Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The mother of all guilt trips

I am a working mother, therefore I have a finely-tuned guilt gene. It comes with the territory.

Right now, the guilt gene is in overdrive. You see, I only go into the office two days a week - Tuesdays and Wednesdays - and this week, Missy has decided that those are the days she will get sick

So instead of attending meetings, developing marketing content, finalising artwork and collateral,  writing a 2000 word article for an industry rag, and generally being an effective employee, I am at home, on the couch, watching over a sick little girl, while trying to do a bit of work.

The watching the kid bit is easy. She's running a fever and is generally lethargic, which means she is lying on the couch and is easily placated by liberal doses of Dora and the Wiggles as she drifts in and out of sleep.

Work? That's the hard bit.

So much of what I do involves interaction with others. In order to write said 2000 word article, I need to catch up with a colleague who knows the subject matter backwards. And it's hard to give valuable input into proposed graphic design changes via email or phone without the body language and robust discussion that goes with face-to-face meetings.

It's times like this when I am really conflicted about the whole career woman thing. In my case, my family is ALWAYS going to come first. And, at the moment, with the winemaker in the midst of vintage, I am, for all intents and purposes, single parenting.

And then the pragmatic business woman in me understands this makes me a risky prospect when it comes to employment.

At the moment, I'm lucky, I can do some of my work from home, and I work in the public sector, which means my employer is obliged to give me the flexibility I need.

But I can hear the frustration in my boss's voice when I call to let him know I can't actually make it into the office for one reason or another.

And I know, when I was the boss of part-time workers, how my eyes rolled back when they rang in sick, or because they had to look after sick kids. (Kids seem to have this uncanny ability to get sick on their parents' working days. It's a fact - someone should get a research grant to examine why).

So what's the solution? Do we go back 30 years to the days of single-income families (I know that I would totally have been one of those housewives dosed up on valium and having it off with the postman if I was at home with kids day in and day out).

Do we offer parents more opportunity to work from home? The problem there is that there are many jobs which just CAN'T be done from home (retail, factory work, staff management etc).

So, any ideas?

(Meanwhile, I guess I should stop the blogging about my dilemma and get some work done.)

1 comment:

  1. I work one day a week (out of the house, that is) and have a terrible family track record for one of us, including me, being sick on that day. Freelancing is the solution, really.