As someone who works from home, one of the first things most moms say to me upon finding out what I do is something to the effect of, “Oh mah gawd – that must be soooo nice. I wouldn’t have to use my vacation time because little Jimmie is sick with the public school plague. Daycare won’t keep them when they’re sick, you know…”
Yeah, I know. I won’t tell you about my general disdain for daycare. Instead, I’ll give you the ugly truth about working from home. There’s no such thing as paid sick leave. There’s no such thing as paid time off. There is no paid vacation.
If you do not work, you do not make money. It doesn’t matter if little Jimmie is home with the plague or if he gave the plague to you (or better yet – you’re both sick at the same time). There is no such thing as paid time off when you are self-employed.
Yessssss, I know you’re thinking about how I must be dramatizing this because clearly you could just work around whenever your child is sleeping. That’s cool. If you’ve spent the entire night changing sheets, rocking your child, or whatever you’ve had to do for them all night, you won’t want to do much during the day. And if you’re awake with them during the day (which you damn well better be) because they are sick, you’re going to be wiped out by the time they fall asleep. Oh, and there’s something that I guess changes the smell of the air when you do try to work…because guess what? They just know. Then, they are awake and sick again. Or not sick but just want your undivided attention.
Working from home is seen by many parents as a problem solver. No need for daycare. No need for this or that. Do what you want, when you want. Most people have to learn the hard way when their kid has the flu…and then they catch it from their kid. There is no such thing as paid time off.
And most people cannot and do not have the energy to make up for the missed work when everyone feels better. It’s just not that simple. This is real life. Oh, and I wrote this from the relative comfort of my bed…where I am sick…and working. Again. (Because public school aged children are petri dishes of festering germs.) Upper respiratory bullshit and cardiovascular problems just don’t mix.