Thursday, February 25, 2010

Who Should Take Time Off For A Sick Child?

This post really isn't meant to slam anybody in particular. It's also not designed to come across as cocky or arrogant on my part. I'm simply asking a question that, really, deserve an answer or at least some discussion.

Why don't more dads stay at home when their child is sick? I know the "old school" train of thought is to have the woman stay at home with the child. Even with the "new school" thought process, the single mother is expected to stay at home with their sick child while the father works. I've told my ex-wife that if our son is sick that she doesn't have to be the only one taking time off from work to stay home and take care of him. Now when I mentioned to my co-workers the other morning that I had to take a half-day off to take the "afternoon shift", I got a lot of the same reactions:

"Can you convince MY ex to act like that?"

Now, to me, this just seems like the normal thing to do. Just because the marriage is over doesn't mean the parenting partnership all of a sudden has to end, does it?

And the reactions continued when I mentioned on Twitter that I was home from work to hang out with my sick son.

"You are an awesome dad!"

I just don't understand the reaction. Do the single moms out there in the Blogosphere really have only douchebag deadbeat dads to deal with? When both single parents work and the child has to stay home sick, is it primarily the mom who takes time off?

And if it's the case (and it appears to be), then why is that? Why is the dad's job more important than the mom's job? Does the dad EVER take time off from work when the child is sick?

My ex-wife and I have agreed to do a 50/50 split when our son gets sick. Is this realistic expectation? We think that unless there is a major issue or meeting or situation going on at work, this is something we can both agree to…for now, at least.

So what's the deal, kids? Who takes the time off in YOUR situation? Are there any dads out there who are willing to put their kids ahead of their job? Surely I can't be alone here.


The Exception said...

My daughter's dad and I both work - and I have always been the one to take off work to stay with her. he suggests that his schedule doesn't permit his staying home or taking off work. Now, for his marriage, he chooses not to enter our daughter's house so taking care of her at her home with her stuff is not an option for us.

Parents do different things and often I think it is more about them as people over what is best for their children. My daughter's dad is a lawyer who works from home often enough. My career just took a back seat to his. I accepted that because I love my kid and want to be with her and be involved with her. We each make choices - I don't regret mine at all.

The Pipster said...

I always, always take time off if the kids are sick. My ex is a physician and he cannot miss office hours. It's just how it has always been. Fortunately I can work from home if the boys are sick.

TentCamper said...

I suppose my situation is a bit both Mariah and I are currently unemployed...and my ex won't let me see my 2 boys...BUT...with our 4 kids here...even if I worked at the Pentagon...I'd be the first to offer to stay home. Kids should always come first.

Cookie Crums said...

Funny you bring this up.... my husband and I were just having this conversation. He never takes time off to stay home if our child is sick. One part is that I work in the family constuction business... so I can take time off when I need to and not be docked any "sick/vacation" days. BUT, it annoys me that he never asks. His response, "I didn't grow up like that." My response, "I work. Your mom didn't. Her job was staying home with you."

I brought up the whole taking the child to the doctor. Same response... **Eyeroll on my part** Last appt I had to make for our child... I didn't ask. I told him to put it on the calendar and handle it. He did not questions asked.

I love my husband but this is one bone I have to pick with him. He'll do anything I ask.... but I have to ASK. THat just gets annoying at times.

dadshouse said...

My ex and I share 50/50 custody, so we both take turns home with sick kids. But I work from home, so truth be told, there are days when sick kids stay at my house even though their mom has custody.

Does that make me an awesome dad? No. It makes me a parent.

Momma Sunshine said...

My ex and I do a 50/50 split, but because he's a full time student right now with a flexible schedule and I'm working, he seems to more often be the one to "step up to the plate" if one of the kids are sick. I'm very fortunate that he is both willing and able to do that. It's too bad that more dads out there weren't as willing!

Swirl Girl said...

If you and your Ex share all things about parenting 50/50 the way you have agreed to do so when one of your kids is sick...then you are better parents than most divorced - or married couples for that matter!

Good for you !

Momma Sunshine said...

Hm...that raises an interesting point...I wonder if it's the same with married couples - do they tend to split care when the kids are sick, or does that fall more often to the moms???

Meg said...

I always have to take off if my kiddo is sick. My baby daddy lives about 1500 miles away from us. Kinda sucks but nothing else can be done.

You are an awesome dad for doing that!

Hubman said...

Picking up on Momma Sunshine's question, Veronica and I split it, though it's probably tilted towards her more likely to take off work to care for the sick kiddo. That nurturing-mother instinct thing takes over and there's no stopping her!

Now that's not to say that I'm not willing, I certainly am and have, numerous times, but usually when there is *something* at work that prevents Veronica from using sick time.

Always Home and Uncool said...

Even before I shifted to at-home dad status, I used to be the one to take the day off simply because 1) I earned far less than my wife, 2) my wife had a much higher position and room for growth in her company/career and 3) whoo-hoo -- day off! My job also gave me more flexibility because of its nature. You can write and edit at home as well as you can in a cubicle.

Serena from Italy said...

I'm married but I'm the only one who takes days off when my daughter is sick. It simply isn't a problem for him. if I tell him I need to go to work that particular day, he tells me to call his mother, so she can take care of the baby.
Not right, but it is the way it is. It seems that male jobs are more valuable...

Anonymous said...

Unfortunatley I have the situation with a dad that does not go above and beyond to pull his weight when it comes to parenting. He has his four days a month and that's all he does. I am the one that takes the time off of work when my girls are sick.

This week I had two with the flu and he doesnt even call to see how they are let alone take time off from work.

Theresa said...

I just came across this doing some reasearch for a post I'm about to make covering the same issue.

My husband was a SAHD until February when our now 2 y/o finally got a spot in the center we had her on wait list for (before she was born!) - and he rather sadly went back to work.

Now, every time the center calls because she's sick and has to go home, his employer won't allow him unless I'm TDY with my military unit (I'm a reservist). Otherwise, their mentality, not my husband's, is that it's my responsibility as a mother.

It's frustrating to say the least, but he would jeopardize his job otherwise.

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