Missing Work over Childcare Issues Got Him Counseled

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My poor husband has been dealing with mistreatment at work, and I want to help him. The thing is, I don't know how to help or what I should do.

It all started when I went back to work. We had to put our almost 1-year-old daughter into daycare for the first time.

Everyone knows what happens when you start kids in daycare: They get sick. Sometimes, it drags on and on and on. In our case, we are still dealing with sickness one month later.

My husband and I decided to take turns staying home with her when she is sick. After a few times of us both calling off, my husband was counseled at work for it "becoming a habit." Mind you, I have a new job and I did not even get written up.

On top of all this, we just found out that we are expecting our third child. Our oldest is in elementary school and we haven't had any issues with her needing to stay home.

My first ultrasound was this morning, and my husband was too afraid to ask if he could go with me for fear of being reprimanded again.

When he told his leading petty officer (LPO) that he missed the appointment because he was afraid to ask, the man told him that he should have been smart and used birth control. I could not believe my ears when my husband told me this! Here we are with exciting news, and we feel as though we cannot even be happy about it.

When my husband first arrived at this command, he was told time and time again that family comes first, we will always allow you to be there for your family -- all of that.

I need your advice to know what I can do to help my husband overcome these issues. I am tired of him coming home upset and stressed out every day because of the people with whom he works.

Please help us.

-- Soon-to-be Momma of Three

Dear Momma of Three,

Congratulations on your new baby! In spite of how you feel about your husband's leadership, you and your husband should be excited about your new bundle of joy.

It sounds like you and your husband are experiencing a lot of stress. With two children and one on the way, a new job and both of you working outside the home, you have a lot to manage and you are both juggling many roles and responsibilities. It's not easy, but you can do it.

Childcare is a stressful concern. Not only is it expensive, but you still have to be concerned about a child who keeps getting sick.

You are right: Children in daycare centers will often stay sick, especially with colds, when they first start attending. Do as much as you can to manage her symptoms at home. Usually the centers will keep the children unless they have a low-grade fever, a very bad cough or a persistent runny nose. Otherwise, they know that children will have some cold symptoms.

Secondly, I know it's disheartening the way your husband's command is treating him -- writing him up for missing work so he can stay at home with his daughter. I know it doesn't seem fair but, honestly, they want your husband to have a better family care plan for his children. In other words, who else can you add to your list to pick up your child from daycare and watch her for a few hours until you and your husband can get home from work? This may mean that you need to pay someone to babysit her when she's sick.

This is something that you and your husband will have to discuss. I hear you loud and clear: It's not fair and you would think his unit would understand his absence. However, they don't have to understand and they will continue to slam your husband if he keeps missing work.

If I can help you further, let me know.

-- Ms. Vicki

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