The WAHM and the Sick Kid

Remember when you were in your 20s and had that first job that allowed you to really get to know all the kinds of co-workers that exist in the world?

You know who I mean:

–       The one that is always maniacally chipper
–       The one that complains about everything always
–       The hypochondriac
–       The one who plays her radio WAY too loud
–       The one that insists on telling you every. Single. Detail. About her lunch/weekend/plans for the afternoon
–       The one who meticulously labels his food in the fridge and freaks the freak out if someone moves it because now it is ruined forever
–       The one with terrible PMS
–       The one who thinks he can discreetly cough up phlegm (he can’t)
–       The one who kisses his boss’s ass to get what he wants
–       The one who is an asshole to the boss but somehow never gets fired
–       The one who loves candy
–       The one who is a very loud and close talker
–       The one who forgets to wash her hands after using the bathroom
–       The one who always leaves the counter by the coffee pot messy
–       The one who takes all the credit and does none of the work
–       The one who you never quite understand so just nod your head and mutter “Mm-hm” to when she seems to need a response from you

Well, working from home when your kid is home sick from school is like having each and every one of them crammed into your tiny home office with you.

All at the same time.

The only main differences are that you love this person unconditionally and you can put her in her bedroom for a Time Out if things get too annoying.

My daughter is feverish enough that she can’t go to school, but not sick enough to be snoozy on the couch or silent at all ever.

This is rather inconvenient, since I work at home.

My work days when my first grader is home sick go something like this:

–       Discover her on the couch watching TV at 7am, because she’s sick and no House Rules seem to apply to her
–       Bring her brother to school while she stays on the couch while my husband showers for work at his gloriously silent office elsewhere
–       Come home and immediately assemble a complicated LEGO town because she missed me while I was not home for 17 minutes, as my husband dashes out the door
–       Take her temperature
–       Get ice cold water – “No, Mama, COLDER! MY THROATS HURTS SO MUCH!” [Child dramatically falls onto couch with arm over her eyes]
–       Rent her any movie she wants so I can do my conference call in peace
–       Hit “Mute” on my conference call 4x while doing the hand-waving threatening-eyes thing to tell her I’ll do whatever she wants if she just stops. Interrupting. This. Call. With her Outdoor Voice.
–       Sew a puppy pillow from scratch, even though I don’t sew.
–       Make a complicated lunch that includes purple homemade cake, frozen GoGurts, and mini bagels
–       Pull out every last craft I can find from my hidden stash so I can do the 4 things my boss told me to do while on the conference call this morning
–       Get asked with the sweetest voice ever 379,000 times to help with various parts of said crafts, despite the fact that the kid can likely do it all on her own
–       Drink 7 cups of coffee and self-medicate with Nutter Butters
–       Rent her another movie about some sparkly pink girl with a horse who meets some guy who (shocker!) happens to be a prince
–       Notice that the first floor of my house has exploded in craft supplies, tissues, random scraps of paper, and every dish we ever owned, and run to my office upstairs in denial
–       Try to rearrange an entire week’s schedule because there’s no telling when she’ll be back in school
–       Bang head against desk when she strolls into my office declaring, “Mama? I’m bored.”

Each and every annoying ex-fellow-employee surfaces in her behavior throughout the day, giving me horrible flashbacks, melting my brain with exhaustion, and murdering the quality of my work.

(Mind you, before I had a paying job, my home-sick kids were still just as interruptive as I tried to get anything done around the house as a SAHM…so. Yeah. That.)

By the time my husband gets home I look like I’ve run a marathon then rolled in glitter and fed only on defeated souls for the past 12 hours.

Yes, I am lucky to have a job I really like that I can do from home, and a delightful child, but…can you please pass the Nutter Butters? It looks like I may be here for a while.

The WAHM and the Sick Kid by Kim Bongiorno

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