Sick Babies at St. Lawrence Place

Posted by: Lila Anna Sauls

sick baby

Lila Anna’s sick baby

I’m working from home this morning.  One of my twins has a fever, so he’s out of daycare for the day. It’s particularly frustrating because his twin brother was out last week, with the same virus. One day last week Becca’s oldest had strep. He played at her feet scattering popcorn around her office, while she got a few things done before running out to disinfect her house.  Finally, Jessica ran back and forth for two days with her own case of strep and a sick husband and daughter at home with a bug.

My point isn’t that we are a sick office, but that we all had jobs to return to when our children (or spouses or selves) recovered. We care about each other at St. Lawrence Place and are willing to help each other through sickness, family issues, or other glitches that pop up along the way.

When one of our St. Lawrence Place children has an ear infection or fever, and his mother has to stay home with him, there’s a good chance she will be reprimanded. When she calls in the second time with another sick child (like I did), there’s an even better chance she will be fired. So, what should she do?

We think we’ve come up with a few answers…

Communicate well. Through our weekly life skill meetings and our on-site internship program funded by the Sisters of Charity Foundation, we teach our families many of the “soft skills” they need to be successful in the workplace.  Sometimes it’s not what you say…but how you say it.

Further your education. Through a variety of scholarship programs funded by Bank of America, Central Carolina Community Foundation and others, we work with several local colleges, including Midlands Technical College, to help our families increase their level of education, so they are able to secure a better position that offers sick and family leave.  We also work those who still need their GED, so they can earn more than minimum wage.

Stay well. Our staff works with the whole family regularly on health and fitness topics.  We stress the importance of eating right to the children and adults with the help of programs through USC and SCDHEC, and the children will learn even more about physical activity through an exciting weekly program led by the Jr. League of Columbia beginning this Fall. Since mental health is just as important, we teach stress management to our adults and have even had volunteer-led yoga classes on campus.

Advocate.  Until our country becomes a bit more understanding and accepting of the difficulty working mothers of young children have in the workplace, especially single mothers, what can our moms do? We help them understand the importance of voting or even just picking up the phone and calling their legislators. We’re sure to empower…not enable.

Graeme is fussy and needs another dose of Tylenol, so I’ll wrap this up and become the “mama” again. I’m extremely blessed to have that option.  I’m even more blessed to be part of an organization that aims to help other mothers obtain that option as well.