My summer is consumed with appointments with doctors, speech therapists, Cognitive Behavioral professionals and more! During the school year, an IEP meeting might need to take place, a field trip that my children want me to go on with them as a parent chaperone may be scheduled or a situation may arise that warrants me having a conversations with another teacher during school hours. No big deal, right? Not when you’re a teacher yourself! When these things come up, I am forced to take a day off because we don’t want my husband to start tapping into his vacation days because we’d be left with NO family vacation. You get the picture, right?
When you don’t have any family to help, it can certainly make the situation even more difficult. When you have a child with special needs, you don’t know how their day will turn out and it’s nerve-racking and makes me uneasy. Something can happen in an instant and, at that moment his para might call me to come to the classroom immediately. You have no one to turn to with the hope that someone else could possibly go to the school and help figure it all out for you. This small mishap may lead me to have to take an entire day off of work.
Taking time off was never something I did regularly before having children. I remember at the very beginning of my teaching career, I had PTO (paid time off) to last me a lifetime. When I had my boys, there was the need to take them, and so I did. Of course these days off came with guilt! I felt a tremendous amount of guilt because I didn’t want to leave my classroom children and subject them to a substitute. Also, to be honest, to some extent, taking time off when you’re a teacher is frowned upon and in my opinion, you are closely watched upon your return. Something no one likes at work, am I right?
I often say to myself, ‘I wish there were an extra special law that made an exception for parents of children will special needs.’ I wish this hypothetical law would enable us to have a little more leniency so we would either be docked pay or make up our time later when we need to take exceptional time off. In my case, I need to take days due to constant appointments to accommodate changes in diagnoses, management of medications or even having his heart examined or blood drawn. Either way, I should NEVER be made to feel guilty for making my children my top priority, but unfortunately, I feel this way sometimes. I’m hopeful, as the years go by, laws can be passed for working parents and certain exceptions can be made. I am not asking for special treatment for me specifically, I’m just asking the laws have a better understanding of what we working parents face when we have no family help while we face the issues that come up when raising a child with special needs, guilt free!
Care to share: Do you ever feel guilty taking a day off from work?