An Open Letter to the Parent That Brings Their Sick Child To School

sick child at the doctor

Dear Parents that Send Sick Kids to School/Practice/Games/Birthday Parties,

I hate you. No, really; I actually hate you. I don’t like hate – I say it as a way of expressing myself, but hate – to me – feels like such a wasted emotion. I dislike a lot of things and a lot of people (bad drivers and unhygienic people), but I don’t hate them. I don’t care enough about them to hate them. But you; you I hate. I hate you because you keep bringing your sick kid around my kid. I hate you because you are doing the world a great disservice.

I know what you are going to say: I can’t afford to stay home with my sick kid because I work outside the home. I get it, okay? And trust me when I say that I feel so much for you. I know how that feels, even though I don’t work outside the home. I work from home, and that means when my kids are sick and I have to keep them home, my day is longer than ever. I can’t get things done, it stresses me out and I hate having to email my editor and apologize that things just aren’t getting done because I have a tiny human that has glued herself to my body and will not let me go, plus three more that also need my attention. I feel guilty, and I don’t love that.

I don’t envy your position; I really don’t. I respect it, in fact. But, you are still doing yourself a great disservice. Why? Because you are sending your kid to school sick, and he or she is spreading those germs around like wildfire. My kid will get them. The other kids will get them, they will come to school and then the germs make their way back to your kid. Now you have a kid that’s sick for a second time this month, and you cannot take any more time off because you’ve already taken so many personal days this year.

Perhaps, just perhaps, you should have kept your sick kid home the first time. This would have prevented germs from spreading and coming back to your child the second time, and then the third. Perhaps you would be able to stay home this time if you’d stayed home with your kid the first time. I’m just saying. I know that all situations are unique and sometimes it’s just what happens in life; but you have no right to infect our kids with your kids. It’s not cool.

So while you have my sympathy, you kind of don’t have it at the same time if that makes any sense. I feel for you. I really do, and I can see things from your point of view. Now I’m asking you to see them from my point of view. When your kid comes to school or practice or wherever sick, my kid will bring home those germs. Perhaps my kid won’t get sick, but I have three more kids to think about, including a set of 18-month-old twins that were born prematurely and haven’t quite developing amazing immune systems just yet.

My husband and I do have four kids – and we like to keep them healthy. Life is not fun with sick kids, trust me. I know you know that sick kids are the worst. It breaks your heart, you can’t do anything and it’s just miserable. You’re tired because they are tired, you’re overwhelmed because it is difficult to accomplish anything; I get it. But I have babies that become miserable when they get sick. I have babies that have minor health issues that make a simple cold from your kid turn into a full-blown hospital stay – does that make you feel good about sending your sick kid to school?

And to the mother from my daughter’s cheerleading squad: I don’t even know your name (that would be because you drop your kids off alone at practice even when the coach has yet to arrive and you are never there when the rest of us go home after practice so I’ve yet to actually meet you and it’s been three years now) but you might be the worst of the worst sending your daughter to the game last week and to practice this week with giants welts and sores that look potentially like ring worm but could be any kind of nasty skin disease all over her arms and legs. When a child who is only 7-years-old walks up to her friends and her coaches and the other parents (by the way, how very cool of you to drop her off in the parking lot and not even walk her in) and says, “Don’t touch me, don’t touch me. I’m contagious,” to everyone; it freaks us out.

How does that seem even remotely appropriate to you? It’s an extracurricular activity after school hours and on the weekends. You are clearly not at work, yet you don’t feel the need to keep your kid home so that she doesn’t infect the other 14 girls on her squad with whatever nasty stuff is all over her skin? She was scratching, itching, crying and causing herself to bleed she was so miserable. Where were you? You certainly were not there, and the coaches couldn’t get in touch with you.

Thanks. I want to say thank you for bringing your child to school and practice and the game like that. Really, because when my kids get out of bed one morning and have nasty skin lesions all over their bodies, at least I’ll know where it came from. I won’t know what it is, since your daughter informed the entire squad that you did not take her to the doctor because it would eventually ‘go away,’.

So, parents with sick kids; join me in the misery that is a school day at home with our whiny, sick children that make us even crazier than usual on those days so that we can keep everyone else healthy. It’s only fair. Sick kids want their mother; not their classmates.

Photo by Getty Images


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