The childless boss
Are bosses without children less understanding?
It's never easy being a mom trying to juggle a full-time job with a family life. A friend I know was livid the other day. Her boss wouldn’t allow her to go watch her son at an end of year school concert. Her boss told her that there was work to be done, deadlines to be met and she couldn't take the time off. The fact that the boss didn’t have children came up and she felt that if she had children she would have understood what this day meant to her and her child. Is that really a fair comment? Where do you draw the line?
If there is work to be done, can you really blame your boss who also has targets to meet? As a working mother myself I’ve had to miss some special events at my son’s school because I couldn’t take time off work. I sat my son down and told him that mommy will not be able to attend all of his school activities because I have to be at work – this is a sacrifice I had to make, as hurtful as it can be sometimes. Yes, other mothers are always there but not his mom unfortunately and that is his truth.
I think this is one of the realities of being a working mother; not even necessarily a single mother. We have to accept that we will not get time off all the time unless the situation is really serious, then you need to take a stand and maybe speak to HR. If your child is injured and other life threatening situations I get it. Maybe one can put in extra hours to catch up on the work if you know that you need a few hours off? Talk to your boss beforehand and discuss the matter and not expect things to go your way because you are a mother. The key is to get organized, and find the right balance between profession and parenthood. It can be done even though we may not always get it right. Let us not be too quick to judge the boss with no kids.
I will also note the bad side, because another mom had her projects taken off her because the boss felt that she would not cope and the workload because she had children and this was not discussed with her. Being a mother doesn’t make you less of a productive worker. Some moms cannot work until 8pm at night as well – those considerations need to be noted; she's not being lazy or making excuses.
The mother might need to take the child for immunisations and that is the reality and part of being a mother, she is not making excuses. The child might get sick while in the middle of a big project, the last thing a mom needs is to be made to feel guilty because she has to attend to the child. This is a thorny zone for both the boss and the working mom but I hope we can all try and understand each other’s worlds. Do you have a childless boss, and what type of difficulties has she given you about trying to balance your motherly duties in the workplace?