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Four Key Ways to Survive A Sick Day When You're Not the One Sick

Today, my youngest is sick with a fever. Cue panic mode: no daycare for my youngest today.

There has always been major anxiety for me as a mother around being in retail management and having a sick kid. I need to be present for my team, but I really need to be present for my child.

If you're a parent, maybe you've been here. My co-workers without children don't call out of work when they're perfectly healthy like I was. Will my company see me as uncommitted because I'm unable to perform my job duties today? Am I a terrible mother because I'm thinking about my job when my child needs me?

It's normal to think this, mama. Every parent struggles with the balance of a career and raising littles. Let me tell you this, if your employer holds you back for being a good parent, it might be time to find a new employer.

Back to this not sick, sick day...

This go around, my anxiety is a lot smaller, and here’s why:

1. I asked for what I needed from my boss.

I requested to work from home today. I work in retail, and working from home is not the "norm". But for today, it made sense. Find a solution that makes sense. I was actually able to get some work done between cuddles and naps. Henry made a special appearance on a Zoom call, and my team LOVED it.

2. I hired a really capable team that I trust to run the business when life comes up.

One thing that was so important to me when I was building my staff was finding self-starters. I knew I needed a team that could run the business when I was absent and could be trusted to make sound decisions.

3. I was open with my team about what today would look like.

I was working and available. If it’s urgent, my team could call. If it’s not, they knew I would respond during nap time. Pretty self-explanatory, but setting expectations allows for transparency.

4. I’m realizing my success is not in how hard I can grind and sacrifice.

It's in the quality of my work, the performance of my team, and how I communicate with those I work with. In my pre-kiddo life, nothing could stop me from being the hardest worker, clocking the most hours and trying to prove myself. Now, with two littles, I'm learning that "proving myself" is slowing down and aiming for quality work. It's allowed me to feel less guilty about taking a sick day or supporting my family.

I get it, sometimes the stars don't align, and your day is totally ruined by a little one with a runny nose and irritable temperament.

Deep breaths, it's one day (maybe two), and it will pass soon. Your kid will not have a runny nose forever, and you will resume your normal work/life routine. For now, pour your coffee and blur out that zoom background so your little one can binge cocomelon while you Mom Boss.


Meet the Author

Store manager specializing in leadership development and strategic business growth. o great people can do good work even better.


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