In the reality that is working life, when your kid is sick, you have few choices other than to stay home.
Daycare won’t take them with a fever. We don’t all have a Nanny or a nearby non-working family member willing to babysit a sick kid.
My place of work frowns on telecommuting (yes, they’re apparently unaware that it’s 2017.)
So when my little one is sick, it is going to cost me. Not just the PTO day if I have any left, but also in reputation.
I’ve been on the other end of it. I know how people chatter. There’s a perception in the workplace that if you have to be out here and there you “seem to be out a lot.” Even if you take a vacation or two, people talk. “Boy, she’s on vacation a lot.”
I’m sure it’s a symptom of the American workaholic culture, but its unfortunate that we equate responsibility towards our kids, or even towards our own needed down time, with irresponsibility toward the workplace.
I’ve seen the buds of change toward this attitude growing in smaller and younger companies. I truly hope it means that larger corporate change will follow.
Women in particular need to be understanding toward their fellow women to make this happen. Frankly, I am tired of the guilt and reputation management. Let me worry about my sick kid (or self) instead.