That dread. Your little one gets a runny nose and you just know that your plans for the next day, and maybe even the week are shot. You have missed two out of the last three lunch dates with your girlfriends, and you so need adult company.

Even worse, you’re low on personal days for work, and you’re trying to save them up. Can’t you just give your kiddo a little cold medicine, send him to school, and hope for the best?

When a virus strikes out of the blue it completely discombobulates your schedule, and you just want to make it go away. Who is it going to hurt anyway? You’ll just pick your child up if he’s that sick.

Meet Ben.

Courtesy of Faithograpy, Hilton Head Island. All rights reserved.
Photo courtesy of Faithography, Hilton Head Island. All rights reserved.

When Ben was an infant he got RSV. He was hospitalized for 11 days, and went home on oxygen for over a month. Just from a virus. 

Ben has had pneumonia and bronchitis dozens of times, and every single time he gets a cold, he gets a sinus infection. When Ben gets a tummy bug, it usually means at least a visit to the ER, and often spending the night in the hospital. When my former boss brought her daughter to work with a mild tummy bug, I missed work the whole next week after sharing it with Ben. Ben is on antibiotics all the time in an attempt to prevent serious infections. It doesn’t always work.

Ben isn’t alone. There are many other kids in similar circumstances.

But even if kids like Ben didn’t exist, is it fair of you to share your misery? Do I deserve to miss work or coffee with my girlfriends any more than you do? 

I have to confess, before I had Ben I wasn’t all that convinced that I did any harm by sending a child to school sick. What does it matter anyway? I do it, the next mom does it, if we all do it, then what is the big deal? But it doesn’t matter just to families like mine, it matters to everyone. Just because the next mom does it too doesn’t make it the right thing.

If there is one thing about being a mom that I have learned over my years in this gig, it’s that we are all on the same team; we all want what’s best for our families. We definitely all have our own way of doing things. I mean, whether you choose breast or bottle, that is your business. If you work full-time, part-time or stay at home, that is your business. If you home school, private school or public school, that’s your business. But when you send your kid to daycare or school sick, it’s no longer just your business. It’s a public health issue, and I’m calling you out. Stop it. For me, for Ben, and for all the other kids and parents who need you to do the right thing.

You may also want to read: Common Cold or Not, My Kid Will Go To School

Alethea Mshar

Alethea Mshar is a mother of four children; an adult child who passed away of a drug overdose, one typical daughter and two sons who have Down syndrome, one of whom has autism spectrum disorder and complex medical needs. She has written "What Can I Do To Help", a guide to stepping into the gap when someone you know has a child diagnosed with cancer, which is available on Amazon, and is publishing a memoir titled, "Hope Deferred". She can be found on Twitter as leemshar, and blogs for The Mighty HuffPost as Alethea Mshar, as well as her own blog, Ben's Writing Running Mom on She is also on Facebook as Alethea Mshar, The Writing, Running Mom.