Tuesday, August 22, 2006

when kids rule the office

i have a female boss. now in the business world, that can go either 1 of 2 ways. she could either be really, really cool... or she could really, really suck. there's rarely middle ground when it comes to having a girly boss.

my boss is awesome (no, she doesn't read this blog). honestly- she is really an awe inspiring woman. i don't know how she does it all. i really don't. and everyday i ask myself just how she manages to balance being a mom to 2 kids who are very demanding upon her time, and running this show- which is a nightmare all in itself. i've come to the conclusion that she doesn't sleep. ever. the proof is in the numerous 2, 3 and 4 am emails i regularly get from her.

we were talking yesterday about our kids. and we were discussing how they "need" us and it struck me that it won't always be this way. they won't always need us there. hell, they won't always want us there. and i expressed to her that being there for our kids, and giving them that security should be our highest priority. and she agreed. we talked about how in the grand scheme of things, our jobs aren't what truly matters. our kids are. and this time goes by so fast- before we know it, it will be gone. it made us both sad to think that so much of their lives will be spent without us. there was that moment when nothing was said between us, but i think we were both thinking the same thing.... when does working this hard just become not worth it? like, when does working so hard that you're taking away from your kids (instead of giving to them) become something that you just don't want to do anymore? because your kids and their well being, and being there with them, and for them, just means more than bringing home that extra money. i say all of this as if i have a choice in the matter. as if i even have the option to not work. i don't, but that's not the point.

i like that my boss thinks this way. she is an extremely hard worker, but when it comes to prioritizing- her kids are on top. and they should be. but in this day and age, i feel like they rarely are. like her way of thinking is totally out of the ordinary. and that's just sad. when i worked for disney, there was this 1 female boss who was a freaking psycho. she would have her kids and then be reachable by email and phone the next day. seriously. who wants to live like that? and why?!?! TAKE A FREAKING BREAK! i felt that she was the type of boss who would never understand wanting to put your family first, because she never did it. and if she wasn't going to do it, you sure as shit weren't. you know? i guess it's just refreshing to have a boss that loves her work, but loves her family more. a boss who works extremely hard on this show that we're creating, yet works really hard on her family too. a boss who when it comes down to the choice of being at the office, or spending time with her kids, will choose her kids 99% of the time. and there shouldn't be a backlash against that. wanting to spend time with your kids while they're still kids, shouldn't have a negative impact on your career. especially if you're getting all your work done, and still creating a top notch show. i wish the balance was easier. or had clearer lines. or something. it's a neverending battle this whole working and being a mom thing, huh?

25 comments:

Becky said...

yep. it sucks. i wish, SO WISH, i could stay at home. or work part time or something to be home more. i never thought about that---that this is the time that we have them and that the majority of their lives are spent w/o them needing us.

Tina said...

I agree 100% with this. My kid does come first. Even though I don't want to stay home everyday all day with her, I damn well want to be able to go to her class parties, go to her dance class, recitals, practices, or just take off half a day to spend with her. I also realize that I'm one of the lucky ones....I'm able to to all of these things with my job.

mothergoosemouse said...

I think you're right on about the two extremes. I've found the same to be true as well.

And yes - when I worked, I loved my job. But I never made excuses about the fact that my girls were my top priority.

Melissa said...

Yups, it never ends. At my job, kids are rarely mentioned. When I used to have to take work home with me, no one cared if I was going home to my 10 month old child or not. They just expected the work done the next morning.

But in my world, my kids and husband are number one. Even if that keeps me from getting promoted.

Now I seriously wonder where you work. ;)

Piece of Work said...

It's tough because there doesn't seem to be a solution that works out well for everyone. You are really lucky to have a boss who actually understands, and wants to be with her kids too. I've had bosses before who SAID that, but didn't really mean it.

Mieke said...

I think it is a never-ending battle! I think we as moms are put in an unfortunate situation of being made by co-workers to feel bad if we put our kids first. My boss recently asked me why I always leave the office at a certain time (I make my own hours) and I told him it was to pick up my daughter from school. He asked me if I ever thought about putting her in after-school care. I said yes, but I try not to so I can spend some time with her.He just raised his eyebrows at me. He doesn't have children. And he's a man. You are right, they are only small once and they need us now. It is a hard, hard balance, but our kids will remember that we tried to make them #1.

Pattie said...

Jen, I don't work, but some days I wish I did! :)
Anyway, I think whether you work or not, our children are transient in our lives. They are going to grow up and become independent adults...that is our job. We should enjoy them now...tomorrow will come soon enough.

Izzy said...

I don't work outside the home but until a couple months ago, i did work for someone else. I had a boss. A man boss. And he tried to be understanding but I think deep down, he found it annoying that I worked late at night so I could be with the kids during the day and that I would bring the baby to meetings. Anyway, I can't speak to your situation because mine is a little different but I applaud anyone who can work and be a great mom because keeping that balance has got to be challenging.

Holly said...

Amen, sister. I think more and more women are beginning to come back around though. And, thankfully, more and more jobs are available that allow for us to put our kids first. Your boss sounds similar to my own, lucky us!

alison said...

I'm fortunate to have a career that allows me to spend a lot of time with my kids and husband. I tried staying home and it wasn't for me. I like the balance of working part-time and being home with my kids too, and when I start to feel guilty about all of it, I think about what a good role model I am for my little girl. All of us mommies are!

Grim Reality Girl said...

I used to try to DO IT ALL vs. balance things. This wrecked my health and made me opt out on my career when I burned myself out. I think it is getting better for working moms, but we are not there yet. I'm happier now with a lower paying job and less self inflicted pressure.

All of my female bosses were trying to prove something. Male bosses didn't seem to realize how much multi tasking a woman can accomplish. I'm glad your new boss has her priorities right -- this makes it so much easier for you.

Good luck! Being a working mom is hard. I'm still jealous of the stay at homes (and I DO respect what they do!! Thanks for all the volunteer work you do at the school SAHMs!!!)

Mayberry said...

One of the reasons I am able to balance working and mom-ing is because I do have a boss like yours. She has 3 kids and is the BEST. She's the reason I have been telecommuting from halfway across the country for 2+ years!

Sarah said...

Nice post. I hope your boss also realizes that other people have priorities, hopes and dreams outside of work - kids or no kids.

It sounds like she realizes it for moments, but to truly practice what you preach you have to allow the same leeway for those around you.

One day my kids will come first. But for now, it's me and my life. I have to remind myself that fact every day despite the pressure from my boss and the show that I am on.

Today I am not sure that it's all worth it. I am paying a hefty price at 30 years old. ALL around me, myself included, I see health and happiness deteriorating. It MUST be rectified for us to deliver.

For your boss...I do hope that the moment where there was silence in your conversation that she could also think about the 'children' on her show.

Mike said...

There's an old saying, "Work to live, not live to work." Why have a family if you don't enjoy spending as much time with them as possible?

carmachu said...

THAT is great. Your right, a woman boss can be a good thing, or it could be hell. Nothing in the middle.'

Kids come first. I'm lucky enough that while I own my own business, I can juggle things around to be there for her, and do things with her, or hell, she comes to work with me and stays with me at times.

Its hard, but its worth it.

Stephanie A. said...

I'm very lucky in the fact that I have great flexibility with my job. I work from home two days a week, I work strange hours so that I can spend the afternoon with Hugo, and if he is sick I'm able to go to take care of him. When he was having many problems with his ears my boss (female) even hugged me and told me to take care of him first. While, yes, I would anyway, it is nice to have that reinforced. To know that it will not be used against you is such a relief.

On the flip side, my last boss (female) made my pregnancy a living hell, even when I had doctor's notes specifying my needs. Even my OB knew how evil this boss had been toward me and evenutally forbade me from going back to work. Not because of my health, but because she knew my boss was treating me unfairly. That said, I knew that our feuding during my pregnancy would only make things worse for when I actually had a kid, so you can imagine my elation when she quit.

So, considering that I was expecting to have a not-so-flexible work environment, but now I have a kind boss, well, I'm very pleased.

Jenn said...

Like you I don't have a choice but to work, even though I'd love to be able to stay home.

I was amazed at my transformation after having a child. I used to be all about getting ahead in work and going to school and now I could care less about it. It brings $$ home to pay the morgage. That's it.

penguininthesun said...

If I ever have kids, I hope I get to spend time with them and have a good relationship with them. you rock jenn! apparently, your boss does too!

jen said...

My job is pretty understanding when it comes to kids. It seems like we all have them, and we constantly talk about them. I asked for my old staff job back when I decided to quit traveling, and my boss told me that her son was also the reason she quit travel nursing.

When I start to think about how I hate working, then I have to think about how i'd never be able to do the things I do with my son if it weren't for my job.

spidey said...

I'm not there yet, but just imagining the idea of working and being a mom is frightening! Good for your boss--and you and all of the other fabulous working moms in blogland!!!

Nancy said...

You are lucky to have such a boss -- I agree, in my experience female bosses tend to be great or horrible. I don't know why that is?

One of the reasons I left my last job was that I had a boss (female... hmm) that preached the "family friendly" until the cows come home, but god forbid I didn't spend the extra hours at work in the evening to finish a project, or check my e-mail at 5 AM to look for her response to an action. My current boss is much more laid back, even though he doesn't have kids, and I enjoy walking away at 4:30 every afternoon and not giving work a second thought.

FFF said...

Before I had a child, I used to get really mad at the men in law firm who would write off a woman once she had a baby. "She had a baby, not a lobotomy," I'd say. "She's just as smart and hardworking and dedicated as ever." But then I had a baby. And I realized that for many, priorities do change. Not for all. But for me, I wasn't drawing my sense of core happiness from my job. It was from my family, which got priority, so work came second, so even though I was just as smart and hardworking, I wasn't giving 100% of myself to the firm. Does this make sense? It's like, 2% of my brain was always on my baby, and wondering how he was doing in day care.

Nowadays as I try to accomplish the work like balance, I find that on some days, my kid and family life wins straight up. Doctors appointments, Sears portraits, etc. But on some days, before a big trial, or motion that's due in court, work wins. But on my own personal life scale, at the end of each month, my family comes out ahead. And I'm okay with that! :)

Plunky said...

I don't have kids yet but I wish there were more women that felt it was ok to put their kids before work. I honestly wish men would too. As Americans, we work SO much more than the rest of the world. Now we even have stopped taking vacation time. It makes me crazy because our kids pay the price. I think though, as long as your child KNOWS he comes first with you, that is all that matters. Truly.

Meg said...

Wow! That is so rare that you find a boss like that. She sounds like a keeper! Too many people don't take time for their kids these days and it's really sad. I'm so glad that right now I'm able to stay home with the kiddo. I know in another year or so I will be back at work, so I'm relishing every moment I have right now.

Virginia Belle said...

i bet she's really organized. like, crazy organized. like martha stewart. that's the only way you could do it, i think.

you're lucky. my boss....well, let me just say she leaves something to be desired.