Working Woes

Posted on | July 20, 2011 | 18 Comments

My son has reactive airway disease.

This is a nice way of saying he probably has asthma but they don’t want to put it on his chart in case, by some miracle, he out grows it. This “diagnosis” has several fun side effects: (1) the rate for insurance on J alone is astronomical thanks to several emergency room visits; (2) I constantly miss work; and (3) The majority of my “spending money” for the month goes to Dr. Bob and his $35 co-pay.

I don’t quite know what to do about it, to be honest. I know that I should find a go-to nanny/babysitter who can step in at the last minute to keep J when he’s too sick for daycare. I know that I should let someone help me take care of him so that I can be at work and be attentive to the cases and clients who are depending on me.

I know all of that.

But what I don’t know is how to explain to J that those clients and their needs are more important than him and his needs. When he is sick, he wants me there. He doesn’t want to go to daycare. He doesn’t want to have a babysitter… he wants me. He wants to snuggle next to me on the sofa, tucking his blond curls into the crook of my arm. He wants to have me read him chapters of Winnie the Pooh and Charlotte’s Web.

And to be honest? I want to be here, too. I don’t want to be in my office, handling phone calls and emails and writing briefs. I want to be here, snuggled on the sofa with my son, telling him stories and sharing warm chocolate chip cookies as a “treat” for being sick.

I don’t want to lose my job. I think I’m a damn good attorney and I think I’m a better mother as a working mother than I would be as a stay at home mom. I want to work… just not when he needs me. And I don’t know how to make all of this work with the type of work I do. I am at my wits end.

My son needs me.

My job needs me.

And I am stuck in the middle, not knowing the right answer for anything.


18 Responses to “Working Woes”

  1. melissa
    July 20th, 2011 @ 12:55 pm

    ugh – i went through this all year – back at work as a teacher and with J in daycare, she ha her bouts of illness this year and i just couldn’t take off that many days from work. so i had to deal with other people (husband, my mom, friends) comforting my sick baby. it sucked. i don’t know if that makes you feel better – but just know you’re not alone in all those feelings.

  2. Katherine
    July 20th, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

    As a working mama, this is so, so hard. 2 winters ago Rylee was SUPER sick w/ swine flue, pneumonia, RSV, croup…basically you name it and she got it all within a 6 month period. When I was at work, I was worrying about my kid, when I was home with my kid I was worrying about my work.

    I have no cure-all advice or anything, this is just a comment to let you know you are so not alone in feeling this way. I hope Jude feels better soon. hugs Mama.

  3. "Cookie"
    July 20th, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

    I don’t think there is a “right” answer. You’re just doing what a mother should do. Question… maybe instead of leaving him with a sitter all day when he’s sick, leave him for 1/2 a day? You could still handle “hot” items and get to spend 1/2 the day with him. Just my 2 cents. My son has food allergies and it’s something we’re hoping & praying he outgrows. Maybe he will outgrow his allergies and J will outgrow his asthma.

  4. Chunky Mama
    July 20th, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

    I understand wanting to be home when your child is sick. I’m lucky enough to have a husband who is home on my workdays, but it still kills me to be at my desk when I feel like I should be home snuggling my kids.

    My only suggestion is the nanny approach that you mentioned. If you find someone J can learn to love and trust completely, then she will certainly become a comforting and loving stand-in when you can’t be home. Not mom, but darn good substitute.

  5. R's Mom
    July 20th, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

    So, so sorry that J is sick. Given that it looks like this is becoming a chronic thing, I have two thoughts…one about him and one about you.

    First, you might consider taking him to a pediatric pulmonologist or allergist. They are used to seeing these types of asthma-related problems, and might be able to get J better controlled than his pediatrician. That, in the long run, may lead to a healthier J and less missed work for you.

    As for the backup babysitter, I know you want to be there for J, but realistically, you can’t sacrifice your job. As to how you “explain” it — your clients aren’t more important than J, but you need to have a job to support J. So along with that comes needing a backup babysitter. If you are like me, you need to work — it’s not just a choice of whether I would like to go to work or like to stay home. At the end of the day, you are working for J’s benefit — to have food and clothing and health insurance, etc. So hiring a backup babysitter isn’t a commentary on the importance of work v. the importance of your son — it’s a reflection of being a grownup and having to do some things that aren’t ideal. Also, from a practical perspective, it would probably be good to have a backup person lined up in general. You can’t do everything alone, and there are going to be times when you need to have someone in your area that you can call to help given you a small bit of flexibility in your life — whether its covering on a sickday for J or having a bit of flexibility on a random weekend day when you have something that HAS to get done.
    Good luck, and I hope J feels better soon!

  6. Mom on a Line
    July 20th, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

    I know what you are feeling. I hate having to go to work when my kids are home sick and want me. I have had numerous days where I’ve even had to leave my daughter in the hospital (with her dad or another family member) and she cried her eyes out because she just wanted mommy, but I had to work. Because my daughter is sick so often, since both of my kids were very little, they’ve been told that mommy has to go to work to help all of us. I don’t go to work because my clients are more important than them (my children). I go to work because I need to be able provide health insurance, money, stability, a house, food, toys. I’ve told both of my kids this for years even though they are 3 and almost 5. They don’t like it, but they are starting to understand. Granted, none of that helps me get over my desire to be the one home taking care of them. {{{hugs}}}

  7. Elizabeth
    July 20th, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

    Never forget that one of the ways you love J is by providing for him and work is how you do that. Of course you’d rather be with him. But love requires sacrifice and so your working is a sacrifice. It’s not an either/or situation. Love isn’t just about cuddles and band-aids, it’s also about providing co-pays and electrical bills. And yeah, you need to find a back up Nanny type. See if there are any stay at home Moms in your area/church who are wanting a way to make some extra cash without actually getting a job. Perhaps they could pinch hit for you at a reasonable rate.

  8. IdahoGirl
    July 20th, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

    I didn’t read the other responses – so I don’t know if someone suggested this…

    I have this same issue as a working Mom. My son has similar issues and we’re at the doctor all the time. And, being that my husband, who should be my “go to” when the kids are sick and I need help works nights and has a different working environment and different sort of boss, I can’t really rely on him.

    It sucks, BIGTIME.

    My family doesn’t live in the same state I do, but my in-laws do. I use my MIL to help out all the time.

    Now that you’re back in Macon, do your parents live locally, would they be able to help out?

    If not, it is time to find a go to nanny, as emotionally painful as that is. And I know from personal experience it’s almost tougher on Mama than it is on the kids. Once you find someone that J likes, he’ll adjust.


    Hang in there!

  9. Joy
    July 20th, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

    Sorry I don’t have any advice for you, but I can tell you from experience that sometimes kids outgrow asthma. I was born with it and it went away when I was 6 yrs old and didn’t return until I was 18. Hope your lil fella feels better soon.

  10. Maggie
    July 20th, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

    Oh I’ve been there. Working and dealing with sick kids is so damned hard. Both my son and daughter were in daycare and both of them spent the first 8 months or so of daycare randomly sick. My husband has never had a job that has had sufficient sick time or flexibility for him to leave work when we got the calls from daycare or those random middle of the night illnesses so it was all on me. I can’t afford to lose my job as I am the primary bread winner, so it was ugly for a time. I’m afraid I don’t have very good advice. I spend more time than is good working after my kids go to bed and catching up on the week-ends. I have an understanding boss, but there are limits. If we could have afforded a FT nanny I would have done that in a heartbeat just to have someone there even when my kids were sick. Man the working parent thing can be a bear.

  11. Momalegal
    July 20th, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

    Yep, like all the others, I’ve been there too. If it’s any consolation, my kiddo was the same his first 2 years: wheezing, coughing, congestion, croup. As I knock on wood, I dare say he seems to be outgrowing his asthma. He was on a preventative dose of steroid inhaler every day, until last year. (He’s 3) He hasn’t needed it on a regular basis since then. He sometimes still wheezes a little when he gets a cold, which is getting less frequent, but it’s manageable.

    I know it’s hard now. I agree with the recommendation for a pediatric allergist. It sucked having to give him his nebulizer and eventually inhaler every night, but it did help with the frequent wheezing & coughing. Hang in there, it does get better!

  12. Anthony from CharismaticKid
    July 20th, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

    I find children that have to deal with things like this at a young age usually grow up more mature and readily able to tackle issues as they grow older.

    Listen… EVERYONE has issues they have to deal with. I had intense ADHD as a child.. I was off the freakin’ walls. I took hours to finish exams in high school, way longer than everyone else in the class.

    Other people have diabetes at a young age. Some people have heart problems. Your child has asthma, something that people usually grow out of.

    Without something in your kid’s life to make things “real” for him, he won’t ever learn how to deal with things on his own.

    There’s always a positive to a situation.

  13. pinkflipflops
    July 20th, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

    ((((((())))) hope he feels better soon.

  14. Jennifer
    July 20th, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

    This is the problem for all working mothers. You need/want to be in two places at once, and it just isn’t possible. The sad thing is that there is no right answer. You have to find a job that is understanding of your needs and trust that you have a daycare/babysitter that can care for your son. After that just swallow the guilt and do the best you can do. That’s what the rest of us do.

  15. Delia
    July 20th, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

    I don’t think there is a working mom out there who wouldn’t feel the way you do. The mommy guilt sucks, but in the end, I still have to work. Because I need a paycheck to pay for the days they DO go to daycare. I agree – find a good sitter and work them in so that the relationship grows. I know if I’m around DS wants me, but when I’m not there…he is perfectly ok with my husband, my mom, my sister or a friend. I’m sure J will be the same way. Yes he wants YOU, but I’m sure he will be ok with someone he trusts and someone who loves him.

  16. Krystal D
    July 20th, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

    Hey! If I were you I would take J to an allergist. My daughter suffered from the same symptoms and the doctors told me it was asthma and a lung infection. Put her on puffers when she was 6 months old. I took her to an allergist and found out she is allergic to corn and wheat and this is what was causing her runny nose,coughing, wheezing,shortness of breath etc. I stopped eating it as well as her (because I am nursing) and she hasn’t been sick since! I tried eating it again one weekend to see what would happen and by Sunday night she was wheezy again so I cut it out altogether. Perhaps instead of all the meds and doctor visits you could check into this as well. Never hurts to investigate! Hope he feels better soon! 🙂

  17. HonestConvoGal
    July 22nd, 2011 @ 7:51 pm

    One laywer mama to another, and one reactive airway kid to another, all you can do is put one foot in front of the other. I once had lunch with a chick judge who gave me some advice I’ll pass along to you. I’ve been at this law gig 11 years now and it’s proven true. You will have days where you’re the best mom in the world. You will have days where you’re the best lawyer in the world. They’ll seldom be on the same day. The trick is to let go of the idead that they have to be. The boys do.

    Be well. –Amy

  18. Good Reads From Other Working Mommas - Liberating Working Moms
    July 28th, 2011 @ 9:39 am

    […] Milk: Lawmomma wrote about Working Woes and the feeling of being pulled in many directions when her son is sick and needs her just as much […]

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