I have been taking a day off or two almost every week since I went back to work.

(63 Posts)
yukes Tue 12-Feb-13 10:32:54

In last November, I went back to work from my maternity leave. As I have a baby (Now 10-month old) in a nursery, he so often gets something from there. You name it, conjunctivitis, temperature, runny nose/bottom etc. They have a rule for each symptom that a baby is banned to come back. Now, the older one got ill (he rarely gets ill nowadays) and have to take time off to stay with him at home. I am feeling so guilty and started to feel worried that my boss one day will say to me that I'm no longer needed there. I know there is nothing to do, but I just wanted to speak to anyone who might have a similar situation...

BlueyDragon Tue 12-Feb-13 10:37:58

Been there done that, yukes. It's really stressful, I totally sympathise. It does get better as they get more robust. Do you have a DP around to help, or family/friends who might help? DH did his fair share of covering sick days, without that it would have been much harder. And we bent until they nearly snapped hovered around the edges of our nursery's sick policy sometimes, but it sounds as though ours was less draconian than yours.

yukes Tue 12-Feb-13 10:48:20

Ohh...thank you BlueyDragon! So it is not just me. By only knowing that it is not just me, it makes me feel better. I do have some help from my husband's family, particularly my in-law mum. But she has a bit of complex in her immune system, I don't have any help when kids are ill. However, I know out there there are a lot of people who have NO help at all, so I shouldn't compalin... Oh well, as you say, it gets better not getting worse, so I should just hang in there... My boss is arranging a remote access from home for me now so that will make it easier I believe. I'm sorry for bubbling.

Numberlock Tue 12-Feb-13 10:58:19

Hi yukes. My kids are a lot older but I have been through this too so I can sympathise. It will get better, promise!

It sounds like you've already done this but I would speak to your boss and let him know that you are aware that you have taken a lot of time off and that you would like to know if there is anything you can do to make things easier for both of you and to minimise the impact on the business. (It sounds positive that he/she's arranging for you to be able to work from home.) And show her/him that projects you work on at home will get done; perhaps a couple of emails throughout the day with updates. (Is she/he allowing you to work from home instead of taking holiday?)

Above and beyond that, on the days when you are able to work in the office, I would try and get in early, take minimum breaks and stay extra if possible, working in the evenings and weekends to finish off projects that could run behind deadline.

Always keep the lines of communciation open with your boss and other than that, don't feel guilty!

yukes Tue 12-Feb-13 12:59:53

Hello Numberlock.... You are almost making me cry now... "don't feel guilty"... Thanks so much for your kind words.
Yes, I have asked my boss if I could get a remote access from home for me to work when I have to stay at home. He has arranged and approved it quickly and it is on its way. As you mentioned, I really wanted to think that it was a positive sign as my boss has done that for me.
I think we all have to get through this difficult period. After that, it will get much easier and happier. Thank you so much for your encouragement. :-)

DontmindifIdo Tue 12-Feb-13 13:04:30

it's rubbish isn't it? Can your DH take some more of the burden from you? It does stop btw, they suddenly stop getting ill all the time after about 6 months.

flowery Tue 12-Feb-13 13:21:47

Make sure your DH is doing his fair share and taking time off half the time. You doing it all the time is the surest way to irritate your boss, although he seems pretty understanding at the moment.

yukes Tue 12-Feb-13 13:27:02

Hi DontmindifIdo. I take DH as my husband, am I wrong? Well, it is always the topic of our argument whenever our kids get ill. He says "I can't take a day off tomorrow". That really annoys me because it really sounds like my job is OK to take a day off at anytime and I can take it at anytime. It always ends up with me taking time off not him. He is a manager of a small team so he thinks he has to go there to manage the team. While I am not a manager but I don't think it matters, does it? My older son was exactly like my baby, getting ill all the time when he was a baby as well. However, he rarely gets ill now! So I have to swallow all the complain and pain and wait till the storm goes!?

brainonastick Tue 12-Feb-13 13:30:18

Can you look into alternative childcare - eg my childminder will still take them with a cold, so long as they aren't too miserable, and conjuctivitus, so long as they are having AB drops. The only no-nos are sickness and diarrhoea (and even then, she's experienced enough to know when its sickness or a runny bottom caused by eg teething or a cold, and so isn't too worried then).

yukes Tue 12-Feb-13 13:31:45

Hi flowery. Yeah, I thought that would be very fair. However, as I mentioned in my previous message. I believe that it will get easier for everyone when I have an access to work from home. For me, my husband (as there will be less arguments), my boss and of course my children.

WipsGlitter Tue 12-Feb-13 13:33:46

This happened a friend of mine, it was cheaper for her in the end to get a nanny - is that an option?

yukes Tue 12-Feb-13 13:35:43

Hi brainonastick. That was the direction we were looking at to start with. However, we didn't find anyone good around our area and it sounded more expensive than day nursery and after school club. Childcare is really expensive here....

Numberlock Tue 12-Feb-13 13:41:40

Yukes For some reason I read your first post as though you didn't have a partner (it was early, I must have been half asleep... ). It's unacceptable that he refuses to do his fair share and you take all the time off! This really makes me angry.

I think you need to be having strong words with him...

yukes Tue 12-Feb-13 13:51:23

ha ha! Numberlock... Probably I put a centence "I needed to talk to someone similar" kind of thing, which might've sounded like I have no one to talk to..!?
Welll, I have a husband, who usually helps a lot regarding children things particularly. However, I got the impression that he couldn't come out of the old-fashioned idea of men, ie. taking time off for children's sineness. Although he is a manager, he has a boss, line manager, so he would have to tell the person about it. He seems to have a bit of reservation about telling them about it!? I don't know...

FunnysInLaJardin Tue 12-Feb-13 13:54:26

this is the very reason I use a CM. The only time she won't have DS2 is when he has a sickness bug. Colds etc are not a problem

Numberlock Tue 12-Feb-13 14:42:32

Send him to me, yukes, I'll soon rid him of his ridiculous sexist notions!

sausagesandwich34 Tue 12-Feb-13 14:49:48

hate to put a dampner on this but your employer can take steps in this situation

whilst you are protected to a certain extent by the fact it is emergency childcare, you aren't actually fulfilling your contract at the moment and if you can't show that you have exhausted all possible alternatives to alternative childcare then they can take action

alternative emergency childcare can and does include the other parent so tell your OH to pull his head out of his arse and take a day off -I take it your income does contribute to the family pot and isn't just pocket money

some men can me a PITA when it comes to this but my manager has taken time off when his DC or his wife have been poorly and everyone goes on about what a saint he is

Numberlock Tue 12-Feb-13 14:51:13

everyone goes on about what a saint he is

Don't get me started on that, sausage...

DontmindifIdo Tue 12-Feb-13 14:58:12

Right, you need to sit your DH down, and show him how many days over how many weeks you've had off. Ask him what he'd think of one of his employees who took this much time off for sick DCs.

Tell him either he does his fair share of it, or you accept that you both working full time isn't compatitable with having preschool DCs, which will cost X amount in the family budget (what you earn minus the childcare and commuting costs) and Y amount out of your retirement income (when you give up work, you give up earning a pension too, it's not just your current income this effects).

He needs to start taking a turn on this. You can do it alone, but as you aren't a single parent, why should you?

yukes Tue 12-Feb-13 15:08:24

Umm... everyone's comments made me wonder if this is just my hubby who wouldn't like to take a day off.. Does everyone's husband take a day off in turn? I mean, is it really equally accepted when men took it!?

ilovemountains Tue 12-Feb-13 15:11:45

Yes, and yes, in my workplace at least.

DontmindifIdo Tue 12-Feb-13 15:12:02

My DH has taken more time off than me when DS has been sick.

badguider Tue 12-Feb-13 15:14:56

Where I work men take time as much as women (we have some married couples so it's all the same to the business really which is off).
The best option is generally if they take half a day each so one goes in the morning, rearranges their workload and takes work home for the afternoon and the other stays home in the morning but comes in for the afternoon and maybe stays on a bit later than normal.

Numberlock Tue 12-Feb-13 15:19:19

Does everyone's husband take a day off in turn?

I think it's really bad that you even have to ask that question in the year 2013. (Meant as a reflection on your husband, not you by the way.) sad

From the day my boys were born, my (now ex-) husband took equal time off. Of course there were days when he just couldn't arrange things, as there were with me. But we have always achieved a 50-50% of childminder/school drop-offs; time off due to illness; taking to dentist, doctor, orthodontist appointments etc etc.

Even since we've been divorced (ten years now), the arrangement has always been the same. I wouldn't accept anything less.

WiseKneeHair Tue 12-Feb-13 15:21:02

Yes, here too. My DH has taken more time off with the DC than I have.
What happens when if your DC1 gets chickenpox? And then gives it to DC2? Are you going to take 4 weeks off, whilst your DH works as normal?
This isn't a purely hypothetical question. I have 3 DC, They have all had chicken pox.

Booyhoo Tue 12-Feb-13 15:24:11

is your husband in the NHS, like a nurse/paramedic or a care assistant or something? that would be the only sort of jobs i wouldn't expect him to take off work for unless absoloutely necessary.

otherwise then yes, he absoloutely should be sharing the responsibility for childcare and that means splitting illness leave with you so your career isn't being unfairly compromised while his remains intact. his penis doesn't give him more entitlement to work than you.

Blu Tue 12-Feb-13 15:24:36

I am both and employer and a working mother.

As an emlployer of women it makes me wild if it is assumed that it is the mother will always cover child sick days. Why should MY business suffer absence while the employer of the father of the child does not? And it perpetuatues prejudice against women in the workplace. And how will YOU ever get to be a manager, like your DH, if he makes you do all the childcare? See how sexism works?

As a working mother I rely on DP to do his actual fair share of sick days and holidays. Actual fair share being 50%. We do help each other by being flexible and working around who ever has the most pressing deadline or meeting on any one day, but ensure that it levels out over the year.

Your DH needs to realise that he doesn't have a sahp at home to offer back up. And that when both parents work, both need to take equal responsibility for the child care that enables them to work. Fair enough, on his days that might mean that he gets his mother to cover - but then it's his job to make the call and arrange it. Not yours.

SocietyClowns Tue 12-Feb-13 15:25:09

We've done half days each to cover and dh would never hesitate to take time off if one of ours is sick. Whenever it happens we discuss as equals what we have on at work (meetings etc) and which of us thinks can take time off easier. There is no way I would be the one covering all the time, and I'm part time while dh is full time and very senior. As far as I am concerned it's part of being a parent.

Numberlock Tue 12-Feb-13 15:25:29

... I've realised why I assumed you didn't have a partner - you don't make any mention of him at all in your post as someone who should be sharing this load with you...

yukes Tue 12-Feb-13 15:25:34

Oh wow.... I have nothing to say. Really gobsmacked.
I think I have to sit down and talk to my hubby more seriously, of course mentioning everyone's comments here... Wow again.

ledkr Tue 12-Feb-13 15:25:40

Your dh has the right to time off as well as you. I insist mine does as my job is equally as important. He is a copper and they are actually very good if he needs time off.

CailinDana Tue 12-Feb-13 15:26:48

You and your DH should be alternating days. There is no way on earth you should be jeopardising your job and ending up totally stressed out while he just carries on as though he has no children! Totally unfair and utterly ridiculous.

I'm a SAHM and on a couple of occasions DH has had to take the day off work because I've been too ill to look after DS. He's a parent and it's his duty to take care of his child if there's no one else to do it.

PurpleStorm Tue 12-Feb-13 15:31:56

I take more days off than DH when DS is too ill for nursery, but DH still manages to take some days off so that it's not just me missing work. And to be fair to DH, it's harder for him to take time off without notice than it is for me because of the nature of his job.

Most of the fathers in my office have also taken time off when their DC's are ill. No one I work with seems to regard that as unusual.

Numberlock Tue 12-Feb-13 15:39:26

Really gobsmacked

Why are you so surprised, yukes? Did you think it was 'normal' for the woman to have to do everything? What is the situation with your friends/family etc?

goinnowhere Tue 12-Feb-13 15:43:26

DH takes more time than me as his work/annual leave is more flexible. It is right and normal.

Mutley77 Tue 12-Feb-13 15:43:48

I am surprised you have been able to sustain this as long as you have. Have you used all your holiday taking these days off? You have been very lucky with your boss.

I work p/t so tbh if the kids are ill on one of my working days DH usually takes it off as I have less time to play with. He has less critical meetings than I do generally - and can often do them on the phone from home, so he doesn't usually have to lose annual leave.

I think you will need to sort things out so your DH covers sometimes and/or find better childcare and/or decrease to part time working as I don't think you can possibly sustain your current situation. How are you managing your workload - do you not have to work later on other days to catch up?

choceyes Tue 12-Feb-13 15:48:56

My DH takes time off work for sick kids yes. He is a teacher, so it's not easy, but he gets 3 days of paid leave for being with ill family, so when kids get ill he takes the time off first, as I have to dig into my annual leave if I was going to take the time off. ALthough last year it was a different policy at my workplace and I had a similar deal, 3 days of paid leave for sick family, but the new manager scrapped that, so last year it was me who took the time off work.
But if DH has something really really important at work, and also if it's DD who is ill, the smaller DC and is still BF, I take a day off instead.

So it depends on the financial impact of it and if either of us have important days at work and also depending on the DC, although now DD is 2.5yrs either parent will do.

Your partner has to do his share OP.

thonah Tue 12-Feb-13 15:50:52

I really think you need to look at your childcare arrangements - a nursery that won't take a child with a runny nose????? it must be empty in winter!

ihearsounds Tue 12-Feb-13 15:51:04

Doesn't matter what his role is within his job, the point is legally he can take time off because he has dependents. A dependent doesn't just include the dc's it also includes you or anyone else that might depend on him. As a manager it is shameful really that he isn't aware of this, so I would pull him up on that.

He really needs to pull his finger out of his arse and start taking time off with his children. It is irrelevant that your work have now organised remote log in. The point is, as a parent he has a duty of care. This includes dealing with ill children..

If he is a decent manager, his team will cope fine without him being there, because they will know what to do.

I have always shared days off for illness, inset etc, even when I ran my own business and it meant I made no money, I took time off. Even though dp is the head chef of a very busy kitchen, his team manages fine without him there. There are millions of bosses, managers etc out there that at times suck it up and take time off. How the hell does he suppose manageresses deal with this, or his is head so stuck in the 1950's that he doesn't believe females can have executive positions?

Not read whole thread and apols if I'm repeating but guidance changed recently and nurseries tend to take children now with conjunctivitis - if its being treated. Just thought I'd mention in case you didn't know

choceyes Tue 12-Feb-13 15:59:00

Yes our nursery takes DCs with conjuctivitis provided it's being treated.

bigkidsdidit Tue 12-Feb-13 15:59:35

My DH takes 50% too. The first day off is taken by whoever is least busy and the next by the other etc.

My CM takes my DS with all my sickness / diarrhoea though sonwe haven't had a day off in a while

bigkidsdidit Tue 12-Feb-13 16:00:09

Oh and she takes children with conjunctivitis too

BobbiFleckmann Tue 12-Feb-13 16:01:46

Your employer is being a saint and your husband is taking the mickey. He needs to step up and it's his turn to take as many as you do, and you've built up quite a credit it seems.

You should also register with a local nanny agency who provide emergency cover and sometimes you'll just have to bite the bullet and hire last minute home care - it's expensive but it's cheaper than getting the sack.

yukes Tue 12-Feb-13 16:05:34

I didn't think that women had to do everything. I do think opposite actually. That is what I said to my DH (this means husband, right?)
I am actually from a different country and this thing still goes on big time back in my country. I thought UK would be much more advanced than my country in terms of this kind of "sharing responsibility for children" matter, but I started thinking that it might've been still the same here as my country.
According to everyone who commented here, it is proven that I am wrong and I was right that UK IS much more advanced in terms of sharing responsibilities.

BobbiFleckmann Tue 12-Feb-13 16:07:37

out of interest, do nurseries reimburse some of their fee for days they won't accept your child for minor illnesses? I know they're still keeping the place open, but is there a token amount reimbursed for food / nappies etc not used?

yukes Tue 12-Feb-13 16:09:34

Also, I might've written or sounded slightly wrongly.. Our nursery takes children/babies after 24 hours since the eye drop treatment started for conjunctivitis.
They take children/babies with runny nose of course. I meant that my baby gets it from there. The nursery has different rules and days that children are not allowed to come in. For example, Diarreha 48 days, conjunctivitis 24 hours etc etc.

mimolette Tue 12-Feb-13 16:10:57

We are sharing the sick child days but I still worry about all the time off. Those of you who have said that it gets better - when? At what age or after how long at nursery did your kids stop getting ill regularly? At the moment we seem to be averaging once a month sad

It is difficult when both of you work, no doubt about.

Like everybody else said, the responsibility for looking after unwell children should be shared between you and your DH. We have 4 boys - that's a lot of chickenpox... grin
My DH and I both work in professional jobs in which if either one of us does not turn up lets a lot of other people down (we are both drs - hospital and GP). I have no idea who of us has taken more time off for unwell kids as we have always made the decision based on what was going on in our respective days at the time. We don't keep a spreadsheet, but it is quite clear that childcare is not just MY issue or problem.

Wrt to illness though, this is why we had a childminder for the first 8 years of having children and now have a nanny. Could you try and look for a nanny share? We also at one point had an older neighbour who was happy to 'babysit' at short notice should the need arise - it was a great relief to have had that offer even though we only needed her once, I think. We had no family to back us up - is that an option for you?

In my personal and professional opinion it gets better once they are around school age...

Mim dd was sick for 6 weeks . We moved his nursery. Odd cold and d and v since but not the ongoing illness. He ewas 1, school age noe

Numberlock Tue 12-Feb-13 16:16:30

If he is a decent manager, his team will cope fine without him being there, because they will know what to do

Excellent point, ihear. The mark of a good manager is one where the team runs smoothly in her/his absence.

Sadly a lot of managers think the opposite is true.

choceyes Tue 12-Feb-13 21:56:05

Well my DCs are 4.3yrs and 2.5yrs and we've gone a whole year without the DCs needing time off nursery due to illness. It does get much much better.

musicalfamily Tue 12-Feb-13 22:01:04

We also share the childcare responsibilities equally, and all the couples i know from school where both parents work it is the same. I have seen plenty of dads on pick up with sick child on toe.

Sadly as many many people now do not live near families or relatives who can help, they have to rely on each other to cope. You could argue that both mine and DH's careers have suffered because of this but at least we are in the same boat!!

We have 4 children and it would be impossible for me to hold down a professional job AND take all the time off needed. It's a team effort!! Even the working from home thing isn't really a solution, because it is really stressful and hard work to try and work at home with a sick toddler or young child, so although it helps I think you should still have a word with your husband.

MousyMouse Tue 12-Feb-13 22:12:17

can you share the time off better?
when dc are ill I go in very early and come back around lunch, so have around 5 hours of work done the rest of it I can make up over the rest of the week by only having a quick desk lunch. dh then goes to work and works later. both our works are fine with this agreement.

milktraylady Tue 12-Feb-13 22:19:45

Dear OP (original poster) DH means dear husband, by the way

Dozer Wed 13-Feb-13 18:51:45

It is bad form to "work from home" with sick, v young DC, my employer (v reasonable) doesn't allow it, we use a lot of annual leave. Agree with others that CMs much btter than nursery for illness. Imo nurseries should publish info on sickness absence rates. We are in similar situation, I take more time off than DH as my employer is better and his job less secure, but today I was in tears over the time off have had, feeling that colleagues think me flakey and how behind I am. My DC are 5 and 2.

BlueyDragon Thu 14-Feb-13 22:22:57

Your DH needs to step up, yukes. Splitting the childcare responsibilities no longer means Daddy does playing and Mummy does everything else. My DH and I worked it out a bit like Pacific [quick wave to Pacific] - who could most easily take the time? It depended on who had last taken time off, whether either of us had to be in the office (and that was absolute necessity, not just "I have lots of meetings" or "My team can't survive without me") and anything else relevant. Both sets of employers were and are supportive; many employers have parent and carer policies and/or diversity policies that support equal parenting. If both of you are working, it is only fair to share the load.

Working from home with a poorly child never works out very well in my experience. I would get stuff done when my children were asleep and in the evening but you never know when and for how long they will sleep and it's best, I think, to highlight the fact that you won't be immediately available to your line manager to manage his/her expectations. DH and I tried as far as possible to minimise the times where the same person had to cover two days in a row which helped.

Please don't feel guilty and please tell your DH that this is the UK in the 21st century!

BlueyDragon Thu 14-Feb-13 22:23:50

Un-MN hug for Dozer.

yukes Fri 01-Mar-13 17:03:59

Please don't feel guilty and please tell your DH that this is the UK in the 21st century!

Thank God you are saying the exactly same thing as I said to my DH!
The thing that wouldn't make it better is that DH's mother is almost on his side. Almost hinting that I should be with DC and mu DH has to be at work to manage the team unlike me. Most shocking thing was that my DH said last night that he had more responsibilities in his role than I do in mine, so that I should take a time off when DC is ill. Shocking.. or am I oversensitive about the comment???

hotbot Fri 01-Mar-13 17:29:03

Dh and I share the responsibility. For what it's worth, I earn twice what my husband does and manage a team, I wouldn,t dream of not taking my turn! It takes 2 to make a baby after all.

BackforGood Fri 01-Mar-13 17:41:46

Of course dh did his fair share! 2 parents, both out working, both trying to juggle that with managing childrens' illnesses.

I like don'tmindifIdo's suggestion on P1. If he manages a team, how would your dh respond if one of them was taking days off almost every week ? shock. I'm amazed any employee thinks it's acceptable to be doing that, tbh. You need to point out to him that, unless he takes his turn, then you are soon likely to be without a job, and see if he's happy being the only one with a job. If you were my colleague, I'd not be very happy to be continually having to take on work you weren't doing.

BlueyDragon Sun 03-Mar-13 06:00:09

I don't think you're being over-sensitive, no. Unless your DH is running the country/Barack Obama, then he can take occasional days off. Even they get holidays. What would happen if your DH fell under the proverbial bus? They would survive. I'm not wishing that on anyone, just making the point that no-one's indispensable.

Competitive anything - job responsibilities, tiredness, amount of time spent doing childcare/ own thing - never works out well IME.

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