweden tehre is never any problems in case you have family problems. Family always come first. Our son goes halftime to kindergarten but if he gets sick mommy will stay home with him. If both are sick I could stay home as well but that has not happened yet since our son seems to have some kind of freakish super immune system.

Perhaps you should bring Peanut to work more times:-) Just think of the possibilities. Your clients will love her, do MUCH more business with you, which means you can retire soon and spend all your time with her (and the wife):-)))


Nicole B.

We have the same problem. Whenever there's a daycare "holiday" or the kid get sick, we always have to check and see who's got the less hectic schedule for the day. Unfortunately, we don't have family near us so that's not an option either. So far, we haven't had a major problem yet but we've been trying to think of contingency plans for when the inevitable happens and we're both too busy to ttake teh day off from work.

Eric at Paris Daily Photo

Bonjour from Paris...

Ready for this? A friend of mine in Florida, saw an article about your blog in the Miami Herald, passed the address to me in Paris, and here I am checking out your blog. Voila!


fortunately, I have not only my own sick day allotment, but "Family Medical Leave" for when pumpkinpie gets sick, so it's all me, but I don't have to worry about leave time.


We have a nanny 3 days a week and she goes to daycare 2 days a week. If the nanny is unavailable, the daycare will often take her for a daily fee if they have room. If she's too sick to go in on daycare days, nanny can sometimes do an extra day. Otherwise its about whose schedule is less hectic that day.

The kid passes everything she has around too, so we have to hope that neither of us gets sick at the same time that kid care options are non existent.

Michelle Tennant

I'm a publicist working with "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day." If you would like your story and personal experience shared at large, I'd love to speak with you. 13 million people participate each year. Email me: michelle@publicityresults.com

Nanny Bekah

As a nanny, I have often wondered about what the right thing to do it. Naturally, you don't want your kid to get sick from their nanny but in my case, I usually get sick from the kids. I stay "home" with them and they stay "home" with me. We make being sick fun! It's a good time for a movie day and special treats like Sprite to help them pump fluids through their systems. As a nanny, I know that if I call in sick, there is no one to replace me so I always call and give the parents the option. I give them the facts as far in advance as I can and let them make the decisions. If they can make arrangements or want to then I get to stay home, if they can't I still go in. We've kind of done it all.

dear wife

Since I am still pregnant we have not had to deal with this yet. But I have to say this is one of those times I am glad to be associated with a big university, both zygote daddy and I are graduate students. Our university has a special daycare just for students and faculty for when their kids are sick.


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