Sick Kids and the Bummed Out Mom

As I sit here listening to my poor baby who can’t sleep, I can’t help but to think about the other day at the gym.

I walked my kids into the gym daycare (a very nice daycare that has a very strict sick policy) to see a mom basically pleading with one of the daycare girls. Apparently her daughter was teething. Maybe she’s a newbie, maybe she’s in denial, maybe she’s just selfish but I took one look at the kid and knew it wasn’t teething. After getting my kids situated I turned to see she was putting on her daughter’s shoes so I sucked it up and decided to leave my kids and go workout. I mean, they can get sick by passing a stranger in Target, right? I kept telling myself that it won’t happen (positive thinking on overload), that my kids won’t get sick, and left the daycare. 5 minutes later I walked by again and they were just leaving. After a mini panic attack– and visions of our toddlers swapping spit like a few high school seniors (but with rattles), I once again took a deep breath and let my mind fill with positive, non-sick thoughts and vibes. Just short of knocking on some wood, I went back to my workout knowing that the damage was done (if there was damage to be done) and that tearing my kids from the daycare that they so adore would cause The Meltdown of 2011.

I picked this particular gym for many reasons but one of them was their strict sick policy for the daycare. The daycare girls don’t like getting sick (who does really?), other parents (like me) don’t want their kids to get sick, it’s super clean, and unlike any other gym daycare I’ve ever seen. I thought I hit the Gym Daycare Jackpot and I still think I did.. for the most part.

My kids are sick.

Yes, yes, yes.. it can happen anywhere but does it irk me? You betcha. Why? Because I pay good money, money that I make on my own, to be able to go to the gym and to have a safe environment for my children to play– did I mention it costs extra for the daycare? Per kid! and… I have three of them. I don’t have babysitters… my release is going to the gym. I look forward to going to the gym, during the day, to do the classes that I want to do. I don’t have time at night to go and please don’t tell me that if it’s important I’ll make the time because 1. you’ll sound way too much like my mother and 2. come be a fly on my wall and you’ll see exactly how little time I have.

I’m finally ready and motivated to get back into shape and do it at the gym. Yes we took a walk today instead of going to the gym (see! I found time to still get a workout in)… no, it’s not the same.

How do you feel about these types of scenarios?

Because I feel that I’m doing my part by abiding by the rules and I’m mad. I so wanted to go to my class today but I did what I thought know was the right thing and I kept my sick child home. I kept him home so he could not only rest and feel better (and possibly not pick up other germs with a compromised immune system) but I didn’t want to get other kids sick. I didn’t blame it on the 5 (yes, FIVE) teeth that he has breaking through his poor little gums right now. I know my child is not feeling well. He has snot (albeit clear and not a ton), a low fever and glassy eyes.. I know my child is not feeling well.

Here are some differences between a sick child and a teething child:

1. Teething mucus is clear saliva and doesn’t run out the nose. Cold mucus is thick and yellow (but can be clear). A nasal discharge usually means an allergy or an infection, especially if accompanied by eye drainage.

2. Teething rarely causes a fever higher than 101 degrees F (38.3 degrees C).

3. Teething may be confused with an earache. Babies pull at their ears during teething, probably because of pain radiating from the teeth to the ears. Some babies just like playing with their ears. Ear-pulling in babies is an unreliable sign. With an ear infection babies usually hurt more lying down and have accompanying signs of a cold.

4. Babies don’t act progressively sicker with teething. As a general rule, when in doubt, have your doctor check it out.

Source: Ask Dr. Sears

Do you follow the Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You rule? I guess it’s not a rule cause everywhere I go… the gym, the park, play dates inside a house (with no windows cracked), indoor play gyms… either some parents haven’t heard of this rule saying or they don’t give a sh….. and I’m not talking allergies, the early stages of a virus, lingering (non-contagious) symptoms… all the things that you can’t help; I’m talking when you know deep down in your motherly instinctual gut that your child is sick.

Vent over.


  1. I love Ruth’s response. I’m not a stay-at-home mom but one that has to drop my child off at a daycare daily and get to the office. My child is always sick. I am always sick and no, neither of us like it. Our daycare is not strict by your standards – they focus on the major things like high fevers and major contagious diseases. This means my son can go to school regularly and I’m not called from executive meetings to pick him up for a snotty nose. My girlfriend’s super strict daycare – well let’s just say, she’s picking up her daughter every week for nothing more than a slight common cold. I’m not saying our careers are worth more than our children – of course not! But overreacting is not helpful for any of us moms. Oh and by the way… between my son and my g-friends daughter, they get sick about the same amount.

  2. I assume you read the whole article Ruth?
    My point was that I’m bummed out that a mom would bring a sick child to a place knowing the child would infect other children. It’s not a weekday daycare, I’m not in a meeting at work.. it’s the gym.
    I understand and know everything there is to know about germs… I have THREE boys and a nurse for a mother 🙂

  3. Whoa, ladies! As a pediatric ER nurse, I can guarantee that when your children spend time w/ other children in groups, they will get sick! Lots of illness is transmitted even before there are symptoms so even those healthy looking children can be spreading their germs. There’s not much you can do about it. If your children spend time in groups, they’ll get sick. Its one of the ways we develop healthy immune systems. From my perspective, the best thing you can do for your children is relax and work on lessening your knee-jerk self-righteous indignation. This is a situation over which you have total control! If they get sick when you take them to the gym and that makes you angry, then don’t take them to the gym.

  4. I know how you feel. When my son was 1, it seemed like we went to the gym every other week because he ALWAYS picked something up while we were there, then it took a week to get over it. I waited until he was better before going back.

    We can’t go back until my daughter is at least 6 months old, but I know it will start all over again. Grr.

  5. I have complete compassion for your situation. Especially about following the rules and being upset when others don’t. Does the mother with a sick child think her workout is more important than everyone else’s? It’s endlessly frustrating. But it’s no good to focus on the daycare, and this one toddler, as the epicenter of your kids’ illnesses, because you can’t be 100% sure that’s how your kids got sick. Your just going to ruin that little bit of time you take for yourself by worrying the whole time that your kids are in there contacting all types of illness. I know it’s not something you can stop worrying about, but working out should help you clear your head, not cause more grief. Try to let go of the frustration with other parents, sick kids, etc!

  6. We joined a VERY expensive nice gym (more like a hotel!) that had daycare for the kids (we actually it was called kids world…)…my son would get sick there a ton and it does bug me when parents bring their coughing runny noise clearly sick children. nothing you can do, either except it or get a double jogging stroller and take them on runs/walks instead!


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