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Thread: Parenting, work and gender - who takes the day off?

  1. #19

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    Default Re: Parenting, work and gender - who takes the day off?

    If dp is home he does it but if he is at work then I do, purely because I can generally get away more easily and I have very generous leave provisions. Sometimes, if I have interviews booked or can't get out of a meeting dp will stay then we will tag team it. It really depends on the day and the situation.

  2. #20

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    Default Re: Parenting, work and gender - who takes the day off?

    As a (former) single parent who works effectively as a contractor (if I don't work I don't get paid) in a job which is almost impossible to have "sick leave" or "leave early due to sick child" it has traditionally been my father (the boys' pop) who has looked after them.

    It will be interesting to see what happens now that DP isn't working - he will be doing the majority Of household tasks Etc and he will care for the kids when they are sick.

    Mind you he is also setting up his own business so things may go back to "pop care".

    The nature of my work, though, doesn't mean I will be penalized for looking after children. However there is a massive glass ceiling for women in my industry, which is just awful.

    Maybe one day there will be change.

  3. #21

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    Default Re: Parenting, work and gender - who takes the day off?

    Quote Originally Posted by wysiwyg View Post
    Working conditions in the US are quite different from here (lack of - statutory holiday entitlements, parental leave, sick/carers leave etc.) and I think these things do have a big impact on peoples views and perceptions.
    I get that, but IMHO the fact remains that there is this prevalent undercurrent in the interviews included that anything under the "family" banner is the woman's job, and she's getting indulgences, taking liberties, etc. I don't understand why it's being painted (through the interviews, not by you) as a gendered issue.

    Now there are some absolute realities that if someone is working from home, whether or not they're doing just as much of the core work they'd be doing at work, it's different, and it often creates more work for the people at the office.

    But I don't see this as being a gender issue - it's a balancing work/family life issue - and why is there the expectation that it will be the woman who will do all the bending and asking and massaging to make it work? It's a family decision.

    That seems to be the resounding feedback from others here - that you as a family have assessed what will work for you. It's not these shapeless nameless men in the workforce deeming that the kids are your job and whatever you can do around that is gravy, so be grateful.

    I've got a friend who works in an office where they have some principals who work part time and lecture part time, and my friend (and I gather some of her colleagues) hate it - whether it's a man or a woman - and they have some admin staff who work part time (all women, as all the admin staff there are women) and they despise that too. Because no matter how much work, dictation, typing, appointment booking etc the part timers get done from home, no matter how much they do outside of hours to make sure their performance is still up to the expectation required (and from what I understand, they do a LOT of extra hours, to make sure they're on top of their work - there's no criticism of that at all) the fact is that those people aren't available for presentations, client interviews, team meetings (I think they tried skype, but after a poo-splosions and a tantrum it was decided it wasn't conducive to ... anything ...), answering the phone, doing the mail, deliveries, and heaps of other stuff. So I hear - and understand - the gripes about flexible working hours, working from home, etc. And from what I can see, it creates resentment on both sides.

    I don't know what he solution is.

    But I do know that it makes me mad to see it painted as a women's issue (or *breathe, breathe*) a "Womens' Lib Issue".

    Because I still see the need for flexible hours, time off to take the kids to the Dr, time off for school interviews or school holidays or whatever else as being a need the family - not simply the mother - has. In the same way as if you have a two parent household, and both parents are working, the cooking cleaning shopping etc remains a two person responsibility.

  4. #22

    Default Re: Parenting, work and gender - who takes the day off?

    It really irritates me when I'm the third person on the emergency contact list and am the first one called. No. Call DH. He's the Daddy, he can leave work, he can take calls while he works, call him. Not me. And even if you cannot contact DH, you call contact #2 on the list (PiL). .
    Just in response to this, in my line of work, the parents are always the first contact before anyone else. I kind of understand if it's a case of your child being ill, but in an emergency, say an ambulance had been called, would you really want you PIL called before you? It would always be our policy that parent 1 and 2 be contacted before anyone else on the list.

  5. #23

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    Default Re: Parenting, work and gender - who takes the day off?

    I wonder peanutter if it's partly to do with the industry one works in. I think some of the issues you describe would be less of a problem in some workplaces compared to others, and not always because of the workplace itself, but rather because of the type of work that workplace does. I know that it wouldn't be an issue in my current job, and probably my past job most if the time, But I have a feeling your industry would have much more difficulty managing some of those issues.

  6. #24

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    Default Re: Parenting, work and gender - who takes the day off?

    My work is quite flexible but I'm pretty sure it's only because my previous boss was genuinely caring and flexible. My current boss puts up with it because it's the status quo and I would be difficult to replace (not impossible but difficult). I can tell from his behaviourand some comments that he is not impressed whenever I our the other part time mum in the office need time off for the kids. It's not so bad for me as dh is often home due to his work hours but the other mum is a single mum of 4 with an absent ex so she really struggles sometimes.

  7. #25

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    Default Re: Parenting, work and gender - who takes the day off?

    It's generally me who has the day off or is called if one of the boys is sick. My work is more understanding (I'm a teacher in a public school) and even though I need replacing by a casual and I need to email work or the day or days it's still easier than DH negotiating within his corporate workplace. He also commutes 1.5 hours by train to the city, so any daycare calls are mine by default. I can use my FACS leave and then my own sick days as well - so I'm paid for the time off. I'm lucky that I also have my mum who is willing and able to have time off to help out as well.

  8. #26

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    Default Re: Parenting, work and gender - who takes the day off?

    That's possible myturn. The book was focussed on "corporate world" and the interviews were everything from accounting, legal, marketing, information systems, sales, and execs of all shapes and sizes.

    I've seen it in all sorts of walks, though. A friend of mine works set hours (part time, set hours) and her husband works 5 days in a trade/labour area. Usually, he's off by a certain time, but sometimes he has to work later. When it came time for the kids to be in school, they agreed between themselves that she would do the drop off (and she modified her hours to accommodate this) and her DH explained to his work that he would need to finish by a particular time, to be able to collect them from after school care. They said that was fine.

    Just words. Not once in the following weeks would his boss/foreman/etc agree to let him go when it had been agreed. The attitude was that you're working here, you get the job done, and your wife can sort out the kids.

    I have no idea about the politics involved with his work, and whether that's something you'd normally get your union onto or whether there were other things he could have negotiated, or whether he just didn't want to put his foot down - but the net result was her DH said to her that she just had to do it - despite the fact that she had explained that it was physically impossible for her to get there in time with the agreed hours, and there was no more room for movement with her work.

    I've seen it in lots of different areas ... but maybe you just hear about the bad examples?

    There are some pretty sensible examples from other BB members below It's nice to hear.

  9. #27

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    Default Re: Parenting, work and gender - who takes the day off?

    I can see that is can be hard for employers. At my work place, we do have a need for part-time roles, along with full-time roles with some flexibility (as able to work overtime at short notice). I can get why they can get cranky for leaving on time, and leaving an open issue for them to deal with. But, I was hired part-time and so were other staff members, so we should not be used against us. We need the spread of people and skills sets, this could not be achieved if we dropped over all staff numbers (to the FTE) and everyone was full-time. We are in a regional area, so skills that we need are hard to come by, so someone with the skills at PT is better than not having anyone at all.

  10. #28

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    Default Re: Parenting, work and gender - who takes the day off?

    Even within industries, there seem to be certain jobs that are deemed more "acceptable" for working mothers. Where I work, there are jobs that are more entry-level, lower-paying jobs that are generally filled with women, and plenty are mums. Then you get to my job level and the ratio of men to women swings far the other way, getting more pronounced as you go up the ladder.

    My employer could say that they'd prefer to employ a male over me, because even ifa male has kids his wife will look after them when needed, whereas I will need more flexibility to care for them. They should never make that assumption though, because the male who takes my job may be the one in his relationship who picks up the sick kids and stays home. I may be a dedicated breadwinner who has my husband called about the kids instead of me.

    In any case, even though I do require more flexibility I put in as much as everyone else by working nights and weekends when needed, I do the hours required to get the job done and I am good at my job. It would be in my employer's best interests to keep me, an experienced worker, and provide the necessary support networks, than to find and train someone new who may not actually be more dedicated.

    I'm lucky that my boss is wonderful, and understanding. He says it goes both ways, you do the hours required to finish the job and sometimes that's more, sometimes less. He's taken advantage of flexibility himself, to see his kids in plays and at sport. So my boss is fantastic, but indirectly there is a lot of pressure from colleagues at my level and upper management to meet targets and if I don't, it's not because of the kids but that is certainly implied by almost everyone around me.

  11. #29

    Default Re: Parenting, work and gender - who takes the day off?

    Quote Originally Posted by ausgirl View Post
    Just in response to this, in my line of work, the parents are always the first contact before anyone else. I kind of understand if it's a case of your child being ill, but in an emergency, say an ambulance had been called, would you really want you PIL called before you? It would always be our policy that parent 1 and 2 be contacted before anyone else on the list.
    DH should be the first call - if he passes it to me, then fine. He'll get it in the neck, not the childcare centre. If an ambulance were to be called, then DH should be called. And this was for a messy nappy and a temperature, not an ambulance. (I know, we weren't talking specifics.)

    Actually, yes, I would like PiL called before me even for an ambulance. The reason being, I am a teacher. I work in a classroom. I do not keep my phone on me. I wouldn't hear the call, get to the phone, leave the building etc. I'd want someone who can easily drop everything and be with my son to be with him, so he was not scared and alone. That means that PiL would be there before I even knew about it, even if I were called first. And I'm OK with that.

    Thank you for making me think about it.

    And while DH's job is great at him leaving for an ill DS, or going to school plays, or working odd hours, they're rubbish at looking after me. So I need to work, can't do school drop off... tough, DH is going abroad for a week. In term time. Despite me providing a list of holiday dates and saying "in these weeks please". Has never, ever happened. Ended up in a place I'd rather not be, just so I can do the school run if needs be. His work can cope with Daddy looking after children, but not a man with a working wife. Bizarre.

  12. #30

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    Default Re: Parenting, work and gender - who takes the day off?

    Flexible working, is definitely a 'family issue' not really a women's issue - although it does predominately impact women at this point in time (but if it is impacting women it is impacting their family too you would think?).

    I think overall the real problem is there is still such a perception that more hours = better job getting done - (which is far from the truth) - I am not sure that it really matters why you are part-time (children or no children) but is the fact you aren't there all the time. Most of the time why people can't cope with you not being there all the time - is because they can't be organised enough to make sure things happen along the right time-lines corresponding with your working hours - part-time working involves more planning and thinking ahead (if you aren't there at their beck and call - it is seen as a problem caused by you, not by their time mismanagement). It is like working with offshore companies, there are cost benefits, but there are also then requirements for a specific way of working, and far more organisation and documentation than otherwise required. It is quite odd to me that employers don't actually do a cost-benefit analysis on it, yes they could be unorganized and have you at beck and call all the time but that is actually costing them money (sometimes to me it seems like they think they are paying you full-time for part-time) and maybe for an extra half hour of planning on their part they could save a days wages. It seems ridiculous to me, in my line of work they would rather pay someone for 40 hours a week who only have 3 years experience, rather than pay someone with 10 years of experience for 25 hours a week who can achieve the same amount of work - why they would rather pay an extra 15 hours of wages just to have my bum warming the seat for those extra hours is beyond me.



    Another element of it for men and women is it is very difficult to get a job that is considered to be 'beneath' your previous positions. For some people (myself included) - I don't necessarily want to work at the level I have previously at the moment, I have other priorities which take up brain power so I don't want to expend myself to the same lengths as I might have before, for me yes the reason would be children, but there are all sorts of reasons people might want to take up a position that is not at the same level (responsibility, salary etc) as a previous one.

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