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Paid sick days I wouldnt...

Paid sick days? I wouldnt know what those were. I am a mother of 5 now and they range from 21 yrs old to 5 yrs old. I also have 2 grandchildren ages 3 and 18 mths old. I was 18 when I had my oldest daughter with my ex husband. He and I struggled very much and I can probably say financial problems doomed us. We both worked full time jobs, finished high school, and had 3 children by the time I was 22 years old. I worked at the Marriott in Palm Desert CA (for the flower shop) and was fired because I was pregnant. Even before that any job I did have I ended up losing because one of my kids would get sick, and my husband earned more but had no sick days, so it had been decided I would be the one to stay home, get written up at work or get fired for being with my sick child. It was just the way it was. We didnt get sick days. We werent management, we were just young adults who didnt matter.

Now at 39 yrs old I have my daughter whose 21 and her 2 children living here. Again, I am responsible to stay home with her children, and my 5 & 10 year old when they get sick. She works at McDonalds for minimum wage since jobs are so scarce, and my husband just started a new job after 2 years of unemployment. His job told him he gets 5 points. Ohhh points sound exciting right? Well they arent those kind of points, like the ones you give kids for doing a good job, they are points for being late, calling in sick, and what not. Staying home sick with your child or grandchild would probably be an auto fire too. My daughter also would love to stay home when her kids are sick, but McDonalds has 109 people on their payroll so losing her wouldnt mean much to them. Her husband is in the same position as my husband, in fact, in the past he worked for the City of Lenoir, and spent one entire night at the ER with his then 2 yr old son who had asthma, and pnemonia. He called his work to tell them, they told him not to come back. He was fired.

So how have sick days affected my life as a mom and grandma? Judge for yourself. You just read a couple instances, and what would and has happened when my kids have been sick. They say you need 2 incomes to survive anymore, well maybe so, but 2 incomes are hard to keep when you get fired just for being a good parent.

—ValerieNorth Carolina
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