Monday rolled around and I was ready to go. I showered early, fired up computer and pulled in all my email before my daughter's alarm went off at 7:00 a.m. As I was making her breakfast, my thoughts were focused on all work I was going to accomplish that week. Then she stumbled into kitchen with her announcement:
"Mommy, I don't feel too good."
Sure enough, she was running a slight fever. There was no way she could go to school that day - and my game plan for week was going to have to be changed.
For me, biggest benefit of becoming a work at home mom is ability to take a sick kid in stride. With no boss to answer to, or co-workers to feel guilty about - and my office right here in my home - a little fever is no longer a reason to declare marital war (as it was in bad old days when my husband and I fought over which one was going to stay home this time).
However, work at home parents do have to make adjustments when their kids take a sick day - and during flu and cold season, there could be a lot of those - especially if you have more than one child and they catch bug serially.
You know it's going to happen - so you need to be prepared:
* Got cold medication? Check your supply of children's pain relievers (i.e., Tylenol, Motrin, etc.) Buy lots of it before flu season starts. You'll know it's time when you see coupons in Sunday paper. Either use them - or take that as your cue to buy in bulk at your favorite warehouse store.
Many pediatricians advise against giving multi-symptom cold medications (you know - ones that promise to lower a fever, relieve a stuffy nose *and* suppress a cough). Ask your doctor his or her recommendation for your children at their annual checkups, including correct dosages (which will change as they grow). Write it down and keep it with your stash of medicine. You won't believe how easy it is to forget this months later when you actually need it!
* You probably already keep fridge stocked with snack foods your kids can get for themselves (it does not take a work at home parent long to realize that this is essential with children around!) You may need to supplement your pantry with additional comfort foods. If they are old enough to stay home alone while you go shopping, do it as soon as possible. Make sure you include a variety of juices -- as doctors say, their sick little bodies need plenty of fluids.
If your kids are little - and you are unlucky enough to have bug hit when cupboard is bare - you may need outside help. This is a good time for a neighbor or friend to repay a kindness and pick up a few things at store. And instead of taking time from work to make lunch, you all might enjoy having a pizza delivered.
This is when I used to rely on late, lamented Webvan to bring some groceries. Although that big flashy online grocery service died spectacularly last year, you may still be able to find one that will deliver to your home. A quick look on a search engine turned up these: