Before I got married and had kids, I was one of those guys that came to work early, left a little later than 8 hours, never called in sick and rarely took vacation or missed work for any reason. Why? Because I hardly got sick and work was way too much fun to need a break. And of course, it was beyond my realm of imagination to lie about being sick just to get out of work. And even when I had the flu, why sit around moping at home when you could get paid at work (yeah I know I could have taken sick days).
So while I didn't exactly disdain people who were routinely out for kid-related reasons, I didn't think they were super reliable. At least not like me. Oh no, I was a rock. Want someone to work Saturday morning, sure thing! Want someone to track down a production problem at 5pm? Am your man.
So now that I have kids and in the 5 months since they were born , I can honestly say I have missed more days of work than in all my 11 years of working professionally put together. If the baby sitter doesn't call out one day, they'll have a cold. Or a cough. Or a routine doctor's appointment. Or an immunization appointment. Or the baby sitter herself will have an appointment and thus the kids have to be picked up early. And they are only just 5 months old!
Thankfully, my boss and co-workers all (for the most part) have kids. So maybe they'll be more understanding that I was. My days of 100% attendance are over. My days of carrying the max amount of vacation from year to year are over.