20 February 2007

Parent vs. Professional

Last week lil lady wasn’t feeling well and I let her stay home from school. Unfortunately, I had a deadline at work and needed to be there to ensure my work was completed. The entire time I was at work, I worried about lil lady being home alone and prayed that she would not throw up in my bed and also that her condition wouldn’t worsen or require an immediate response. I was wracked with guilt for having left her alone, but Mummy had to work.

Although I have sufficient leave time, I put work first as those I am financially indebted to do not want to her about my sick child if a payment is missed/late or if I’m terminated from my position. Though I’m not at risk for either of two events occurring, there are those who aren’t so fortunate.

It’s so sad that we live in a society that speaks of family first, family tradition, and family values, but we could easily be at risk or fired from our jobs if we take time off to tend to our families. I thought of this on the occasions I called home to ensure lil lady was okay and that she didn’t need anything. To my favor, lil lady is a teen and more than capable for taking care of herself for the most part, but what if she wasn’t? I would have to let the deadline slip and take the entire day off.

To me, age shouldn’t be the defining factor in whether or not one goes to work and leaves their sick child at home. I think I should have simply taken the day off and called to let my lead know why and hope that the deadline could slip or someone else could fill in. My productivity could have been greatly reduced for my worrying, but fortunately, the mistake that I did make was very minor and no one noticed except me anyway. Though that doesn’t sit well with me, my point is clearly made as to what being at work opposed to being at home can cause.

Johnson & Johnson has consistently rated within the top 10 of the top 100 companies for women to work at and it’s also one of the companies I once wanted to work for as they provide many

For the most part, my guilt is over and I felt I did what I needed to do, which was meet the deadline, but go home early to be there for my child. However, there is a still a small part of me that questions why we put work over our families, especially in times of their need.


chele said...

It's the curse of the working mother. I deal with it everyday ... well I used to. My kids are older now and spend less and less time at home. But I think that we rationalize that we have to work in order to take care of our families. I mean, if I was a SAHM my kids would not receive the benefits that they currently do. Should we lower our standards for the sake of being home with the kids? I don't know.

Honey-Libra said...

As the saying goes you gotta do what you gotta do...she knows that you wanted to be home with her...catering to her..that's what I loved about being at home with my mom and even when she couldn't stay home she checked on me so much or had someone else do it that I felt like she was there...

Terry said...

One of the things much of Corporate America constantly struggle with is business ethics and practical values. For the most part, the basic structure of any business, regardless if you’re a simple Ma and Pa store of a corporate six sigma giant, is based on old outdated models.

Moms work now, and as time goes on, for better or for worse, single parent households are quickly becoming the American family norm. American Business hasn't figured out how to deal with that yet.

They need their employees at their desks or stations doing their jobs, but yet they realize that production slips when the employee is worried about external factors. So what do you do? Do you provide more sick and personal time hoping for more productivity from the worker, or do you simply suck it up and see what happens? They know they are putting the decision on you, but truth be told, for them it's the easiest way out.

As you mentioned a few companies are taking the lead and trying to provide a less threatening, more positive environment. Hopefully by filling it with more family oriented thinking they will attract and keep the best and brightest. But those companies are far and few between.

It such a simple question, with a not so simple answer. So in the mean time, everyone will have to choose between your obligation to work, and your obligation to family.

I will say this however, it is easy to say your job is probably temporary, and family is forever, so family comes first. But as Blu pointed out, putting your family first may require your o put your job first.

It's the chicken and the egg at its best.

Sorry Blu, I'm blogging again, but damn if you don't stimulate a lot of thought.

And I love that about you!

T.C. said...

Man that's tough...and you did what you needed to do at the time. I KNOW you wouldn't just leave her for an extended amount of time...that's the way of Corporate america though its all about the all mighty $...and its like you said a catch 22...I am sure she understood and I know she was taken care of...I can only imagine how you felt...

Blu Jewel said...

chele - yes, it is the curse of the working mother and while I know she was safe and she knew I'd rather be there, it still pulled on my heart strings. Even though lil lady is a teen, I still wish I could only need to work from the time she got on the bus til the time she got home.

honey - you were very fortunte in spite of the circumstance

terry - you commentary is okay especially when what you're saying is of worth and merit. it's a catch 22 any way you slice the pie and the sad part is that the job always seems to get a bigger piece.

t.c - yes, she knew i was there in spirit and I checked in often, but you know there's nothing like being there.

jus butterfli said...

this is very interesting! especially since the company I work for (Aflac) has just introduced a new policy called Care Assist that pays you to stay home from work if you have to care for a sick child or family member. But! this is not a commercial, so I digress...

I don't have kids, but I'm always the first one to complain when a person gets jacked on the job for having/wanting to stay home and take care of their babies. I too site the fact that in corporate america, the powers that be (in charge) try to brainwash us into thinking that the companies we work for value family over everything else. yeah-fuckin-right! they mean THEIR families not ours!

for all the ways my supervisor gets on my last nerve, she makes it very clear to everyone on our team that family comes first. she's told us on numerous occasions: "if your child, parent or spouse is sick and needs you, i'd suggest you go home and worry about work later. i'll work with you cause if it's one of my family members i'll have to catch y'all later!" (LOL) and she's been true to her word on that.

well, i guess i've said more than enough, huh?

peacez momma!

Susan Abraham said...

Yes, Blu, I very much agree with you in the comments, that its the curse of the working mother and this happens everywhere.
There are no easy answers. :-)

Blu Jewel said...

jus - your supe is what more companies need because without the support of people like that, employees aren't going to feel secure. they'll come to work while worrying about their families or they'll eventually quite because they feel threatened when it comes to their families. Care Assist programs are for the betterment of all parties and more companies need to enact such programs where possible. As I said J&J provides on site nurseries and infirmaies, in addition to dry cleaners and a few other amenities because they recognize the needs of the working parent.

Su - thank you for your input from another continent on this because many of us forget that this is a global issue.

Rosemarie said...

Being raised by a working mother with two siblings, I can relate to your dilemma and the pull to stay home. Nonetheless, because you are the sole support system for your child emotionally and financially it seems you did the right thing.

I recognize that even though your body left the house for work you remained in contact to meet her needs and covey your attention through the phone line.

Perhaps next time you can try staying home especially if you know it won’t precipitate firing you.

Hawa Bond said...

As the single mother of two boys (age 7 and 14), I face this dilemma more than I care to admit.

I'll never forget the days I felt one was "playing sick," and getting the call at work to come get them from school.

I am fortunate to have the freedom to work at home if I have an emergency, but it's wise not to use that too often.

I also face the dilemma of "non-sick" issues... such as the field trips that I can't participate in. Just one disappointed face makes me wonder how well I'm balancing single motherhood and work.

Thanks for this, Blu.

BZ said...

Girl, parents make the decisions they feel are best at the time. There's nothing you can do to change that. You had to do what you had to do. And, your daughter knows you love her more than your own life, itself. She knows how much you worry because she was on the other end of your phone calls. You are great, simply because you're even feeling this way.

blaqrayne said...

Use this as motivation to keep doing what you do best. Before long, you'll be your own massa'...well, I kinda will be, but you usually end up bossing me around anyway...lol.

A woman on the move said...

It’s so sad that we live in a society that speaks of family first, family tradition, and family values, but we could easily be at risk or fired from our jobs if we take time off to tend to our families. - Too True.

Corporate America doesn’t cater to people with children or families. Then again who do they give a damn about? With so much high technology these days, I feel more companies would adopt policies where parents or spouses can work from home in these kinds of situations.

Yes, we say we care about our children-our future. Yet mommy and daddy are never home because they have to meet some bullshit deadline at work….

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