I am on day 10 of this crappy sickness with my kids. Is it a cold virus? Is it strep throat? There’s no fever or vomiting. They have tons of energy. But, I keep them home for their comfort. Thankfully, I work from home and can afford to keep my kids home as long as they need. By afford I mean not paying a baby sitter; I didn’t mention the cost to my sanity.
When my kids get sick I am wary about sharing on social media for fear of judgement. There is always a parent out there that has an opinion on what kind of cold medicine you give your kids- is it organic, dye free and homeopathic? “You do know you shouldn’t give kids too many antibiotics.” “There are alternatives to eye drops for treating pink eye.” Then, there are the teachers who blame the parents for letting their kids get them sick. “Keep your kids home if they are sick.” No one intentionally sets out to spread germs. Germs are everywhere and during every season. If I post what we are sick with and show up to a party 3 days later I’ve just branded us as the source of everyone else’s illness.
So what is a mom to do?
- Don’t post every illness to social media. I have been guilty of posting about our second round of pink eye. I administer the drops and release my kids back to school three days later (per doctor’s permission) and suddenly another kid in the class gets pink eye. Now my kids are the target of blame. Really does it matter where the pink eye came from? A kid can get pink eye from a shopping cart, play spaces or a doctor’s office. If your kid gets pink eye identifying the source isn’t going to cure it. Following the doctor’s orders will.
- Use the medicine that works best for your child. If you are not one to follow homeopathic methods because you don’t feel they work for your child, then don’t waste the time or money paying into the guilt of “over medicating” your kid. It is completely OK to seek out the advice of a pharmacist or doctor on which over the counter medications you can safely use to comfort your child through illness.
- You don’t have to rush your child to the doctor for every sniffle. It is OK to use the wait and see approach. Most often that is the response a doctor will give you anyway. You are not neglecting your child if you wait a few more days to see how they are feeling before taking them to the doc’s office. Not only are you saving co-pays, or an extra bill but you are saving your child exposure of additional germs.
- It’s OK to send your kid to school with a runny nose. Every school has a different sick policy. Learn what your school’s policy is and follow it. Typically, it is the rule to be free of a fever and vomit for 24 hours before returning to school. If you have followed the rule and your child is fever and vomit free, but still has a runny nose and a cough with no other symptoms; it’s OK to give them cold medicine and send them to school. If they have the energy to make it through the day and their doc doesn’t see a reason for them to miss any more school. Always have a doctor’s note for their return to school. It won’t save you from judgement, but it will save you from some guilt.
- Disclose your kid’s sickness when necessary. It’s OK to cancel plans or disappoint your kids because they are too sick to attend an event. It might be tempting to send them to school or a party at friends while not recovered 100% to see if they can make it through. This runs the risk of exposing other kids to germs and setting them back a bit in their healing. I promise kids will get over the sadness of missing a birthday party, or a fun play date.
Most importantly, don’t judge another parent’s methods for dealing with their kid’s sickness. Unless you can see definitive proof of neglect there is no reason to suspect a parent isn’t doing everything they need to, to ensure their child’s health.
Instead of lashing out on Facebook about the types of meds a parent administers, or judging a parent for not keeping their kid home long enough; why not offer to help? Would you be willing to bring a meal, some cold supplies like tissues and cough drops? Can you send a get well card, or drop a note saying you are thinking of them? Taking care of a sick kid and balancing the rest of our life is stressful enough; we don’t need to hear someone else spouting their own opinions and standards.
I have the fortune of staying home with my kids on sick days. I understand not every parent has that luxury. When I drop my kid off at school and hear another kid coughing, I don’t think “man, couldn’t their mom keep them home longer?” I think, “Poor kiddo he/she must not feel well.” Then I ask the teacher if she needs any additional supplies for the classroom and I make sure my kids wash their hands. The best way to safeguard my kids during cold season is to worry about what we are doing in our own home to stay healthy. I don’t have the time or the energy to get caught up in how everyone else is living.
The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.
Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy