The Working Parent Jigsaw Puzzle

This week has brought a gastro bug to Chez Russell and the kids have fallen like dominos. Delilah was the first. She was listless, tired and not interested in food on Saturday, before the tell-tale symptoms of gastro appeared on Sunday. It’s now Tuesday and she hasn’t been able to eat a proper meal since Friday night and is still far from well.

Matilda was the next to fall. She was running to the toilet by Sunday night and in the early hours of Monday morning I awoke to the  dreaded and unmistakable sound of vomiting. After a quiet day at home yesterday she ended up making a swift recovery and headed back to school today. Nothing seems to hold Matilda down for long!

Gilbert held out for as long as he could but he finally  succumbed to it this morning. One moment he seemed well, he even ate his normal breakfast, but the next he was laying on the lounge, complaining of a headache and tummy ache. My mummy-sense (very much like Spider-man’s “spidey-sense”, but far more powerful!) told me that things were not quite right with him so I let him stay at home.

Good decision, mummy-sense! I have just now cleaned up his fourth (wait, no fifth) vomit for the day. Pretty glad that I didn’t send him to school after all….

When you are a working parent and your kids fall ill, it seems as if life turns into one great big jigsaw puzzle. Like a puzzle that has that one missing piece that is impossible to find or replace, even if you try your hardest to replicate what it should look like. You know you need to fill the space with something, but nothing but the actual piece itself will do.

Image courtesy Danilo Rizzuti (

It’s very much like that when all your carefully laid plans to ensure the kids are cared for while you are at work come undone. You can’t send a sick child to school or daycare so you need to find another solution to make sure they are cared for and looked after while also doing the right thing by work.

My husband and I are lucky that we both have access to leave so that we can usually share coverage of these occasions without too much impact on work and we often have the support of his parents too.

But when sickness seems to linger or you both have important work things on or your fallback position is not available or all your kids fall ill, like dominos lined up in a row (all of which happened to us this week), it can be increasingly hard to make that phone call to say you’re not coming in…again.

So let’s hope the bug will beat a hasty retreat and allow Delilah to finally recover and Gilbert to quickly come good again. And let’s doubly hope it is not interested in adults. Because the one thing worse than cleaning up the mess of your kids, is having to clean it up while you’re trying not to vomit yourself…

Say it with me – bug, bug, go away, come again another day (or preferably, not at all!)

Joining in with Jess from Diary of a SAHM for IBOT.

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10 Responses

  1. ohhh i hope they all feel better soon!!!

    Yvette @ DTlilsquirts recently posted..burger making at its best! {review}

  2. Salz says:

    Oh no it’s the worst when they share it around to their siblings and parents. I was lucky when I worked I had mum to take them. Would rather her be cleaning up the vomit them me. Although my work did consist of cleaning of other children’s bum’s, noses and other things lol.
    Salz recently posted..~Giveaway~ Jamie Oliver. Jamies Kitchen

    • Kirsty says:

      I have a hard enough time cleaning up my own kids, let alone doing it for others’ kids too! My mother in law would have normally had tried to help us out but she was busy this week, hence our attempts to try to fit the pieces back together. Unfortunately it seems my kids have generously shared the bug with us – they are so very caring and sharing…not!

  3. I hope your family recovers soon and the puzzle is complete x
    Housewife in Heels recently posted..How to teach your child shapes with gingerbread

  4. Jess says:

    Oh there have been a few people on the interwebz with sick kids! I really hope everyone wakes up tomorrow happy and healthy, and you guys remain gastro free!

    • Kirsty says:

      Jess, thanks for your thought but it was sadly too late for us. The kids are recovering now but it looks as if my husband and I are succumbing – hoping it will only be a 24 hour bug so we are all well and coordinated for the weekend!

  5. Laura says:

    Hope kidlet gets better asap!!

    I remember this juggle when I was working! I am so grateful I now have the flexibility to be at home with the kids if need be!! It can become rather stressful!

    • Kirsty says:

      That’s so good that you now have that flexibility Laura – it is stressful trying to make it all work. But I have to say that we have been lucky to have missed this sort of contagious illness before so hopefully we won’t suffer it again anytime soon!

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