There’s a bit of a traditional role reversal at my house - I work from home and my wife works outside the home. It’s a big change after I spent years heading off to a job while she stayed home with our children. It’s a great experience in many ways, but today I’m reminded of how much stay-at-home parents do. My youngest son woke up sick this morning and it’s been a bit challenging trying to work while taking care of him.
I must admit, my sick son is 12, but I’m treating him like he’s 2. “Do you need anything?” “Want to try a couple of crackers?” “Can I get you anything?” All those “sick kid” questions keep on spewing out of my mouth, as I try to make sure his every health need is addressed. He’s already told me to leave him alone. I checked up on him while he watches a movie and did a quick search on WebMD to make sure I’m not missing any symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - or worse.
Even after all these years as a parent, I am still genuinely worried that I’ll do something wrong.
Adapting to being the caregiver while working from home hasn’t been easy for me and today is a prime example. My office is in the basement and my son’s room is on the second floor of the house. So, I’ve been going up and down two flights of stairs a few times an hour to see how he’s feeling. He’s been sleeping most of the morning, so all I have to do is check to make sure he doesn’t have a fever. And I always double check to see if he’s still breathing, which is something I’ve worried about since the night we brought home our first born. I really miss baby monitors today. I’d save a lot of running up and down stairs with one of those. But the flip side is that I am burning more calories than on a regular workday, so I’ve got that going for me.
It’s tough on parents when our kid is home sick. No matter their age, we still see our child a helpless infant. And we wish we could just wave our hands and make it all better, no matter how minor the illness. I’ve felt that way every time one of my kids has been sick. But I consider myself lucky – I’m home with my kids when they don’t feel so hot. Right around the corner, just in case they need dear old Dad.