Friday 5 October 2007


It is moments like these when I am reminded how impossible it is fr 2 adults to both have careers and raise a family.

Marc & I have this discussion every time one of our children are ill and must stay home from school and/or the child minder.

Who stays home? Who cancels their entire day in the office and nurses a child back to health?

One of the reasons we choose for Marc to run his own business was so that we would have the flexibility for Marc to stay home in precisely these situations. In reality, because Marc works for himself and his customers depend on him, he finds it quite difficult often to rearrange appointments and certainly if a customers has something going wrong he must respond. If he doesn't work he gets paid. And there's very little opportunity for him to work from home.

Finally, Marc is not a natural carer. He finds the whole sickness thing intolerable.

I on the other hand find mothering, well, intuitive, I will hold my child for hours, if it makes them feel better and eases their pain.

I have quite a bit of scope to work from home although rescheduling meetings is difficult. I can sometimes dial into the meetings. And I get paid when I need to take a day off. Which means that it usually ends up being me that stays home to take care of the children when one of them is ill. I'm sure this affects my career. I feel like I let my colleagues down, I let my team down, I let my company down but I refuse to let my children down.

Abigail's impetigo has meant that due to its contagious nature she cannot go to school or the child minder. Yesterday, I stayed home to take care of Abigail. The sores are nasty and itchy and painful. She is grumpy and doesn't understand. I dialed into my morning meetings but had to give my afternoon meetings a miss as she was particularly uncomfortable and cried for most of the afternoon.

This morning I have a meeting which would be extremely difficult to reschedule. My attendance and participation is required. It is a morning long meeting. So Marc has rescheduled 3 appointments with clients and we will do a midday handover. His clients have agreed to reschedule to this afternoon and I will come home as soon as my meeting is finished.

No one is entirely happy with the solution. Marc and I used to argue about whose career was more important or about the right way to care for a sick child. There was no answer so we don't argue about it anymore. We are both just doing the best we can. We can't ask for any more than that.


Janell said...

Fifty years from now, your colleagues won't recall how many meetings you attended or missed. But Abigail will never forget (in her heart, if not in her mind) that Mum was there to help her through a difficult illness.

Shirley said...

You will not ever want to look back on the years and think you could have done better with the children. The missed meetings will probably never come to mind.

Jackie Kennedy was quoted over and over as having said "if you mess up raising your children, nothing much else will matter at all." (my paraphrase)

Shirley said...

And I hope Abigal gets to feeling better soon.

LaDawn said...

I think that's probably all ture....unless of course, I lose my job and we all end up sleeping in a cardboard box. We'll all remember that!

Anonymous said...

We are fortunate enough to be able to have my wife, Heather, stay home. She does a great job with Little Joe.

If you can do it, its worth it for a couple of years.