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A question for working moms

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Old 06-08-2014, 01:17 PM   #1
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Default A question for working moms

One for the working moms

I supervise a small team and one is a mom of small children. She has great childcare (mom in law) and there's no issue with anything on that score. What does bother me though - and this is something I've never encountered at work before - is that she tries to use the fact she has children as leverage with me when she doesn't get her own way, to try and sway things round to her side. I know her family is her number one priority and rightly so.

The most recent example: We have to request vacation time in advance (except for emergency leave which is different) and as there's only a few of us the 'first come first served' rule applies to ensure we have enough staff to cover shifts. We all know this. She came to me about a week ago asking if she could have her son's birthday next week off - when I checked the planner other people are already off so I had to say no. She then became very agitated and said her son would never understand, it would ruin his birthday, and how do I suggest she tells a 5 year old that mommy can't come to his party!

We also have a flexibility clause in all our contracts to say we'll work extra hours here and there as necessary, but whenever it is her turn to stay late she starts complaining that her kids never see her, they'll forget who she is etc. - always in front of another employee who will undoubtedly offer to cover the shift out of guilt over what she is saying.

I've worked with plenty of moms and never seen this before. What do you moms think - am I being the jerk here?
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Old 06-08-2014, 02:12 PM   #2
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I'm not a working mom, but I have been. Her poor planning is not your problem. What she needs to explain to Junior is that Mommy didn't ask for time off in a timely manner and now she can't go to his party that she carelessly planned on the wrong day without making sure she had the time off. I mean, I assume she was at the birth so it's not like she didn't know his birthday was coming up.

Sometimes you just have to be straight with people - you can not use your children to excuse your poor planning or try to manipulate people. If you want time off, ask for it early. Working late is part of the deal. Suck it up, buttercup, and get your act together.

But then I'm direct like that
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Old 06-08-2014, 03:04 PM   #3
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No you're not being a jerk. She's playing you. Don't let her. I agree with above. I would tell her to explain to her child that she foolishly didn't plan very well, and as a result, she won't be able to attend.
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Old 06-08-2014, 07:22 PM   #4
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no, you're not being a jerk....the policies are what they are and if others already followed the policies and got their time off, that's how it goes

however I wonder why someone would plan a big birthday party in the middle of a work day/work week anyhow? how can others even come to it with their jobs?
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Old 06-08-2014, 07:47 PM   #5
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She knew her child's birthday was coming all year so asking last minute is not your problem.

As far as staying late I can understand her not wanting to but she knew that was part of the deal when accepting the job. I made it clear during my interview that I am not willing to work nights and I was hired on those terms, but there are other Mom's that pull crap that the owner didn't agree to upon hiring and it pisses me off because if affects my shift.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:29 PM   #6
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Whats with her waiting until last minute to ask of for a birthday? I know my husband puts in for his days 2 months in advance, and he is on top of that for days off. I'm going back to work tomorrow, but I've worked in the past with kids. I put in for my days as early as possible! I get she wants to be there, but why did she wait until last minute?? I'd just flat out ask her lol
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Old 06-09-2014, 01:01 PM   #7
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I'm a working mom, and it's exactly those types of women that give us a bad name and stereotype in the workplace. One, she needs to plan better. It's not like a birthday is a surprise. Two, her reaction that it will be your fault if he's disappointed is totally out of line.

You did the right thing.
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Old 06-09-2014, 02:06 PM   #8
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I'm a working single mom. Maybe its overkill, but I lay out all my kid's important dates, daycare closed dates, school closed dates at the beginning of the year, find alternate care on the necessary days and schedule time off for the remainders. Except for those unknown things that inevitably crop up later, this is all done by the end of January. It's not easy, but my kid-issues are certainly not my co-workers' problem.
So, no you are not being unreasonable, she is trying to take advantage!
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Old 06-09-2014, 03:27 PM   #9
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Wow I'm so glad it's not just me then! She has used the 'you're not a mom so you could never understand' thing on me before and as there is legislation to protect working parents and their responsibilities here I feel like she is throwing it out there to stir the pot a little. Kind of like how vague statements about sexism or racism would put a manager on high alert.

I did ask at the time why she hadn't booked it in advance as she has known for 5 years that her son's birthday was on a given day and she became defensive saying she forgot because she's a working mom and it's tough etc. I'm sympathetic that she's bummed about not getting the day off, but the rule is there for a reason and she knows that.

There are a myriad of other issues with her work that have zero to do with her being a mom so her complaint is part of a bigger picture. I'm accommodating where I can be (I changed her contractual hours for example to facilitate her dropping off her oldest at school outside of town) but her repeatedly throwing the 'mom' thing into every discussion to try and make things go her way is unfair on the rest of the employees I supervise.
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Old 06-09-2014, 07:51 PM   #10
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Tell her if her children must come first to the exclusion of work, she probably shouldn't be working. Otherwise there are necessary trade offs by virtue of being employed and being manipulative isn't the solution to that. There are plenty of women who manage to do both without being obnoxious.
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Old 06-09-2014, 08:14 PM   #11
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I've always been a working mom and I've never scheduled a birthday party during work hours....besides, who else has the time off to be there anyhow?

on my child's birthday, at dinnertime, we have a special little cake for the family and a special family present....on the closest weekend, either before or after the actual birthday, we have the big birthday party with all his friends....everyone gets to attend, his birthday itself is still celebrated on the actual date, and I've never run across a single problem with this
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Old 06-10-2014, 10:48 PM   #12
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Speak of the devil. We had a girl just start working with us this week and is already requesting a day off for her kid's birthday. Ridiculous.
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Old 06-11-2014, 09:38 AM   #13
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As a mom this makes me angry. I fully understand that my committments to my kids have nothing to do with my committments to my job. Thankfully everyone I work with is very understanding and accommodating but I think that's because I don't pull trump cards or make a nuissance of myself.

I think this particular employee is being manipulative and trying to scare you a little. You have to be cautious, when a person tries to tell you that you don't understand their mom responsibilities because you don't have kids or because you have less kids than they do, those are red flags of someone who is manipulative.

If she is going through the trouble of saying out loud in front of other people that she has to go home to her family then you have the responsibility for standing up for everyone else, you can't allow her to make all the other employees feel that way. Just say "Susan, we all understand that you have important committments outside of work, but we all have important committments outside of work. Everybody here understands that we work in a first-come-first-serve policy regarding time off and everyone shares responsibility in late work shifts."

You just have to stand firm and not try to accommodate so much. With these people you give an inch and they take a mile. You're trying to be reasonable with a person who is not reasonable so being "nice" will not work here. You just have to stand firm. "This is our policy at this job, it's a non-negotiable policy so while I understand that you are upset about having to miss your son's birthday party I also cannot treat the other employees unfairly just to suit you."
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Old 06-11-2014, 03:40 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the replies ladies. I think ultimately there's a disconnect between the flexibility she feels she needs/deserves/is entitled to and what we as a company can actually facilitate. Good to know other moms don't share her outlook!
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knoxie View Post
Thanks for all the replies ladies. I think ultimately there's a disconnect between the flexibility she feels she needs/deserves/is entitled to and what we as a company can actually facilitate. Good to know other moms don't share her outlook!
Oh that's good, say that!
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