Friday, October 6, 2017

Parents Don't Get Sick Days

Parents aren't allowed to have sick days.

If you're a parent and you're sick, you can't just call in and say, "Sorry, I'm not feeling well so I'm not going to be able to parent today." You can't say, "Sorry kids, but I'm taking the day off so you'll just have to take care of yourselves today." And you certainly can't say, "Change your own diapers, you lazy little punks!"

Kids don't wait for you to blow your nose.
As a parent, there are three minimum requirements that you must meet for your children:
1) You must make sure they have food.
2) You must make sure they are safe.
3) You must deal with their dirty diapers.

These three things have to be addressed, no matter how sick you might be. But the level at which you deal with these things can be dramatically different.

On a normal day, you try to make sure your kids sit at the table for three good meals, get plenty to drink, and have healthy snacks as needed. On a Parent Sick Day, it's all juice boxes and Goldfish crackers. They're eating in the kitchen, in the living room, in the bedroom, heck, they might even be eating in the bathroom for all you know. They're eating crackers, cookies, cold cereal right out of the box, and something they found on the floor. The key is that they are eating something, and that something started out as a food product, so it can't be too bad for them, right? We all knew people in college who ate nothing but junk, and they survived, so it won't hurt your kids too much, will it?

On a normal day, you make sure your kids have plenty of good, learning activities to do throughout the day. They read books, play with educational toys, and keep the television to a minimum. On a Parent Sick Day they watch television. They watch a lot of television. Did you think it impossible for someone to sit through eight straight hours of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood? Well, you were wrong! Moana on a loop for five consecutive showings? No problem! The key is that they are safe. If they are in a vegetative state watching television they won't be climbing to the top shelf of the pantry or falling down the stairs. They are mind-numbingly safe.

On a normal day, you make sure their diapers are changed frequently. You want to make sure everything is clean and fresh down there. On a Parent Sick Day you change their diapers whenever the smell gets overwhelming. If it is only pee in the diaper, it's not really a concern until the diaper gets so full and heavy that the child can no longer carry the weight of it.

So, while you can't take a sick day as a parent, you can turn down your parenting dial from your usual 10 or 9 down to a 4 or 5. As long as you survive the day, and your kids survive the day, that's all you can really ask for, isn't it? (You'll just have to find some way to get the theme from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood out of your head.) (Good luck with that.) ("It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood....")

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