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How to Drop Your Sick Kid off at Day Care ...

If you read that title and thought, Oh, I could never do that! It’s so irresponsible! Just stay home!, then this chapter is not for you. Move along, princess.

Enjoy your supportive husband or your family nearby or your boss that lets you work from home, or your own money, or whatever it is you have that allows you to react to a working mom’s dilemma with such horror.


If you lose your job because you stayed home with your sick kid, terrible things will happen.

Is she gone? Good. It’s time to discuss the only parenting topic more taboo than incest: taking your sick kid to daycare.

Let’s set the table properly so all concerned can understand what’s at stake: You have a job. You can’t stay home to care for your daughter, and no one else is available either. Yes, you are aware that if you bring her to daycare, she’s going to get another kid sick. Well, you can’t think about that right now. Eyes on the prize: You have a job.

For now.

RELATED: The Truth Behind Common Sick Myths

If you lose your job because you stayed home with your sick kid, terrible things will happen. You will fall back on your rent or mortgage, and you will be evicted. You and your child(ren) will be thrown onto the streets, in this economy. To pay for the seedy hotel that you now call home, you will sell your body. You will strut all over your corner (yes, you will secure a corner) and lean into car windows ...

And where are the kids during all this debauchery? If you couldn’t leave them home alone when you had a good job, you certainly can’t do it now. The kids are in your car, counting your money. For now, they don’t know how you earn it. All they know is: Mommy goes for a ride, then Mommy brings back $35. Ten or twenty times a day. “Well,” you tell yourself, “at least they’re getting good at math.”

OK, this may not be exactly how things play out, but it’s what you have to tell yourself to stay focused.

The Nuts and Bolts of a Sick Kid Day Care Drop-Off

1. Never bring your kid to school if she has a fever.

2. Correction: Never bring your kid to daycare if you know she has a fever, which is why you should never take your child’s temperature, especially if she feels hot. The less you know, the less you have to lie about.

3. Teachers can tell when you’re lying. Like cops, they hear the same bullshit over and over again. If the teacher asks point-blank if your daughter has a fever, you can’t say no when the answer is yes without tipping her off. However, you can look her in the eyes and say, “Not that I know of.” Because it’s true. Information is your enemy.

RELATED: How to Care for a Sick Child

4. Drop her off during a busy time, like at 8 a.m. Get lost in the herd of moms dropping off their healthy-for-now kids. Then run. Try to be in your car before your kid coughs.

5. Teach your child how to cough into her elbow. The less your kid coughs on others, the less likely the teacher is to call you at work.

6. Teach her how to say, “I have allergies.” If she’s particularly articulate: “year-round allergies.”

7. If the teacher does call you at work, don’t pick up the phone. Better yet, leave the phone in the car. How can you feel guilty about missing a call if you don’t have your phone with you? Remember: Information is your enemy.

8. Don’t return a call from daycare until the second voice mail. If your kid is really sick, they will leave multiple messages.

9. If you have to pick up your kid, wait until the end of the day. Pick her up an hour earlier than normal. You’ll still get there before closing time, but you won’t be leaving work too early.

RELATED: The Dirt on Germs

10.You work when you’re sick—most people do. It’s the new America. And how can we compete in a global economy if our kids stay home every time they have a “cold” or “strep throat”? Take your sick kid to daycare. For yourself. For America.

Remember: Your kid got sick from some other Sh*tty Mom’s sick kid. Why should you be a hero and stop the virus in its tracks? Pay it forward.

Reprinted from Sh*tty Mom, by Mary Ann Zoellner, Alicia Ybarbo, Karen Moline and Laurie Kilmartin

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