WORKING PARENT: BALANCING YOUR JOB AND CARING FOR A SICK BABY
My son, Beckett, has his first serious cold. As ridiculous as it may seem, it’s breaking my heart right in two. I’m learning that there’s a lot of truth to the saying that when your child hurts, you hurt ten times worse as a parent. That being said, there is nothing I want more than to be there for my son at every waking moment. I want to tend to his every need and snuggle away all of his discomfort. Unfortunately, as a working mom, this isn’t always possible.
He hasn’t had a fever so he has still been going to child care. While I’m thankful that his illness hasn’t prevented me from working, it can still be emotionally trying to leave your sick baby in the care of someone else – no matter who it is. As a parent, you sometimes feel like you’re the only person adequate to take care of your child, especially in the case of sickness. So physically being at work hasn’t been an issue, but mentally being there can be challenging when your heart is somewhere else.
So what’s the secret to pushing through and remaining productive? Well honestly, I don’t think there is one. My motivation for staying focused and productive has revolved around this thought: The more that I can get done while Beckett is in the trusted care of someone else, the more love and attention I can give him when he’s back in my arms. After being apart from him all day, I certainly don’t want to be distracted by emails or a mental to-do list once I’m with him again. I want to be able to mend and love him back to good health as much as I can.
In addition to being emotionally taxing, having a sick child can be physically taxing on you as a parent. We had literally just completed sleep training and finally had a baby who slept through the night. Fast forward two days later, and we had a sick child who was no longer interested in sleeping through the night. I can’t say I blame him. It’s hard to sleep well when you can’t breathe through your nose. Regardless, being up for extended periods of time in the middle of the night and then having to work the next day isn’t always the easiest. My number one piece of advice here? Coffee. Lots of coffee. Caffeine is your friend. And of course the peace of mind that this will hopefully be short-lived.
Being a working parent presents challenges every day, and having a sick baby is just another one of those challenges. At the end of the day, though, it’s important to keep perspective. I’m so very thankful that all we’re dealing with is a cold. Sure, it hurts my heart as a mom, but the reality is that I know it could be so much worse. There are plenty of parents out there who would trade places with me in a split second. So I’ll take the cold – sniffles, cough, sleeplessness and all. And I’ll gladly do what I can to take advantage of the time that I do have with my sniffly little guy and love him back to good health.