Dan’s new job at the IAEA (he’s been there almost 8 months, so I don’t know if it counts as “new” anymore) has a lot of great benefits that we aren’t used to from home: more vacation time, more sick leave (actually a nearly infinite amount, if he goes in and gets declared “sick” or “injured” by the IAEA nursing staff), use of the UN commissary, a housing stipend and a higher salary (plus cool things like paid paternity leave, which we don’t plan to take advantage of, but which I really, really, REALLY wish we’d had when the boys were born). It also has “undocumented sick leave” which means taking sick time without going in to see the nurse — usually used when the spouse or children are sick. I am so grateful for this kind of sick leave.
In our previous jobs (since we’ve had kids — before that it wasn’t an issue, because if I was sick, I used my own sick leave and just stayed home) we had to ration Dan’s limited sick leave across the entire family. Because, frankly, it’s not like it’s realistic for me to have a restful sick day at home while I’m watching two healthy kids — and it’s worse if they’re sick, too. Now, we don’t have to worry about “saving” sick leave in case Dan were to get sick — if he gets sick, he can just go in and get it approved and come home. We only have to ration the sick leave between the days I might get sick and the days I and the kids might get sick at the same time.
I’m really appreciative of it today. Last week, Liam was sick with croup, and Benjamin had a cough and a cold. This week, Benjamin is nearly better, Liam is getting better and I’ve been getting sick. Yesterday, I managed to get through the day just feeling run down, but today, I just couldn’t have done it. I have a nasty sore throat and I’m completely worn out — one of those days where you sleep about 6 daylight hours and then sit at the dinner table, feeling miserable and trying not to fall asleep in your meal.
So, Dan stayed home. Even though he knows it’s ok to use this documented sick time, he couldn’t help but stress about the things he’s leaving undone at work. So, it was even better that his boss sent him an email today saying, “Stay home, take care of your family, do what you need to do”, which helped him to relax and focus on being here. (Dan’s boss has sent such an email every time Dan has stayed home with us, which I think is infinitely cool of him.)
I am so glad Dan was able to be home today. I am so grateful I was able to rest and work on getting better. Other than feeling crappy, I’m feeling really lucky.