This morning our nanny called to say that her son is sick and she has to stay home with him. I felt bad about being stressed out by this – I should be elated at the chance to spend more time with my daughter – but I was. It’s Monday, I have meetings and calls scheduled, and I was hoping to be super-productive at work this week so that I could leave early on Friday to spend time with my daughter. Change of plans.
This happens to working moms all the time – the nanny is out, your kid is sick, daycare is closed for a snow day. You have to find a way to take care of your child and not lose your mind at the same time. Here are some tips I came up with to help me when this happens to us; I hope they can be useful to you as well.
Check you work calendar right away
As soon as I got off the phone with the nanny, I opened my Outlook and went over my work schedule. Sure I thought I remembered what was going on, but especially after the weekend, it was good to check. In fact, there was a meeting scheduled that I forgot about.
Talk to your husband about splitting the day
I know I am lucky to have a husband who not only sees it as his responsibility to stay home when someone needs to be here with our daughter but that he also has a job that allows him to do this. We quickly talked about our schedules and decided that I’d go into work in the morning and he would go in the afternoon.
Send an email to your boss or colleague to let them know you are out
This seems obvious but there have been plenty of times when I forgot to do it.
Create some work time during the day
Even if I split the day with my husband I need to get some work done when I am at home. I try to find two half-hour chunks of time when my daughter can either watch TV (no, it is not evil!) or play on her own by my side while I type emails or do a quick call. (Yes, this means some baby talk can interrupt a conference call but I try to not worry about that too much.)
Do something fun together
However stressful and hectic, getting a chance to spend extra time with my daughter is great and I try to do something fun with her (as long as she is not the one who is sick and miserable). Go out for pizza, spend some time at the library, make a mess cooking something in the kitchen. You have the time together – enjoy it!