Add some colour to your living room with these punchy cushion designs
Add some colour to your living room with these punchy cushion designs

Megan Burns

Five perfect matte lipsticks that your mask won’t budge
Five perfect matte lipsticks that your mask won’t budge

Holly O'Neill

Slightly Christmassy movies that are totally acceptable to watch before Halloween
Slightly Christmassy movies that are totally acceptable to watch before Halloween

Lauren Heskin

This Glenageary home with a charming double-height extension is on the market for €1.875 million
This Glenageary home with a charming double-height extension is on the market for €1.875 million

Megan Burns

Surrogacy: ‘As soon as I lay a foot on Irish soil I become a legal stranger to my son’
Surrogacy: ‘As soon as I lay a foot on Irish soil I become a legal...

Amanda Cassidy

Cuffing season is upon and singletons need to know what to look out for
Cuffing season is upon and singletons need to know what to look out for

Christina McLoughlin

Children are becoming less resilient and it is because of our parenting style
Children are becoming less resilient and it is because of our parenting style

Amanda Cassidy

These 4 Sofia Coppola films are the dreamy escapism we need right now
These 4 Sofia Coppola films are the dreamy escapism we need right now

Jennifer McShane

Am I supposed to feel joy over a PowerPoint presentation?
Am I supposed to feel joy over a PowerPoint presentation?

Esther O'Moore Donohoe

Nowstalgia: beauty’s most forward-thinking trend? Looking back
Nowstalgia: beauty’s most forward-thinking trend? Looking back

Holly O'Neill

Image / Editorial

All parents need a support network when their child gets sick


by Lia Hynes
30th Sep 2019

working full-time as a single parent when your child gets sick

All parents need a support network when their child gets sick

single parent when your child gets sick

When Liadan Hynes’ marriage fell apart she had to work on adjusting to the new reality. In her weekly column, ‘Things Fall Apart’ she explores the myriad ways a person can find their way back to themselves. This week, it’s how she handles parenting a sick child while working full-time


My daughter was sick twice in the last two weeks. Silent scream. As a single parent who works full-time, it should have been something of a disaster. A friend who has been separated for years once told me that sometimes parenting on your own, each parent individually, is easier, except when they get sick.

When we first separated, I rather obsessively put a system into place to hold things together. Hold us together. Family members slotted into weekly evenings and activities, to help shore things up. The schedule, we called it.

And then things became easier, or I knitted back together and became stronger, and I needed the schedule less. Life needed to be less rigid. We were stronger, and therefore able to be more flexible.

So now we don’t need a schedule. Or such an extensive one. Such formality. I have my own schedule now; with me and her, with her father, with family when I need them. I know when I go off-schedule, away for a day or two with friends, I need to make extra plans so re-entry to real life is easier; prepare the food for when I get back, the school kit needed.

F0rward planning

These are the things you think of when there is not another adult in your house to take up the slack – where is the gym gear before I go away so I will not spend Tuesday morning frantically tearing the house apart for it?

You get better and better at running it all yourself. You get to the point where you want to. Rely on yourself. Except when there is a tear in our time continuum. An unexpected event that throws all into disarray. My child gets sick, and I have work planned for the next day that cannot be cancelled. Another schedule, a work one, which it is too late to unpick.

But the original structure, the framework, is still there to be called upon. I catch my brother before he goes to bed – can you come over tomorrow first thing, she’s sick and I have a meeting.

The following week, sick again. I work while she watches a movie on the couch. The structure of my flexible work catches us that time. I’m lucky. I have a network, and I have flexible work. Invisible nets that catch us when our own schedule breaks down.

As single parents go, I have an unusual amount of support I think. To be honest, as parents go, separated or not, I think I have an unusual amount of support. Many of my friends would be cast into far greater disarray by an unplanned couch day on the part of their child.

We need to stop ignoring all that goes into childcare, into parenting. Everyone should have an invisible support network.

Lia Hynes’ podcast series, How to Fall Apart is available to stream on multiple platforms now.

Photo: PxHere.com


Read more: When everything seems too much, a child can keep you in the here and now

Read more: If you’re losing it over socks, there’s something else going on

Read more: JLo, Brad Pitt and the annoying double-standards of ageing gracefully

Also Read

All parents need a support network when their child gets sick
EDITORIAL
8 easy ways to keep your brain healthy that you can do right now

Your brain health is just as important as that of the rest of your body, says psychologist and neuroscientist Dr...

By IMAGE

All parents need a support network when their child gets sick
premium EDITORIAL
Business Club members get your complimentary tickets to The IMAGE Business Summit 2021

Don’t miss this year’s IMAGE Business Summit, with an expert line-up, skills masterclasses, keynote addresses and more.Back by popular demand,...

By Shayna Sappington

All parents need a support network when their child gets sick
EDITORIAL
5 houseplants we guarantee you can keep alive

For those who buy houseplants with the best of intentions and end up killing them, here’s a selection you’ll be...

By Hannah Hillyer

All parents need a support network when their child gets sick
EDITORIAL
Trinity Tales: ‘Front Square was her garden, and the city was her playground’

Annie Gatling, now Colleran, knew Trinity College was for her when she saw Front Gate from the top storey of...

By Amanda Cassidy

All parents need a support network when their child gets sick
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost, but you need the right equipment, and a lot of...

By Amanda Kavanagh

All parents need a support network when their child gets sick
EDITORIAL
This spatchcock chicken recipe will make your weekend

This is a great way to get a juicy roast chicken, bursting with flavour.     Bord Bia’s Spatchcock Chicken...

By Meg Walker

All parents need a support network when their child gets sick
EDITORIAL
Sarah Harding’s heartbroken mum announces the singer’s death aged just 39

Sarah Harding has died at the age of just 39, her heartbroken mother revealed today. The Girls Aloud star had...

By Amanda Cassidy