Most of the time I don’t feel guilty about being a working mum. Most of the time I feel OK with our decision for me to go back to work, and while I’m still doing about 4 or 5 hours more than I think is ideal every week, I do that for the payoff that I actually have a job. One that is permanent and pays me holiday and sick leave. Do you know how hard those are to find?
I don’t make as much money as my husband, but I make more than half his paycheck, so it’s not an insignificant amount, either. I may not be the main breadwinner in our house, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t rely on me.
Nick is sick. He’s had an increasingly bad cough, and last night it peaked (God I hope that was the peak, I don’t want it to get worse!). He was in and out of sleep, coughing and dry-heaving, then spitting up some seriously gross and thick mucus (sorry, hope you are not eating). We ended up calling the Dr out to check him out and he put him on an antibiotic and recommended a cough syrup. The Mechanic went out, 9:30 last night, to fill the script and get the syrup only to be told they don’t sell cough syrup over the counter for under 6 year olds anymore. But that’s not what this blog is about.
Nick managed to calm down around 10pm and finally had a good solid sleep until about 4 am. When he awoke again later he seemed improved, back to his happier self. So he went to kindy.
At 11 am I got a call that he had been coughing quite constantly, and would be better off at home. I had a feeling this would be the case, today. I wanted to stay home, but at my work, there’s 3 of us who can do this job. The boss’s RDO is today and my coworker had to take his son to the hospital to have his broken wrist examined. Mum was away for the weekend and won’t be home til this afternoon, my sisters at work. That left The Mechanic to get him.
I don’t like asking my husband to take time off because Nick is sick, or because I am sick. I don’t like doing it, because I know he doesn’t like asking. He doesn’t like asking because the reaction he gets is always the same…that it’s inconvenient and not really a good enough excuse to leave work. Not in so many words, but it’s implied. He tries to say family comes first, yet when we have no choice, and The Mechanic needs to take time off, he isn’t overly accommodating about it.
He comes from a generation where the women stayed home and tended to sick children. He was fortunate enough to be in a position that his wife was at home with the kids and always there for school pick ups, drop offs, illnesses, holidays, whatever. That’s not the case with us. Nick is OUR son, not just mine. We both earn an income, with both have employers who rely on us, we both accrue time which we can use in cases like today. I have arranged to have tomorrow off. This, like everything else related to our life, is a shared duty. And just because I am the mum, and I make less than the dad, it does not mean that it’s my job, and solely my job, to take care of Nick when he’s sick.
Yet this is when I most feel guilty about working. This is when I wish it was the 1950s again and I was June Cleaver, at home in the kitchen, wearing my apron, hair coiffed, the Mrs slippers waiting by his recliner for when he returns from a hard day’s work. This is when I feel like my being at work is failing my child. Oh, I know it’s not. But Mothers Guilt isn’t that easily squashed.Today, instead of feeling guilty that my husband had to leave work, I’ll be thankful that I can tomorrow off, paid, and stay home with my little guy. And I’ll hope this coughing crap is over sooner rather than later!
Who looks after your kids when they’re sick? Are you expected to handle all things child-related?