by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated
When my youngest climbed out of bed Tuesday morning, he was all giggles. Once I flipped on the light, I was surprised to see that his eyes were red and runny. I immediately started running over my plans for the day, which I knew were about to be changed. No childcare or playgroup, and I’d have to squeeze a trip to the doctor in somewhere.
Sick days and snow days strike us all. If you’re one of the lucky ones, they are few and far between. Still, the stress of a sudden change of plans can be lessened, or even disappear altogether, if we put a plan in place for the unexpected.
As work-at-home moms, we have to consider the possibility that we may be called on to care for our children in a pinch. Part of the flexibility of working from home means that our spouses may depend on us as an emergency back-up plan. It is best to come up with a family plan for these situations ahead of time. Does your spouse expect you to care for the kids every time an unexpected situation arises, or can you share the responsibility?
If you know it will be up to you to make alternate arrangements, try to plan for these situations when you are negotiating project deadlines with your boss or client. Adding a little “fluff” to your timing will allow you to breathe easier if you have to spend an afternoon in the doctor’s office, instead of at your desk.
Have a Backup for Your Backup
Your mom usually takes the kids when they are sick, but today she has plans. Turn to plan B. Investigate some alternate options before hand. Try forming a group of willing mothers in your neighborhood to share snow day responsibilities, or look for a flexible daycare program in your community.
When All Else Fails, Keep the Kids at Home
Prepare some activities for your children ahead of time. We keep a rainy day box with some books, art supplies, and small toys. The rainy day box becomes an exciting event when the kids only see it occasionally. Make sure they can safely enjoy the activities on their own, and you will get some work done while they play.
If you know there is severe weather on the way, check out a movie and some books for the kids from your local library. You may not be quite as productive as usual, but you can prevent yourself from falling too far behind.