Monday, January 19, 2009

Bad Parenting Confessional: Madonna? or Whiner?

Work is busy. Long days, overtime, the weekend, et cetera. Last week I worked late while my sniffling "how ill is she??" child shared a sleepover with her brother at the grandparents place. I called to say good night. There were tears.


Usually, I am absolute wallpaper to the grandparents. If there is little to be said for the predictability of kids; let's say that goes double for sick kids. In the subsequent hour I did my mind numbing overtime work up to my armpits of the image of my daughter weeping on the phone. I AM evil career woman!!!

Then just to torture myself I followed up with p-man, made my confession. Of course at that point I got the report about his delightful tear-free phone call. How 'Hi Daddy' sounded and what sort of movie and flavour of ice cream she was fully ensconced in about 10 minutes after I had called.


Last night I grappled with how to take a second day off in a month for family illness. Now it is the nuthatch puking and spiking a fever. Work is a mess. I have a lot of customers on call-back queue and I know there are more coming. I wrote an appropriate note to my department at 10:30pm and updated my voice mail. No big deal. Then I wrote a note to my customer group. IDIOT! I actually mentioned in my message to more than 150 people that I would be away because my kids are sick (of course I put it in the form of a cute segue, but still.) So don't you know I am now obsessing** about being 'unprofessional' now.


I have heard a lot from my female colleagues since I have gone back to work about how it was for them. Note many of these colleagues might be 10 to 15 years older than me and quite a few no longer have kids at home. They scoff at the cases of today's working mothers who whine even mention 'I have small children'.... it offends them. (Do they mean me?) They report how when they were working -- back then -- you never mentioned the children. I balk, internally. I hesitate to remind them that few of them worked at all before their children went to school; whereas my kids are only 2 and 4. I get confused listening to their machismo while recognizing them as classic Women's Libbers, the very ones who fought for my mat leave rights. Seems sad?/odd?/[insert right word] that they are disdainful of the fulsome dialogues of family and the workplace in (Canada) in 2009, more so than the men with whom I work... unless something goes on behind my back.

Last year when I was negotiating a return to work I had a long email exchange with my lady boss at the time, she was just of those types, boomer single mom of two. I was jumping through hoops and doing some scheduling wrangling. In the end she did help me out. More than the practical help I appreciate a comment made in the closing on one of her email messages. What she said was I 'having a family and working is complicated'. I think maybe that is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.

**Yes I know, obessing, is crap but did I mention I'm tired. There's your answer.

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Anonymous cheesefairy said...

a long time ago, people would get a shot of whiskey before getting a tooth pulled. I will still whine to those people about my root canal hurting like hell.

tired is rotten. sick kids too. sympathetic 4th waver blows kisses to you.

5:08 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You want to drive Baby Boomer Feminists insane? Mention having a university degree and CHOOSING to be a stay at home mom. ka-BOOOOOOOOM!

You know why I'm not in the workforce? Because it's hard to be a mom. It's hard to have a career. It's even harder to balance the two -- especially if you want retain some semblance of self-esteem. So I coped out -- instead of compromising both roles, I chose one and I chose the one that would give me the most peace of mind, but at times make me feel the least valued by society. And you know what? Society sucks. Yeah. Society is a big gas bag that makes everyone feel like shit.

Erm...was this at all helpful? Amusing? Ah. I fail. Again.

5:48 p.m.  
Blogger Mad said...

Funnily enough, the women in my workplace have been great about my motherhood and about how it impacts my work life but, then again, I work in a library.

Hey, wait a sec...

11:19 a.m.  

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