Whether your child has an illness or injury, or the babysitter could not make it, taking unexpected time off from work can be tricky. When both parents work, this can cause unnecessary tension because of arguments about who is going to stay home and take care of the child. To prevent this from happening, it is very important to develop a plan ahead of time with your spouse about unanticipated “at home” days.
One important consideration is who has the most flexible schedule on any given day. It may be that an arrangement can be worked out where both parents divide the caretaking day in half. If one spouse has mostly morning meetings and the other spouse has them in the afternoon, you can both work around your schedules. My late husband and I did this. His schedule was generally more flexible than mine, since as a lawyer, my schedule could be extremely busy. We worked it out though between us, always keeping our focus on what was best for our children. Compromise is very important as it reduces the parents’ stress levels and aids in flexible decision making, which of course, leaves more time for you both to focus on your child who needs you.
Speak to your office manager or human services representative ahead of time about the protocol for working from home or having children in the workplace. Many companies allow a parent to work from home if he is unable to come to the office and some allow children to be in the office under special circumstances.
If you and your spouse are not able to do any of the above, research alternatives. Often retired relatives or friends will assist for a short while. What is critical is that you do not wait until you need assistance to find a solution.
Raising children can be filled with ups and downs. Having a plan and being willing to compromise - those are the key elements to surviving a sudden at-home stay. Life is always going to throw curveballs at you, but being proactive can make them a little easier to catch