school

"Yes, I send my sick kids to school. Don't judge me for it."

We all judge each other for this. Don’t we?

On the way to school this morning my son vomited. Twice. He heaved over in his little green uniform and threw up right there on the footpath.

I wiped his mouth, gave him a drink of water and bundled him off to school for his teachers to deal with, all the while scattering leaves over the pile of slimy mucus so that other children didn’t slip on it.

I saw the looks from the other mums bustling along the footpath. I heard the tuts.

I could almost hear the unsaid judgment.

A mental calculation of whether they sent hand sanitiser in their child’s bag and a note to self to talk to the school about THAT mother.

Oh she’s one of those the selfish types who sends her sick kids to school. Doesn’t she know that if my family catch the flu we will be out for weeks? Doesn’t she realise how contagious it is? Oh, not again. Here we go.

To send or not to send a sick kid to school.

 

The can I just dose them up on nurofen and hope they get through the day look.

The how dare THAT mother have the gall to send her sick son to school glance.

How inconsiderate. How selfish. The bitch. 

It’s already been a particularly bad flu season – with NSW alone reporting record numbers of cases. In the year to date there have 6310 notifications of laboratory-confirmed flu compared to just over 3700 in 2013 and nearly 6300 in 2014 - total.

Here is a warning about the upcoming flu season. Post continues after video.

And yet we see them, those red-eyed shuffling kids shunted off to school, day care and preschool by THOSE mothers.

Even, in extreme cases, children who vomit twice on the way into the school gate.

Well I am THAT mother. I am the woman you judge and fume at. I am the person you silently curse when your child wakes up snotty. I am the person you blame and judge.

Except, in some cases the story isn’t quite as easy to judge as we think. In some cases there are reasons – maybe not what you consider legitimate reason – but reasons that mothers send their child to school sick.

In my son’s case he is asthmatic. On cool mornings like this one, when he chases his brother in a game of tip through the crisp Autumn air he loses his breath. His chest tightens and he coughs. He coughs and coughs till he vomits.

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He is red faced and puffing because he is struggling to breathe.

He isn’t contagious; he won’t make your child sick. He won’t even vomit on you if you move quickly. He vomits a gluggy mix of mucus and water.

A few puffs of ventolin and an increase in his regular medication and the whole messy process won’t be repeated tomorrow. It won’t be your problem. If I kept him home at every cough or wheeze I would need to home school him.

But still the judgment.

Hiding beneath those smiles are millions of germs

For others the reason might not be quite so clean cut.

“Oh I send my kids to school when they are sick” said a friend “otherwise I would lose my job. “

She doses them up and packs extra warm clothes and crosses her fingers her phone won’t ring when she is in the middle of an important meeting.

Another has been judged for sending her kids to school weeks after they have been sick but with lingering runny noses, or coughs that won’t budge.

The fact is at some stage we have probably all been inadvertently guilty of this. Whether we turn a blind eye to a sniffle or send them when they are nearly recovered we all know this is the way bugs are spread, but we still at times have no choice.

Most teachers I know realise this is one of the many downsides of the job they just have to deal with. While they would prefer those germy little bodies stay away they know some parents, just sometimes have no choice.

So this is what I find tough to understand - if teachers can be so understanding about it. If teachers, who are there breathing the same air, touching the same surfaces, dodging the snotty tissues can deal with it, then why can’t other mums? Why can't you?

Sometimes, just sometimes before you judge know there might just be a reason and a fellow mum could do with a smile rather than a tut.

What do you think of mothers who send their sick children to school?

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