This plus that equals…. sick days
Here’s the latest instalment in my series of posts all about what makes our lives here at home tick. This week is all about how I managed being ill, how I felt and all the guilt.
Sick Days as a Mum
Any parent out there knows that you feeling ill is hardly a priority. Kids still need to be fed, watered, entertained and taken where they need to be taken.
You have to do that whether you are ill or not. What that means in reality is you don’t get time to rest and feel better. Kids are babysat by the TV and snacks. Tempers fray all round.
I’m lucky and have family nearby as well as supportive friends. So when I could no longer pretend I was OK I had help to call in. Help I felt dreadful for calling. What if I passed on my illness? They would have to drive miles. I would be missing out on time with my son, which I hate doing.
On the flip side if I kept L home he may well have caught tonsillitis, he would have been bored, I would have never got better and his grandparents were really happy to get some extra time with him.
Sick Days as a Working Parent
Well here comes even more guilt. I’m fully aware that at work I am the only one who can’t pick up shifts to help out when it’s needed. I am also fully aware that I am the one always asking for favours, can I change my hours because he’s starting school? Can I have some more holiday booked for whatever event is coming up? That is not helped by being a blogger as well.
I am also aware that my sick days are not necessarily just for me. I am in the lowest paid, least important and most flexible working position. This means that whenever L is sick I am also having to take time off. Oh and to top it all off I don’t get sick pay, so there is a financial worry as well. I don’t work for the fun of it. I work for the money.
So when I am ill, what do I do? Well I feel guilty, that’s what I do! I had to take time off for tonsillitis. Of course I did. I couldn’t swallow without wanting to cry, I was running a fever and I was infectious. I would have never got through the day. I know my manager is aware that I would never take the piss and come in when I shouldn’t and help whenever I can, but I still felt awful. I let my team down. I was the cause for two people not getting their days off. This month’s pay day will look atrocious as well.
Sick Days as a Blogger
Normally it’s not a major deal for me as I tend to be a week ahead at least. So if I feel a bit under the weather, friends want to pop over or I want to go out, a day off writing isn’t a big deal.
This time round I got ill literally the day after we got home from Bluestone, so I wasn’t ahead. Not at all. I also had a review trip planned with Greater Anglia to Ely for Father’s Day the very next day.
Writing is something I can do as and when I please but if a PR, especially the lovely Kerri, has gone to a lot of effort to arrange something for me then I don’t just want to not attend.
So Friday night after a day of travelling from Wales to Home I went to bed, right as rain. Saturday morning I woke up feeling like a train had hit me. I was supposed to start work at 2pm for some overtime. Cancelled that and went in at 4pm for my 3hr shift.
My manager, who is also a great friend of mine, looked at me and asked what I was playing at. But I explained I had a day out planned the next day that would be plastered over social media, such is my job, and I didn’t want it to look like I was skiving or make her life difficult at all. She got it.
We went out to Ely and had a lovely day, I felt awful. You will find very few pictures of me. The ones you do find, well I have filtered the shit out of them!
Sick Days as a Wife
As well as being a mum, employee and blogger I am also a wife. Part of a partnership. If one person in a partnership is out of action that then puts a lot of extra strain upon the other person.
Now I’m pretty good at handling shizzle when husb is ill. I look after him, keep the kid out of his hair, handle the housework and make sure everyone is looked after.
Thankfully I am not ill as often as he is, thank god, because you would think the world had ended. He is invariably pretty awful when I’m ill. He does not handle the extra strain well and as the only other adult in the house, despite being ill I take the brunt of it. He has a stressful job and at the moment it is more stressful than usual. It takes a lot out of him and timing wise me being ill was shocking. Not something I chose, granted, but I could have timed it better.
All the nursery runs still fell to me, even ones he said he’d do, because he was unable to leave the office. Now I get that he is under a lot of strain, I really do, but if the roles had been reversed he wouldn’t have been left in the same situation I was. I would have done the nursery runs and worked into the night. I would have chosen a different order of importance.
Sick Days as a Person
I really, genuinely believe there is a lot that could be done to improve the situation for a lot of people.
I don’t think you should have to choose between your health and your financial stability. I get why employers don’t offer sick pay as standard, a lot of people do take the piss sadly. I’ve worked with people in the past who treated the 8 sick days you could take before the absence process was triggered as part of their holiday entitlement. But for people like me, who work hard, having to be as ill as I was and worrying about not going in as it wouldn’t be paid is horrible.
I also think that self employed rights could be improved, though that would be very hard. Very hard indeed, I wouldn’t even begin to know how to implement something like that.
I think that we need to take more responsibility for our own health, be louder in asking for what we need and firmer on ourselves about pushing too hard. I am under no illusions that I had spread myself too thinly and that I needed to be a lot crosser with my husband when he didn’t help. He would argue black is blue that he pulled his weight and did nothing to make me feel guilty, and I couldn’t deal with that argument. I should have doe though. I should have told him that we come first. That a nursery run wasn’t asking much and his words and actions did make me feel guilty, so if he didn’t intend them too he needs to think about why they did.
I also should have gone to the doctors sooner but that’s not easy, I waited until Monday. Because they were closed Saturday and Sunday. I had to beg for an appointment, as I was there, in front of them and in pain. Thankfully the prescribing nurse at the practise agreed to see me before her first appointment. If she hadn’t I would have to have sat and waited, potentially for hours. I had to fit this around a child. Our healthcare service is brilliant, but getting an appointment can be incredibly difficult.
Any way, I’m very glad to be feeling better now. Even happier I was feeling better in time for the weekend so I got to see the Foo Fighters, even if the singing hurt my freshly healed tonsils!
Finally, I’m linking up with #TwinklyTuesday, #Blogstravaganza, #StayClassyMama and #fortheloveofBLOG