This post is by TheNotMom team writer Laura LaVoie:
“It’s okay, Laura can work until close on Halloween so I can get home for trick or treating with my kids. Laura doesn’t have any kids.”
While part of the statement is true – I do not have any kids – the other part makes a pretty strong assumption. Just because I don’t have kids doesn’t mean that I avoid holidays geared around kid-heavy
activities. For my former co-worker’s information, Halloween happens to be my favorite holiday. I decorate the house and plan elaborate costumes. I sit on my front porch with candy and a camera. Sure, I’ve even dressed up my cat.
Why am I going on about Halloween in March? It’s only the most concrete example. For the working NotMom, these kinds of things happen all the time. Conferences, baseball games, birthday parties, illness: all of these things add up to more perceived time out of the office by the Mom, and consequently, more catch up to be performed by the NotMom. In reality, it may not be as unbalanced as we think it is, but perception is reality.
How do we strike a balance with this kind of experience in the workplace?
There are a lot of factors. It depends on the size of the organization and how the management team will respond to situations. It might be to the advantage of the Moms and NotMoms to forge an alliance rather than an adversarial relationship.
Women without children want Moms to know that we are not the enemy. The only frustrating part is that we sometimes feel as though we are not given the same flexibility in our jobs. We understand that if a child is sick, it is extremely important to care for him or her. Perhaps some understanding can be shared with us as we are dealing with things that Moms may not consider to be a crisis.
Why not trade our flexible schedules? When a mother needs to leave two hours early for an important championship baseball game, she might offer to cover for me if I head home early on a day of my choosing. The relationship doesn’t have to be oppositional.
Building up resentment doesn’t make for a productive office environment in the first place. It is more likely we all become bogged down with gossip and office politics rather than concentrating on the required workload. All of us are professional women; so, let’s build a partnership in the office and work together. A good work/life balance is our common goal.