mother taking her sick daughter's temperature

Sooner or later pretty much any working mom will find herself in this pickle: Her kid is sick and can't go to school ... yet a deadline is looming on a project at work and her boss will kill her if she falls short. She scrambles for a last-minute babysitter but can't find one. Given she's in a jam, she may be tempted to just take her sick kid to work ... yet in the back of her mind, she's wondering if that's career suicide.

"Unfortunately, being a working mom comes with many many challenges, one being backup childcare," says Lainee Beigel, founder of career coaching company CareerEsquire.com. "When your child is sick, it throws off everyone's schedule and is extremely stressful."

And yet, "as much as I would like to say 'yes, a working mom is entitled to bring their child to work if needed,' I don't necessarily agree," Beigel continues. "First, if your child is sick, they want to be in bed, not in an office. Second, people you work with don't like when colleagues come in sick, let alone bring a sick kid. This is just a way to taint your reputation."

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A better solution: Line up a bunch of backup babysitters -- a plan B and C so you're covered. "As I have been in this situation many times, I suggest finding someone you trust and who is around -- local college student, neighbor, or parent -- and have them set aside in your mind as a 'just in case' sitter," says Beigel. Another idea is to talk to your boss about a "one off" work-from-home situation in case of emergencies with the kids. Unless your boss is a monster, he should understand.

In the worst case scenario, "If you can't find a sitter, sometimes taking off is the only option," says Beigel. "It's not a good one but inevitable as a working parent."

Do parents deserve special accommodations to deal with their sick kids?



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