Sick child? Whose turn is it?
Somebody’s got to stay home with the kid, right? That’s logical enough. But who misses a day of work?
A study last year by sociologist David Maume at the University of Cincinnati determined that moms are still significantly more likely to stay home than dads. Maume surveyed more than 1,400 parents and determined that 78% of women reported taking time off to stay home with a sick kid, compared to 28% for men. You can “read more about the study”:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070813162452.htm in Science Daily.
The thing is that the study seems to have looked only at traditional homes, with mom and dad in the house. How does one handle the situation when they’re a single or divorced parent? Needless to say, this is a major problem if you solo parent. Unless there’s family nearby or a support group of some sort, you’re in a bind. And what are the rules on this in a blended family?
This has been on my mind this week because my girlfriend’s little boy has been battling the flu and hasn’t been able to go to his day care. She missed a couple of days, and her ex missed a couple and took him to his sister’s house for the day. Statistically, she ultimately takes more of those days on than her ex does, which seems to fit Maume’s study.
But at some point I wonder what my role is. I normally save my days off for when my son is sick, and juggle those with my ex. Is it my role as a stepparent figure to take off as well when my girlfriend’s son is sick? Or is that a responsibility that falls squarelyÂ â€” and exclusively â€” on the little guy’s parents?
In the end I’m thinking gender isn’t all we should be looking at. Frankly, I’m thinking we need a new study.