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On Sick Days and Beginnings

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Photo by Rex Pickar on Unsplash

Well, the new school year is finally getting into gear. This week was almost routine in terms of clubs, except that my daughter got sick and spent two days at home. Then I caught whatever it was she had, so I took a day off yesterday. My day off consisted mostly of lying on the sofa watching Sherlock Holmes, which made everything better, really.

It was very annoying, and at first, I refused to take a day off. My reasoning was that I'd started the new school year with motivation and excitement, and if I take a day off, it'll stop the momentum in its tracks. So for a couple of days, I dragged myself to yoga class and a volunteering training day and planned to get loads of stuff done. Then I finally realised that if I don't rest, I'm going to carry this thing with me for weeks. So, I took a day off. This probably means that I won't get all my tasks checked off the list this week. In fact, I've ticked off one task this week so far. It wasn't just because of the day off, of course, it was also that I had a full day of training, but I still feel guilty about taking a sick day.

The thing about being sick when you're a parent is that you don't actually get to stay in bed and moan and do nothing all day. While my daughter was sick, she basically laid on the sofa watching TV all day. I did some of it yesterday, but I also had to replace my son's trombone and then pick the kids up and so on. I did the absolute bare minimum (we ordered in for dinner). Still, it's not like when I was a kid (or even when I was a childless adult). There is stuff that must be done and cannot wait until you get better.

My partner says I take less sick days than the average employee. As he runs a company with some 200 employees, I'm going to take his word for it. Nevertheless, for me, it feels like I'm disappointing someone. My grandmother, probably. When I was a kid, nothing warranted missing school apart from a 40 degrees fever and/or a contagious disease. Even when I had chickenpox, my mom said she doesn't understand that particular school policy. She said that when she was a kid, all the parents brought their kids over to whoever had chickenpox so that they catch it when they're young. Apparently, it was before immunisations were standard in Israel. Throughout my childhood, we only got a day off from school if we came to help out in the field. So, if I'm not on my deathbed, taking a sick day is basically slacking off.

That said, now that I'm a grownup and I know my body, I know that taking a day off means that I'm back to full power the next day, instead of running at 50% for two weeks. If you do the maths, it's a much better option. The only thing is, I'm not catching up this week, which means next week you get to read about how I failed my September goals. Not all of them, but certainly some. And the world will keep turning.


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