Work Life: Balancing Work When Your Kid Gets Sick

Balancing Work When Your Kid Gets Sick

We made it through our first year of parenthood without any major sickness, but as soon as we entered the world of toddlerhood things have quickly changed. This led us to figure out the best way to handle balancing work when your kid gets sick.

Let Go Of Guilt

For me, the most important lesson I had to learn regarding working motherhood is how to deal with guilt. Even though I am extremely lucky to work at a flexible company, I still feel guilty. Just like everything else this has gotten better with time. I’ve realized that as long as my work get done I’m the only one who cares, so I let it go.

Come Up With A Plan

When we see a sickness coming on, the first thing we do is check our calendars. More often than not I’m the one staying home on day one. It helps to define upfront which of us has time for the sick hours at our Pediatrician, who has time to run out for medicine and what we both absolutely need to get done so that we can work together.

I’ll start with checking my calendar and mapping out my day. Knowing what I absolutely must get done that day helps so that when I have time I can get working on it as fast as possible. It allows me to get both jobs done, which is what truly matters.

Utilize Your Time

Parenthood in general requires a lot of flexibility, but sickness brings it to another level. On sick days, I’ll typically log-in to work in the early hours before I’m home alone, get done as much as I can during naps and then log back on after bedtime to finish up any outstanding tasks. As long as I can call into any meetings that I can’t reschedule this plan typically helps me stay on top of my work.

Stick To Your Routines

As much as possible we try to continue to stick to our routines. We try to workout and switch off in the morning and make sure our household keeps running like normal. It’s not always possible, but it helps to maintain our sanity when we’re lacking sleep and stressed out. It makes returning to our normal routine much easier.

How do you balance work when things do not go as planned?


  1. Oh girl, you are speaking my language! My son was sick all last week and finally diagnosed with the flu on Friday – when we were mostly done with it! He had a fever all week and couldn’t go to daycare, so we had to do the life shuffle. I have more flexibility than my husband in general, so that means I end up handling a lot of the all-day stuff and he gets home and makes up for lost time with chores and bedtime and relieveing me. Luckily we have family close by who rescued us a couple times, too – I view a sick baby like a newborn: never turn down help. I wouldn’t survive if I didn’t let my people assist when they offer. We have finally turned a corner and seem to be on the mend. Hopefully you are too! ❤️

  2. lungingthroughlife says:

    It’s so hard to manage! It’s typically me calling off because my job is less important so to speak but sometimes my husband has to. I hope he’s feeling better!

  3. I can’t believe you made it a whole year without sickness! I feel like R was sick every month for her first year. She had strep and thrush and ear infections and RSV and the stomach bug… it was crazy. It’s SO hard to be a working mom when you have a sick kid. I generally end up being the one taking off, but thankfully my MIL has come through for us in a pinch also. It’s tough.

  4. Kelly @ Noodle to the Rescue says:

    Yessss, We have been going through the same struggle here with both kids being sick off and on so much the past couple months. My work schedule is much more flexible than my husband’s so I often end up being the one to take off but it’s also my busiest time of year to trying to stay caught up is hard.

    • It is SO hard to stay caught up, that’s what I’m struggling with today. Plus when you’re already exhausted it’s even harder!

  5. Ahh…sick babies are so sad! I hope that he’s feeling better! I work from home, so I can’t really take a day off (I suppose I could, but they still expect me to meet my deadlines), so this winter has been really difficult for us too — Amelia has been sick with two different things for over a month. For me, I had to let go of chores for a while. I’ll keep up with laundry and dishes, but deep cleaning just doesn’t happen for a while when the baby’s sick. I also try to rest as much as I can and go to bed earlier so I have more energy for everything during the day.

    • I definitely try to keep my expectations low and take care of myself when I take care of my sick kid as well. I feel you on the deadlines, it’s so hard to play catch-up, especially because you usually feel much less refreshed and run down already when you’re back at it!

  6. Hi there! These all seem like great ways to handle things and get it all done. Even if you don’t seem like “Supermom” let me tell you that you look like one!

  7. That’s impressive that you avoided major sicknesses in the first year! Our first year was awful with sicknesses and the second hasn’t been any better. I think we’ve been to the ER like 4 times with C already? A little more than I imagined in two years time!

    These are great tips. I need to work better on sticking to our routine when C is sick. I usually let everything go and just let her be but the more time we spend doing nothing at home, the crankier she gets.

    • It’s been hard to stick to our regular routine and his naps are all off, so hopefully we will get back to normal by the end of the week!

  8. Polyglot Jot says:

    Hope he feels better!! 🙁 I am nervous about this because I do not have a flexible schedule.

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