Dads, Kids, Fever, & Vomit

I think David and I do a pretty good job of sharing parenting responsibilities. Over the years we have developed a method that works for us. Basically, we take turns and divide the jobs between us. For example, I will do baths one night; he does them the next night. He reads the story at bedtime; I tuck the kids in and sing them a good night song. It works for us.

The only thing we don’t share equally is when the kids are sick. I’m normally the one to stay home with them. He will take them to the doctor if I ask (but he usually doesn’t get all the information we need), and he will stay home with them if I need to be at work. Which brings us to our tale…
Sharing Parenting Responsibilities
Last week Cady was sick with a sinus infection and sore throat. I stayed home with her Wednesday and Thursday. All was well on Friday, and I returned to work and she to school. The weekend was going pretty well, but if I had listened closely I could have heard the Jaws theme song playing in the background. Something was lurking and waiting until I least expected it to jump out and bite me.

Sunday morning David took the kids out to the hunting club in an effort to expose them to the great outdoors (and get them out of the front of the TV, which is where they think they should stay planted). My mom called upset. My aunt was sick and at the hospital, but my mom was over an hour away with no way to get home (she was with a friend at this thing, long story). She was pretty worried (with cause) so I got dressed and went to be with her until my mom could get there later that evening.

When David came home from the club he sent me a text, “James is running a fever of 101.4.” The only other symptom was that he had a really bad headache. I told David to give him some ibuprofen and that I would be home later. No big deal, but I started planning for having to take the next day off. Kids running fever can’t go to daycare.

Sure thing, the next morning he was still running a fever. I called in and planned a day of nursing a sick child. Cady was fine so I took her to school… or so I thought. Around nine I got a call that she had threw up in the bathroom. Dammit. I went and picked her up and made two doctors appointments instead of one.

One stomach virus and viral infection diagnosis later, we were back home. I knew they would not be able to return to school the next day either so I asked David if he could stay home with them. I really didn’t want to miss anymore work if I didn’t have to (hello, Blissdom coming in March. I don’t want to use all of my vacation time. Plus, you know, I have work to do.).

Here’s what happened:

View video here.

So… guess who’s home with the kids today? Alone I might add. David is a great husband, and an even better father, but when it comes to dealing with sick kids, that’s on me.

Tell me, how are you and your spouse at sharing parenting responsibilities? What about when the kids are sick? Does that fall to mom, or is that just the way it is at my house?

Edited to add: I’m really just giving him a hard time. He may have panicked about all of the FEVER and VOMIT, but he also cleaned the kitchen, mopped the floor, and cooked dinner.


  1. says

    I was home full-time so it was always me. Husband helped in the evenings but I did the bulk of it.

    If I worked full-time, it probably would have fallen to whichever of us was able to stay home most conveniently. My husband has always been great about helping. But he probably wouldn’t have asked the right questions at the doctor’s office. I think that’s a gift women have.

  2. says

    Here’s what I’ve learned in nearly 16 years of motherhood and writing about motherhood: Fathers sometimes play dumb to get out of being surrounded by vomiting children and get back to work. And it works, because we mothers tend to think that fathers are clueless. Don’t fall for it! If we let them father like fathers, instead of assistant mothers, and stop rushing in to take over, they’ll do just fine without us! Try it!

  3. says

    Haha! Too funny. Dads are just not really equipped, are they?

    Having said that, my husband is pretty good when the kids are sick. I’m the one who does all the snot-wiping/ removal, he administers the medication. Even stevens, don’tcha think?

    Also, I love your accent!

    • says


      Normally David is great when the kids are sick. I’m not sure what was going on with him yesterday. But I do think that moms just have that special touch when kids are sick.

      And yes, because I HATE the medication administration part of the job. When James was younger it was really, REALLY bad. Luckily is getting better about it.

  4. says

    Mickey + Vomit = ToomuchpissingandmoaningIlljustdoitmyself

    He also can’t handle blood- his own or anyone else’s.

    I wonder what happens when two people get together who’re both squeamish? I guess the neat freak has to take over.

    • says

      David is good about cleaning up vomit, actually better than me. He normally takes the mess, and I take the kid. But blood? Forget about it. He can’t take that at all. He will pass clean out. We took Cady to the ER once, and when it came time for IVs and blood draws he was nowhere to be found. Good thing my mom came with me too.

      • says

        Nope, can’t do it. My vomit on top of their vomit is how it’ll end up and no one wants that. I damn near hurled the other day a little boy threw up on the playground. Time to go.

  5. says

    When we were both working full time, I was fortunate enough to have my parents to help out if Chris and I couldn’t get out of work or were on business travel. If I could, I would work from home some days too. Chris has a much harder time getting time off than I ever did so it was just easier for me to handle it or figure it all out.

    Hope everyone is feeling better quickly and the germs stay away!

    • says

      David has a harder time getting off too. He doesn’t get ANY paid time off, and I get sick leave and vacation time, but still. You get to the point where you need to be at work.

  6. says

    I’m home all day anyway, but I’m pretty sure my husband hasn’t ever taken care of sick kids….unless I was throwing up and delirious and have forgotten about it. :/

  7. says

    I am the nurturer. But I am not the vomit cleaner-upper. He’s more able to be at home so if one of us needs to be there, it’s usually him (although mama needs no cajoling to call in to work. I have perfected my own fake cough. Ahem.) Like TKW, my husband never gets the bug (at least not at that time and never, ever to the degree we have it.)

    I hope everyone’s on the mend now.

  8. says

    He just isn’t used to it. Tim wouldn’t be either. Although not sure he would be feeding a child that was throwing up. I’m sorry, but that’s pretty dang funny!!

  9. says

    LOL! MEN, I tell you…just…MEN. I guess you should just be glad your hubby wasn’t sick, too, because then OMG THE WORLD IS ENDING. Or maybe that’s just in my house.

    • says

      Exactly. Men.

      But he does not do like other men when he gets sick. Normally he pushes himself too hard and I have to force him to rest or go to the doctor.

  10. says

    It’s all me. But my husband will get up in the middle of the night if need be. He can fall asleep easier than I can.

    I hope everyone is feeling better!

  11. says

    I love the part where he tells you that you will BOTH need to stay home because these babies are soooooo sick! Made me laught out loud. My husband is a little over the top like that sometimes!

    I always stayed home when they were little, especially before he worked from home. Once he started working from home I still stayed with the baby and as she got a little older we would sometimes split it – me going in for the morning to take care of what I needed to and then coming home for the afternoon.

    Now that the kids are older (especially the two oldest) I can totally leave them home with him while he works. At that stage of the game pretty much all they want to do is watch TV and sleep and be left alone – which my hubby does well! :)

    I hope your babies are feeling better!

  12. says

    My mom stayed home… mostly, but she also used all her sick time every year, so eventually she put her foot down and she and my dad alternated. She always took the first day, but if we needed more than one, or weren’t really, really sick, my dad stayed home.

  13. says

    Hilarious! After having kids, I really had to stop expecting my husband to parent exactly like I do. It is hard to do, but I realize that when he parents like he does, my kids get something they don’t get from me.

    When I work (on mat leave right now) my husband and I take turns being home with sick kids, depending on who needs to be at work more urgently.

  14. Lorie says

    Well… sounds like my house just in TX instead of PA. I am the one who 99.9% of the time stays home and cares for sick kids and takes them to doctors. My husband, who is a GREAT father is just better when the kids aren’t sick. However, he does help cleaning up any messes that are made while kids are sick and that counts in my book!

    It is also pretty easy for me to get time off and I can work late if necessary to make up additional time and for that I am THANKFUL!

  15. says

    I still want to know what he thought both of you needed to do! My husband is the same way. He is really very helpful with most things, but sometimes he is just clueless :)

  16. says

    Oy! Poor you.

    My husband is awesome with sick kids. He’s a SAHD and has had to deal with it on a few occasions, and he’s got no issues at all.

    I’m not good with sick people in general, but sick kids I’m okay with.

  17. says

    Gah! Dads always panic when kids are sick. He’ll sometimes stay home to work when they are, which means when *I* come down with it? He HAS to go to work. Not fair.

    Your accent is so adorable. Every time I read anything from you I’m going to hear your voice now.

  18. says

    OMG, laughing so hard right now. You sound like me telling a story, except my accent isn’t as adorably thick as yours. But the sarcasm is beautiful, just beautiful. :)

    Ah, men… To paraphrase Norm from Cheers, can’t live with ’em… pass the beer nuts. 😉

    Hope the kids are feeling better soon. You got this.

  19. says

    Jennifer, it sounds like you have a parenting system that works pretty well. There is great strength in flexibility and plenty of humor. My own situation is pretty unique; my wife and all three kids are Autistic. (go on say it … oh, hell) Right. Scripts and predictable routine are vital to them. Change is a tsunami in their world. Basically, I had to make the choice to become a superhero Dad, leave them or go down in a blaze of glory trying to take out a world tyrant. I chose the first. It was the right choice. I’m mostly sure of that.

    Sick kids? Bring it. I’ve lined all three up violently sick and moved throw up bowls under them with uncanny reflexes. Screaming and tantrums? Ha! Tis but a sweet melody now. Insanity? Hell, I own it, wax it and show it off proudly each day. Nuttiness is my plaything.

    I’ll close with something I wrote recently when asked about best practices for parenting an Autistic family: when they close their hearts to you, force your way in and love them without mercy, advocate for them like a lion, encourage them even in the smallest of moments and it is critically important to learn to enjoy really good whiskey.

    My best to all you Moms ~ The Lonesome Jackalope

  20. says

    When I was out of town this week on a business trip, my husband called me at 11:45 PM and said, “He has the croup.” Our son has recurrent croup, and last time he had it, we had to go to the ER. As calmly as I could, I coached my husband through which medicine to give him and what to do, but I had a hard time sleeping that night. I couldn’t wait to get home; although my husband is a fantastic dad and is extremely capable, I wanted to be there myself. I understand!

  21. says

    We share most everything. But husband has a weak stomach and can’t handle puke. So I get that job. And he changes dirty diapers but gags and makes so much noise about the bad ones that I usually step in. I don’t know why he can’t just hold his breath or breathe through his mouth.

    Hope your kids are better and that you don’t have to take any more days off before Blissdom! Can’t wait to visit!

  22. says

    Haha- that just made me laugh! Of course it is me that stays home with the kids- because I don’t work. But, they are never sick during those weeks when I have no plans outside of usual errand- it is ALWAYS when I have a scheduled medical/dental/hair appointment so that something has to be canceled and rescheduled. I will never understand kids asking for food while they have a stomach virus. I know when I have one, I don’t want to eat. Period. And even when I am over it, I am still a little wary of eating. My kids will be shaking, crying and heaving in a garbage can, wipe their faces off and inform me they are hungry. Um… NO.. you are NOT eating!! So… the only way I was able to keep Noah from freaking out like I was trying to starve him is to develop a system. When he hasn’t heaved for an hour, I will let him have a popsicle. If he doesn’t throw that up, he can have some warm water and a piece of toast, no butter. If he manages to keep that down, I will make him a small lunch. We have to wait 30 minutes to an hour between all those steps to see how he is and if at any point he throw up, we start over.


  1. […] Let’s see, the last two days of January Cady and I were both sick. We came out of it okay and I thought everything was going to be smooth sailing. The following Sunday (the first one in February) James spiked a fever out of nowhere. That same Monday I received a call from Cady’s school that she was vomiting. They did not go back to school until Friday. David watched them one day, but we all know how that went. […]