I have a question. When do you excuse them from doing school... how tired do they have to be, how sick, etc.?
My kids could probably relate to the immortal Ferris Bueller, who said, "This is my ninth sick day this semester. It's getting pretty tough coming up with new illnesses. If I go for ten, I'm probably gonna have to barf up a lung."
Pretty much. I come by it naturally though. One of my favorite hold-it-over-my-parents moments was in 2nd grade when I told my mom I didn't feel well, she sent me to school, and I promptly threw up all over Scott Monke.
My mom was famous for her lack of compassion on the mildly sick, and she even taught me that period cramps were no reason to sit out of p.e. BOY, did we give her a hard time about this, but you know what? When we all became adults, we realized how indebted we were to her for not turning us into wimps. We were rather amused at the reasons fellow workers had for not showing up for work.
Anyway, as thankful as I am for a kind of tough mom, I am equally as grateful that my girls can do their math with a hot pad and read their books in a warm bath when period cramps rear their ugly heads. I think it's utterly great that my boys can sleep off a cold and not be penalized for their absence from the classroom. And as a mom who errs on the side of tough, it has been very good for me to learn to be more compassionate and tender.
Try to step back and look at the big picture, too. Did you have a crazy weekend, making Monday difficult on everyone because they're just plain tired? We often take Mondays slow because we live our weekends to the fullest. That's ok; plenty of time to make up for it the rest of the week. Allergies? Boy howdy, I have one child who simply can't function most months out of the year because he is so smacked down by allergies. He gets a free pass from mowing our acres of lawn.
There are sweet moments to be had. I remember reading a book by Sally Clarkson in which she tells of the middle-of-the-night hours she spent with a sick child and how those hours allowed them the time to tie heartstrings and pray together. That's a simply beautiful opportunity, particularly in a home where lots of children reside.
Where can you be a little tougher? Do you have a child who plays the "I have a headache/toothache/ingrown toenail" card to weasle out of responsibilities?
And where can you show some tenderness? That's the one I have to ask myself most often.