The best part about taking time off from my blog is that I can say it's my way of being family-friendly. See, I practice what I preach! I'll see you in January.
Sara is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of http://www.nannypro.com/. Learn more about her by visiting http://www.nannypro.com/blog/sara-dawkins/.
Every parent wants to be a good mom or dad. But when you have commitments to your employer as well, sometimes things can get tricky. What do you do when your children get sick and they have to stay home?
How you handle the situation depends on whether you have other people nearby who can help. Some can simply ask a spouse. Others might have a trusted extended family member that could step in and take care of your child. Do you have a sitter that is willing to take care of your child when they are ill? There are also a few daycares and hospitals that will take on sick children during the day while you are at work.
I was often faced with this dilemma when my children were younger. I worked for a large corporation that actually offered a medical center hospital stay to kids too sick for school or daycare. I never used this benefit, but I also had access to family members that my children loved and knew who could stay home with them during these times. But this may not be an option for you. Many people hesitate to watch a sick child, especially if they are contagious, and this is where the problem comes in.
I was once challenged by a supervisor when I stayed home with my child with the chicken pox. My child was really sick and even though I had access to a close family member and to their dad, my child needed me. It was not that no one else could have cared for them but there are times when they just simply need their mother.
My supervisor (even though she was also a mom) asked me why I did not take my child to the hospital day center and I told her my child needed me. She insinuated that I may be hurting my career to which I responded that my children were much more important than my career.
Now I understand that not everyone feels free to respond this way, that some may be the only breadwinner your family has. When this is the case you will need to prepare in advance and not wait until a child becomes ill to handle the situation. If you do not have a spouse that has more leeway to stay home than you do, look for an extended family member and have them bond with your child before they ever get sick. If there is no extended family close by then find a sitter that is willing to stay with a sick child. Get them to babysit for date nights or while you do your errands so that the child can bond with them. There is no feeling that is worse for me than to leave my sick child with someone they do not know and that you do not have substantiated confidence in.
When there is no one else to care for your child and you must stay home, be upfront and honest with your employer. If you have been faithful in your work and given your employer the time and effort that is due your job, you should be able to take time off to care for your child when necessary. Most employers are parents themselves, but every once in a while you will run across someone who has absolutely no parental emotions or feelings whatsoever even if they are a parent.
Pick the times you take off with your children wisely and do the best you can to build good relationships with those near to your children to help out in a time of need. Maybe even a neighbor or someone from your church. Just make sure to have the child spend plenty of time with these people so that they feel comfortable and you do as well when it is necessary.
These are just some ideas that may work for your situation. It is never easy but all you can do is to do your best in any given situation. Things must go in your child’s favor when it comes to a choice between a very sick child and an employer. Just do your best to prepare in advance and be a faithful employee the rest of the time.
Honestly, I don't even feel like writing this. Recent events make it difficult to even think, let alone care. I don't deal well with tragedy, nor do I deal well with people handing out hatred, whether that's through their words or their actions.
One of the things that tragedy (or even near-tragedy) does to my brain is that it forces me to re-evaluate my priorities. Does it matter if my kids are five minutes late to school? Not so much. Are the ways I spend my time worthwhile when you consider that life and death can be so unpredictable?
I'm trying to work on being positive. Because for every horrible act, there are probably a thousand kind ones. For every person who destroys, there are so many more heroes who make life better for other people.
Humanity lives at the extremes and in the mundane. There is the evil, there is the good, and there is the ordinary mixture of both. The bad stuff has to make the news, but sometimes the good things do, too. Evil seems incomprehensible to most of us, especially at its most extreme, but goodness? That's something we get. Most of us have some kind of yearning inside to make things better, to lift instead of tear down. So instead of dwelling on evil in order to try to understand it, why not dwell on goodness in order to make it part of ourselves?
Sometimes you have to figure out what's wrong in order to fix it. Sometimes you have to determine where you need to change before you can create the good the world needs. Sometimes acts of kindness are complex, and sometimes they're simple.
That's all I've got. Try as I might, I haven't been able not to make these things personal.
In the words of Aesop: "No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted." Never. Kindness matters. Making the world a better place is important, even if that improvement only helps one person.
So yes, for me the news has become personal. But I hope that the end result of the grieving for people I don't know, of watching others be hurt by cruel words, of people using others to get what they want, is that all of us, no matter how or where, can find the goodness within ourselves that's been there all along. And share it.
Sick leave is important, sure, but should some people get more than others?
This post suggests that it's not only a nice idea for pregnant women to get sick leave, but it's also economical. If a pregnant woman is sick or just simply exhausted (I think I can understand that!), giving her time off helps her be more productive.
Not every woman needs it, of course. I worked right up until I had my first baby. I didn't plan it that way, but babies don't pay much attention to calendars and he arrived early.
When you're growing another human being inside your body, strange things can happen. There's the ordinary tiredness and aches and pains. Then there's the weird unplanned-for stuff (I ended up in the emergency room more than once while pregnant--you never know).
I am a big proponent of sick leave. I think everyone should be entitled to it. The question I'm asking today is, should certain people have more? Should there be limits placed on sick leave by employers? What is reasonable for an employer to expect? When does your sick leave start to become a problem for your co-workers who are covering for you?
Making rules to cover sick leave is difficult, and I don't know of very many employers that explicitly lay out rules for which illnesses qualify and which ones don't. Pregnancy can obviously cause complications. But there are also long-term illnesses and chronic illnesses that make it difficult to perform a job.
But what about taking sick leave when you're not the one who's sick? What if it's a child or a parent needing extra care--perhaps not long-term, but for a few days at a time? Or even your widowed neighbor who's got a bad case of the flu and doesn't have family close by? What if that care requires more time than you're allotted for your personal leave, but you don't qualify for or can't afford to take FMLA leave?
These are difficult questions that many parents and caregivers of the elderly have to ask themselves. Sometimes it has to come down to a choice between their loved one and their job.
Unfortunately for the families and for the employers, something has to give. And I think we can do better.
One of the reasons I started this site, rather than going into business consulting (at least not yet, anyway), was that I wanted to do something to help parents of any class, not just the privileged.
Of course, you could argue that women in the United States are not nearly as privileged when it comes to family-friendly work benefits as they are in other nations. But, for the most part, balancing work and life continues to be a perk for the relatively well-off.
Some of this benefit imbalance might be logistics. If you're a fast-food worker or a health care worker, for instance, it's probably harder for you to telecommute than if you work in a tech field (though even in these jobs, employers are experimenting with new ideas, like McDonald's drive-through remote call centers).
But some of the lack of work/life balance options is simply a class issue. If you are higher up in the chain of command, you're a lot more likely to have flexible work options than someone lower on the totem pole.
In some nations, they have stricter workplace laws to protect workers with families. But even then, it doesn't mean things are perfect.
I believe that flexible work schedules and other family-friendly benefits shouldn't be a privilege reserved for those who peer down on the commoners from the lofty high management perch. After all, most people would choose a job with flexibility over one that doesn't offer it. Family time should not be a luxury that only the rich can afford.
Aren't lower-income people the ones who need time with families the most? If parents have more time for their children, what would happen to the scholastic performance of those kids? How would their health improve? How much would investing in their parents save on costs to the employer and to society down the road?
Passing laws is one way to promote fairness, but is it the only solution? How can we help employers to do the right thing?
Whether you're a boss looking for someone to cover an employee's maternity leave or an employee planning an extended leave of absence, it can be hard to find temporary workers. You know that family time matters, but in many instances, you can't just train someone to take over your work in a day. Sometimes it takes months or years to develop the expertise and skills that particular job needs.
Rather than looking for someone in a pinch or calling your local temp agency, it pays to be prepared in advance by developing a temporary worker hiring pool. Here are some tips to make it work, so that when you need to leave for several weeks or months to take care of a newborn, fly home to help your mother sell her house, or take a sabbatical to teach for a semester in Europe (can I come?), you can assure your boss you've got your shift covered.
Stay in contact with employees who leave the company for greener pastures. Whether you're their former employer or co-worker, make sure their contact information is current and keep them updated on what's going on with the company. With social media, you've got few excuses not to.
Then, when their new employer turns out not to be so nice, they get bored in retirement, or that baby ends up costing more than they'd planned, and you call them with a temporary offer of employment, they just may jump at the chance to come back. And even if it's been a few years since they left, it will be much easier and faster to train someone who knows your industry and the company.
Here are a few potential contacts for your hiring pool:
Jason Miner plays a vital role for www.blogcarnival.com. He is an expert in writing topics of different categories. He is helping the carnival team to grow & working on making this an even better place for bloggers.
There are many of us who work extensive hours every day to provide the life for our families that we want. However, do you realize that extensive time away from your family can be worse than not having creature comforts? Spending most of your time at the office instead of with your family can have detrimental effects over time. Your family could begin to feel comfortable without you around. Instead of a couple, your relationship with your spouse begins to feel more like a roommate role. The finer things in life are the moments of your children's life that will never happen again, not the fancy toys you have in your possession. Structure your time to be a part of your family's life before it is too late.
1. Scheduling - Make a schedule for your time that involves your family. Treat this as important as you'd treat a client. If you wouldn't allow your Secretary or assistant to interrupt your meeting with a client, don't allow them to interrupt your time with your family.
2. Less Responsibilities - Many of us who work in an office setting take on an immense amount of work so we can make that extra dollar. If your family doesn't know who you are, that extra dollar is meaningless. Reducing your workload to increase the time with your family can help create a more pleasant home-life. Isn't your family's happiness worth more than that 52" LCD you want?
3. Working From Home - Bringing your work home with you can be a double-edged sword. On one side, you can spend time with your family as you work throughout the day. On the other, you could become so enthralled with your workload that distractions from your family could cause immense stress. Scheduling time to work at home and balancing time with your family could be tricky at times and could depend solely on the type of work you do.
4. Isolate It - For those who are unable to bring their work home with them, keep it at work. Your family doesn't need to experience the stresses you face in your work-life. Although this is easier said than done in many circumstances, it is a practice that you need to work on implementing in order to keep work stress at work. Try to switch off your work ethics while at home and be a part of your family.
5. Their Needs - There are a lot of people who wind up getting roped in to doing extra work in order to further their career or pay. Although your heart may be in the right place, you could do more damage than good. Missing your child's recital, first baseball game, birthday, and more can drive a stake between yourself and your child that isn't easily removed. The child doesn't care how much money you make, just that you aren't there when they need you the most.
Making time for your family should be your greatest concern. Even for those who have little time to spare, there are always methods that can be implemented to ensure your family doesn't forget about you. The family is the most important aspect of your life and should be second to nothing. Jobs will come and go, but your family is permanent.
Don't let my SAHM status fool you. There are no nice, leisurely days at my house. I am a half-crazed, run-around-till-bedtime, driven-up-the-wall, you-rest-you-die, blur of motion.
If you're the more relaxed type, you could probably give me lessons, but since I'm trying to learn this take-it-easy stuff the hard way, you get to hear my version of How I'm Looking for Zen.
It's not that I can't say no to people (*Oklahoma song running through head*). It's that I don't want to say no to myself.
This can happen to anyone. I've met SAHMs, WAHMs, full-time employed moms, single people, and category-defying wonder women who can't sleep because as soon as their heads hit the pillow, their brains start generating to-do lists. I've heard horror stories from people whose workaholism literally killed them (as in some Japanese people in the documentary Happy). It doesn't really matter whether you're trying to please your overbearing boss or the most demanding boss of all (you!). Too much stress is not good.
I'm not dead yet (*Monty Python movie running through head*). But I have noticed some pain in my neck and shoulders, not to mention an increased level of anxiety that makes me certain that my children are going to get kidnapped on their way to school or that flesh-eating monsters from Mongolia are living in the walls of my house.
Here's what's helping me so far:
How do you keep your to-do lists from taking over your life?
We have a lot of stereotypes about working women. I won't list them all because, frankly, I don't have that much time.
One particularly pervasive myth is that women who work outside the home are focused on money and status at the expense of their families (which is ridiculous, of course, since men are rarely accused of the same fault). I've even heard of women who have high-status careers being criticized for the type of work that they do--as if they should have planned to stay home and, when that didn't work out, they should have worked for minimum wage and kept their families in poverty to show that money didn't matter to them like proper charity cases would do.
The truth is that even women who don't work as waitresses have principles. Many teach, lead, govern, or help because that's what they feel called to do.
This article calls for more women in public service. In the career world, there seems to be some sort of unnecessary division. If you're smart and have an advanced degree, you'll head for Wall Street, medicine, or law. If you've got a good heart and want to make a difference in the world, you'll work at a non-profit for peanuts. But nonprofits need leadership and even high-ranking positions as much as the private sector does. I don't think the non-profit and for-profit words are as neatly divided as the perception.
Some of the old-fashioned career ladder ideals haven't died out yet (move up the ladder or die), but the line between doing good and making money is blurring. Many people move sideways or take a pay cut in order to perform a job they love--and they learn valuable skills while they're at it. Many people want to support their families and make the world better at the same time. Even in the corporate world, there is more pressure than ever before for companies to give back and to show a high level of corporate responsibility, whether that comes from customers, clients, or potential employees.
So if you have to/want to/feel called to work, don't listen to all the guilt inducers who think you're selfish. You don't always have to choose between giving and money. Your work might be doing some good in the world. And maybe your family can learn a thing or two about giving from you.
Today's post is brought to you courtesy of the Sloan Awards.
If you're not familiar with this award, it's a national award given for workplace flexibility. In Utah this year, there were thirteen recipients (here's a list of the winners).
Though I often feel like I'm fighting an uphill battle with the work I do with this site and with the committees I'm involved with, it's nice to know that there are lots of employers out there who are genuinely concerned for their employees and who try to make it possible for them to balance their work and personal lives.
It just makes sense, and these employers realize that. As Mike Cameron of Christopherson Business Travel stated, "Finding and hiring the best people is the easy part. The hard part is keeping them."
Turnover is costly. Some employers felt that they couldn't compete with others by offering high salaries, so they offered flexibility instead. This makes sense when you consider that the millennial generation of workers prefers flexibility to high wages. These employers recognized that family comes first for most of their employees, so rather than reprimanding their employees' other obligations, they accommodated them. The winning organizations felt that it only made sense, because if they took care of their employees, then their employees could take better care of their customers and clients.
Here are some highlights of what the winners are doing to make life better for their employees:
Many business owners said they received advice that they should do the exact opposite by cutting back on benefits or spending less on employees. But these employers believe they're reaping the rewards for caring about their staff. And their employees agree!
This is a place to discuss work and family issues and to help each other, so please keep your comments civil and respectful. We'll be updating our blog regularly with opinions, news, ideas, and guest posts. Interested in contributing to our blog? Let us know.
About me: My name is Kaylie. I'm a mom to three kids who believes that families, not work, should come first. That's why I'm working to help women create family-friendly workplaces.
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