[twitter]I’m sitting on one end of the couch with my laptop cracked open while my 5 yr old son, Charlie, is at the other end deeply involved in an episode of Arthur.
This will be my day. I don’t usually get to see any Arthur in the mornings, I’m out the door before 8am to head to work. But not this morning.
Instead of grabbing my keys at 745, I grabbed my phone and called my boss to tell him I had a sick kid and needed to stay home.
And the parenting guilt washed over me.
Parenting guilt often happens when you leave the kids to go to work. Mine works the other way. I feel guilt leaving work to be with the kids.
And I feel guilty for it.
I hate calling in sick. For the first nearly 20 yrs of my career, I could count on one hand the number of times I had missed work. Now, with school aged kids? It seems I’m bailing on my responsibility every few months.
Having kids means getting sick – and not just them. I’ve had strep throat twice in the past 4 months alone. For most of my career I’d fight through a sore throat or fever, but strep? That’s contagious. So I grudgingly text my boss to give him the heads up and I’m out for the day.
I love being on the radio. My job is fun, it’s not a job. I crack jokes, play music, and talk on the phone for a living. It’s awesome.
But being on the radio means I’m the only one who can do my job. There’s no quick backup ready for me. We run a lean ship and if I’m not on the air, nobody is on the air. That’s not much consolation knowing that nothing on the radio is an adequate replacement for you on the radio.
So I have guilt. I don’t like to skip work because it’s not like I can just catch up on paperwork on the couch, or call clients from the kitchen table. I’m on the radio, I need to be at that control board to mix the music, give the info, tell the jokes, play the contests. Yes there are ways to remote broadcast, but they need extra resources that can’t be deployed in between brushing your teeth in the morning, and commuting to the office.
I know many parents would be doing cartwheels at the opportunity to spend a lazy day with a kid under the weather; hours colouring at the table, playing games, watching tv. Not me. I feel guilty that I had to make a last minute call to work to shirk that responsibility for the one at home.
My kids are more important than my job, obviously. But without my job, my kids won’t have what they need.
What a Catch 22. What guilt. That’s why I wrote this post – to tell my boss how bad I feel that I skipped out, to underline that my kid is legit sick, and that I feel terrible at having to miss work.