My Son is Sick today

My husband headed out of town this morning.
I have important meetings and work to do.
I have no backup childcare in place.
You’ve been here, right?
I bet your cortisol shot up just reading the title.

What to do?

Plan A:  work through it. He’s probably old enough (9) to hang out at home alone during my meetings.  With the magic of Motrin, he doesn’t feel sick most of the time.
Plan B:  ask my husband to cancel his plans.  This is not crazy.  He’s done it before, chairing a Board meeting from the telephone.  He actually admitted that he was home with a sick child and his wife had to work.  What great role modeling for the younger men around that table who might face a similar choice soon.  THAT, my friends, is sexy.
Plan C:  integrate work and home.  Change one meeting to a call.  Offer to host the working lunch at my house.  My son doesn’t need constant handholding, just knowing we’re in the next room.  Work from home the rest of the day.

I am lucky.  My son is not very sick; this is a virus which will pass.  I own my business, so I have no other boss.

A few words about the working lunch.  It is with two of my favorite gentlemen focused on a vital subject:  technology commercialization and driving value out of university research.  These gentlemen are as distinguished as they come:  National Academy of Engineering members, one hugely successful entrepreneur, one hugely successful professor.  They are seasoned citizens; they are wise.  Our lunches are the old-fashioned kind, where we dig into big issues as well as get to know each other.  It’s more than an honor and pleasure to work with them, it’s joyful.  We spend real time.  There are no martinis….but there may sometimes be wine….

But my son is sick today.  I went with Plan C.  You know what they said to my offer to host a lunch here?:

“I am most sorry to hear of your son’s illness. He has the utmost priority this morning, in fact every morning.  As much as I would enjoy your culinary skills  I will cancel today’s meeting/luncheon since I
also have to travel following our meeting.”

Constraint lifted.  Loyalty deepened.
This is integrating work and family, and it’s not so crazy. A successful CEO recently said to me, “for every 1 day you give parents to care for a sick kid, you get 10 fold back in loyalty.”
Leaders recognize what is important.

We will get our work done, but today, my son is sick and needs a little TLC from his mom.


This is a little taste of the new paradigm.  More to come….when my son feels better.

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An Antidote to Our Empathy Deficit Disorder


An Antidote to Our Empathy Deficit Disorder

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