I remember turning up for his first day and being shocked at how many lotions and potions were kept in the medicine cabinet locked away. Each labeled with a different child’s name and instructions.

How are these children able to attend daycares if they are so sick, is what I thought to myself. I was enraged. Their children would be affecting my child in being allowed to attend whilst obviously still riddled with bugs.

Sure enough, Week 2 later saw Brodie come down with his first sickness bug and I had to collect him from daycare and was not allowed back until his temp was normal for 24 hours. That could mean he is away for 2 to 3 days.  As the weeks went on, I started to also realise my initial naivety. Brodie came down with every bug going – at one point every week for a straight 8 weeks we got phone-calls from day-care for some thing or another…vomiting, diarrhoea, chesty coughs, green snotty noses…but, oh my goodness, I had work…I couldn’t keep taking time off like this, and work was starting to get upset with me taking this time off.

It became a case of hard negotiation with my husband. On a typical day, the mobile would ring (by that point I knew the number by heart), on taking the call and establishing the cause of this particular reason to have to pick Brodie, I would then call my husband and we would negotiate based on whose day at work was the most important, then I would collect him (I was closest to the centre), go home and wait for my husband to turn up then go back  to work and work back to catch up on the time I missed out on.

Every call from day-care resulted in a similar conversation with the centre and then with my hubbie. I realised why stressed-out parents would ‘pretend’ their child was better and force them to go back earlier than perhaps they would be ready.

Years later I am still in the same position. When your child is sick all they want is for you to nurture them, to hold them and comfort them. And you want to do that too. But, if you are working or juggling other commitments then you need to do some serious reorganising too.

Last week, Brodie was sick again. This time he was 6 years old (not 6 months) but he was pale, eyes sunken, washed out, feverish, vomiting and just wanting to be cuddled by me. He ended up 3 days off school. Hubbie took Day one off and stayed at home and was able to reorganise his work to the following day. I took Day two (I got the better end of the bargain as the vomiting had stopped by then). I was lucky enough that technology allowed me to  do much of my work from home. By Day 4 he was better and able to return to school. We were lucky – it was just a bug and only lasted a couple of days. But it is a juggle and I know many a parent who had forced their sick child back to school probably earlier than they should have because of busy lives. Working full time and having children is hard work. You end up annoying either your work, your husbands work or the school by trying to do right by all. And meanwhile you are stressed out!

Then you have more children to add to the jugging act!

So, these are the rules:

1. Sickness and diarrhea mean a child should not come into contact with other people for at least 24 hours from their last bout of illness.
2. Green snot means they have an infection – keep them at home.
3. Chesty coughs are contagious for the first 48hrs.
4. Teach your child to cover their mouths after coughing (cough into arms), to sneeze into hankies and tissues – not into hands, to wash their hands regularly.
5. Wipe down and disinfect surfaces, phones, door handles and any other regularly touched surfaces as often as possible.

I applaud all parents that work full time and have children, it is not an easy juggling act!

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