When a Working Mom Gets Sick

When a Working Mom Gets Sick

What happens when you’re a working mom and you get sick? You know how it goes, it’s always the worst timing. You think to yourself, “No! I can’t be sick right now!”

For me it was a few weeks ago. Over the weekend I could tell I was getting a cold and by Monday morning I was not feeling well. Of course it’s a really busy time at work, I had a conference coming up, I had so much I wanted to do.

I decided Monday was my best chance to take a day off, so I took the day off, stayed home, and rested. But, of course, I wasn’t better after just one day. I went back to work, like a good working mom, and continued my week as though I wasn’t sick. By the end of the week, I was getting worried. I wasn’t getting better and I was going to New York the next week. I was really excited about the trip and absolutely didn’t want to be sick.

My friends told me to take Friday off, but of course I felt like I couldn’t.

They were right that I should take care of myself, so in the end I compromised and came home early. I ended up being useless for the whole weekend.  I wasn’t taking care of anyone and felt even more guilty about it than I normally would, because I knew I was going to be out of town the next weekend. So I was willing myself to just get better, because I COULDN’T BE SICK! I finally drove myself over to Urgent Care. My cold had turned into a nasty sinus infection…

The whole experience taught me some lessons that I was trying really hard to ignore.

I thought I needed to keep pushing myself when I really needed to back off. Apparently I needed to read Kristina’s post about being a good mom, not a perfect mom. In trying to fulfill everyone’s expectations, all I did was make the situation worse. I needed to take care of myself.

I guess this is what everyone means when they talk about self-care. It’s realizing that being at work when you’re sick means you won’t get a lot of work done, so it’s okay to take time off. That getting better is probably more important than whatever you thought you were going to do at work that day. That running yourself into the ground will mean it will take you longer to recover. As Gretchen Rubin would say “know thyself” or maybe pay attention to yourself.

If your child was sick and didn’t get better, you would take her to the doctor. Do the same for yourself. Just because you’re a working mom doesn’t mean you have to work all day, every day.

So you tell me, have you ever done this to yourself? What did you learn from it? If you learned you need to rest, Susan has some tips for getting rest here.

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