When your child is sick, what do you do?

I’m sitting at home today feeling guilty — guilty because I’m missing a busy day at work as we finish December’s issue and guilty because I feel guilty for putting my kids first. The reason I’m home is probably a pretty common one for moms and dads these days — a need to get my daughter to the doctor. Arlee has asthma that is generally pretty controlled, but when she’s very active, she struggles to breathe. Lately, though, the struggles are getting harder for her and scarier for both of us.

I’m lucky I work for a company that always puts family first, no questions asked, a policy for which I will always be thankful. But I’ve had jobs in the past that would refuse to let me have the time off even though I put in way more hours than required every week. It was the one area where my husband and I would argue as soon as the fever rose: Who is going to stay home?

So sitting here today waiting for the appointment, I’m thinking a lot about parents who are literally between a rock and a hard place when their kids are sick. How do they decide between their child and work? Of course they want and need to be home with their child, but are compelled to work.

I wonder, what can and should other businesses do to help parents with sick kids? How do you decide what to do when your child is sick if you work for one of those unfriendly companies?

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