You know the feeling. The little one wakes up in the middle of the night with a fever and there is no way they’re going to school the next day, which of course, means you’re not going to work.
I’ve learned the hard way that taking care of a sick kid while also managing to get some work done, is a tough balance. 100% focused on work does not work. I am a complete stress case and no one wins. And who gets the worst of it? Of course, the poor child who is sick and just needs some undivided mommy love.
Below are my best tips and tools for working from home with a sick kid.
First things first:
No Guilt. Your number one job in life is to raise and care for that tiny human you created. Throw the guilt out the window before doing anything (she says looking in the mirror).
Be honest with yourself. If your kid is really really sick and/or under 3 years old, put on your momuniform, take a big deep breath, surrender to the fact that nothing work-related will get done that day and report for duty. Movie day all day.
1. Inform and set expectations with your team.
Send an email to your team – let them know what to expect of you.
Example: Hey guys, unfortunately Cooper woke up with a 103 degree temperature. I am taking a Sick and Safe Day. I’ve sent updates to meetings for Monday. If you have an urgent need, text my cell. Otherwise I’ll connect with you tomorrow morning.
If you’re using the work schedule below, let them know of a few times you’ll be checking email and/or available to connect.
Example: Hey guys, unfortunately Cooper woke up with a 103 degree temperature. I’m working from home today. I’ll be on email from Xam – Xam and again at Xpm – Xpm. I’ve sent updates to meetings for the day. If you have an urgent need, text my cell. Otherwise I’ll connect with you during the times listed above.
2. Reschedule in person meetings
Reschedule all in persona meetings. I suggest you reschedule conference calls as well. The stress involved with trying to have perfect silence for calls is just not worth it in my experience.
Offer a new meeting time day a few days out in case your little one isn’t feeling better and/or isn’t able to return to school right away.
For example, if you were scheduled to meet on Monday, reschedule for Thursday or Friday. Client meetings are tricky, I know, and timing of these are important. Do your best to accommodate your client needs and your personal life…isn’t that all we can do anyways?
3. Call for backup
Staying home with a sick kid is exhausting especially when you have a deadline looming. Ask your partner to share the responsibility with you and either split kid duty for the day, or come home early to relieve you. Be specific about what you need.
Example: Babe, I have that really important proposal for Dream Client due tomorrow afternoon. Can you stay home with Cooper this morning so I can work a few hours on it? I’ll take the afternoon shift.
If your partner can’t stay home and your kid isn’t really sick and just can’t return to school yet, ask a friend/SIL/babysitter to come over for a few hours to give you a break.
Also, if you belong to a gym that has child care, you can drop them off there for a few hours while you hang out in the lobby on your laptop. Of course, don’t do this if they’ve had a fever within the last 24 hours or have other symptoms. Alternatively, and this only if you’re feeling like superwoman💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼, take the opportunity to walk slooooowly on the treadmill while answering emails.
4. Set a Schedule
Create a schedule with time increments of 1 hour each to balance work and play time. A basic schedule is below. You can customize this to fit your schedule and, if your little on is old enough, you can involve them in creating it, which gives them a sense of control and makes it more fun for them.
Working From Home with A Sick Kid – Schedule
Forget making dinner, just order pizza and pat yourself on the back for surviving the day! 👏👏👏