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Old 10-08-2009, 11:03 AM   #1
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When your job impacts your child

I have a job that I love, I'm good at, I think is very important, and provides me and my son with security and a decent standard of living. As a single parent I feel really fortunate that if I have to work I'm doing something like this. Usually I manage the working and parenting thing just fine, and then there days like today when I feel like the worst mother in the world.

My job involves working with children with special needs and their families. Today we had an emergency meeting for a child in crisis. This meeting had to happen today, and the only time it could be scheduled was early in the morning. I made the decision to bring my 10 year old to the meeting (he wasn't actually in the meeting, but in the waiting area with a book). I really hoped that I'd be able to sneak out and bring him to school on time, but it just didn't happen. At the moment he would have had to leave we were in the midst of a really heartbreaking decision making process, walking out just didn't seem right.

So, I dropped him off 20 minutes late. All he missed was "morning meeting", but he still walked in late, which as a kind of shy kid who loves the please the teacher, I know he hated. Furthermore, when I dropped him off I reminded him that I had another meeting scheduled at exactly the time when I'd need to pick him up from afteschool play practice, so my mom would be getting him and taking him back to her place. She'll help him with his homework, and I'll meet them there for dinner. This was our Thursday routine last year and he was fine with it, but this is our first time doing it this year and he said he'd rather go straight home.

Anyway, he got out the car in tears (it's also allergy season for him, so he hasn't been sleeping well and by the end of the week is exhausted). My heart was breaking for him.

Not sure if I want to vent, or get some constructive ideas.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:11 AM   #2
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, Mom! It's o.k.

I can't tell you how may times I stewed all day about something that happened in the morning before school that upset my girls. I can't remember one time that they brought it up again later on, except the day we had a fender bender on the way.

Kids get pretty wrapped up in what they are doing during the school day. He has probably already forgotten about it.

I am a working mom, too, and often feel guilty about it. We are all doing the best we can to raise our children the best way we know how.

Here's my suggestion. Do you have a neighbor or friend who might be able to get your child to school if something like this happens again? Is there someone in your office that you trust who could run him to school? Would your mom be able to being him to your house after school until you get home? Could he go to a friend's house?

I tend to have lots and lots of options for unforseen issues that seem to arise at the last moment. Think about it and work with him. It will all work out.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:17 AM   #3
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I think the PP had some good ideas. Don't be afraid to ask nieghbors and parents of your son's friends to help you out when needed.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:19 AM   #4
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I've never had a job that was more important than my child. Never.

Which ball are you willing to drop? If it's your child, then you need to make alternate arrangements with a friend or neighbor to make sure your child gets where he needs to be on time.

If it's your job, then you need to schedule meetings when it won't interfere with his normal routine.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:19 AM   #5
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I am a sahm and have had days like that where things happen and it doesn't run the perfect way I would like it to(or that my kids would like it to) and it makes me feel awful.

But what I will say is that generally the kids have forgotten about it all well before I do.

The only suggestion I have is maybe sitting down with him and working on a plan to avoid that in the future. Like maybe he would prefer to be at a friends house in the AM. (a neighbor so he could just take the bus like regular days)

And on the coming home- he is getting older and is testing the waters to see if you'll leave him alone. I think the grandma solution is one that will work fine once he sees how smoothly it makes his evenings. When he gets his work done, and when you guys get home maybe you can do something special. Like play a game? So it's a treat to go to Grandmas and then come home with homework done.
You're doing a great job!
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:21 AM   #6
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Oh, OP, don't be too hard on yourself. Being a single parent is hard and you're doing a phenomenal job.

There will always be days like the one you describe, where it just doesn't seem to work. But over all you're teaching your son some very valuable lessons. As a child of a single mother I can tell you that I grew up knowing sometimes work was hard and inconvenient. Other families seemed to have it so easy and always had so much money. Their children are now the ones with huge debt loads because they feel entitled to things without having to work for them as they were "protected" from seeing all their parents had to do to provide for them.

I also learned my work ethic from my mother. I saw every day that she cared about what she did, it wasn't just a job to her. It inspired me to find a job I truly enjoy.

There are definitely times when work need to be put aside and you need to let your little one know that he's first. But I don't doubt for a second that you do that. This was just a hard day, nothing more.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaraJayne View Post
I've never had a job that was more important than my child. Never.

Which ball are you willing to drop? If it's your child, then you need to make alternate arrangements with a friend or neighbor to make sure your child gets where he needs to be on time.

If it's your job, then you need to schedule meetings when it won't interfere with his normal routine.
I don't think the OP thinks her job is more important than her child. That's a pretty big assumption, IMHO. If anything, the anguish in her post says that she is very aware of the impact this day had on him - hardly the feelings of a self absorbed workaholic.

It's also a fact of life that sometimes a job has to be put first. Not all the time, or ever most of the time, but sometimes. No, it's not ideal. But the whole roof of the child's head, clothes on his back and food in his tummy is important. And when you're a single parent, that's all on you. If mum loses her job, then what? Yes, she'll be there for him 24/7 but their quality of life will sure be reduced.

I just knew someone was going post a harsh and critical response. I'm just sad to see it happened so quickly.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey'snewestfan View Post
I have a job that I love, I'm good at, I think is very important, and provides me and my son with security and a decent standard of living. As a single parent I feel really fortunate that if I have to work I'm doing something like this. Usually I manage the working and parenting thing just fine, and then there days like today when I feel like the worst mother in the world.

My job involves working with children with special needs and their families. Today we had an emergency meeting for a child in crisis. This meeting had to happen today, and the only time it could be scheduled was early in the morning. I made the decision to bring my 10 year old to the meeting (he wasn't actually in the meeting, but in the waiting area with a book). I really hoped that I'd be able to sneak out and bring him to school on time, but it just didn't happen. At the moment he would have had to leave we were in the midst of a really heartbreaking decision making process, walking out just didn't seem right.

So, I dropped him off 20 minutes late. All he missed was "morning meeting", but he still walked in late, which as a kind of shy kid who loves the please the teacher, I know he hated. Furthermore, when I dropped him off I reminded him that I had another meeting scheduled at exactly the time when I'd need to pick him up from afteschool play practice, so my mom would be getting him and taking him back to her place. She'll help him with his homework, and I'll meet them there for dinner. This was our Thursday routine last year and he was fine with it, but this is our first time doing it this year and he said he'd rather go straight home.

Anyway, he got out the car in tears (it's also allergy season for him, so he hasn't been sleeping well and by the end of the week is exhausted). My heart was breaking for him.

Not sure if I want to vent, or get some constructive ideas.
Really, don't worry about it. Honestly, things happen/come up, and kids are late to school or absent for many reasons all the time. Last year my ds missed a week of school when my dh (who was living in a different state at the time) was getting ready to deploy and then another week when he came home. Was it ideal? Of course not, but things happen. I also dragged my ds to work with me for a few minutes, after I had taken him to a Dr.'s appt., because he was sick (he wasn't horribly sick, or horribly uncomfortable,) and it really would have been ideal to be able to take him straight home, but there were a couple things that I had to get done for a case that was going on. Did I feel bad, yes and I apologized to him, but sometimes in life things happen, especially for single parents. You're doing the best you can, and are able to provide for your ds and you obviously love and care about him immensly... it's okay, he'll get over it, and I'm sure when he looks back at his life someday he'll be able to see that you did everything you could for him. I know it's frustrating, but especially in your situation, honestly what can you do? You can't quit your job, that would put your son in an even worse position, and honestly what happened, really isn't that bad IMO.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:37 AM   #9
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OP, you did fine. I think you did the best you could under the circumstances. If your job required you to make him late every day, I have no doubt you'd make changes that would be the best for your child. Emergencies do come up at work and whether you're a single mom or a married mom, our kids should be flexible and strong enough to handle minor inconveniences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaraJayne View Post
I've never had a job that was more important than my child. Never.

Which ball are you willing to drop? If it's your child, then you need to make alternate arrangements with a friend or neighbor to make sure your child gets where he needs to be on time.

If it's your job, then you need to schedule meetings when it won't interfere with his normal routine.
I don't see ANYwhere in the op's post that she said her job was more important than her child. Just curious if you are a single working mother. Working parents, single or not, tend to find importance in putting food on the table and having a roof over their heads.

Most 10-year olds aren't such special little snowflakes that their routine can't be shaken up occasionally.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ember View Post
I don't think the OP thinks her job is more important than her child. That's a pretty big assumption, IMHO. If anything, the anguish in her post says that she is very aware of the impact this day had on him - hardly the feelings of a self absorbed workaholic.

It's also a fact of life that sometimes a job has to be put first. Not all the time, or ever most of the time, but sometimes. No, it's not ideal. But the whole roof of the child's head, clothes on his back and food in his tummy is important. And when you're a single parent, that's all on you. If mum loses her job, then what? Yes, she'll be there for him 24/7 but their quality of life will sure be reduced.

I just knew someone was going post a harsh and critical response. I'm just sad to see it happened so quickly.
ITA. I saw that post and I don't think OP is asking if it's okay to "drop the ball" on her son It's about balance and if someone has a job that NEVER interfiers with their life, well congrats, but for the majority of the world, it doesn't work like that. OP stated very clearly that the meeting COULD NOT be moved. It's really sad that someone would take this oppurtunity to make themselves feel good by stating how great of a parent they are because they would NEVER let their job interfier with their child...congrats, you're pretty special.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:38 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaraJayne View Post
I've never had a job that was more important than my child. Never.

Which ball are you willing to drop? If it's your child, then you need to make alternate arrangements with a friend or neighbor to make sure your child gets where he needs to be on time.
She never said her job was more important than her child, that's quite a leap. If she had known the meeting would run late, I'm sure she would have made other arrangements. He was 20 minutes late for school, it's not a life or death situation. If you are in a position where you never have a conflict like this you should consider yourself lucky rather than beat up on the OP. She obviously feels bad enough already.

OP-I bet he'll forget about it more quickly than you.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:39 AM   #12
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I don't think that part of our job as parents is to make sure they NEVER have a disappointment. Things come up -learning to cope with the things life throws at you is part of growing up.
He has probably forgotten it already.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaraJayne View Post
I've never had a job that was more important than my child. Never.

Which ball are you willing to drop? If it's your child, then you need to make alternate arrangements with a friend or neighbor to make sure your child gets where he needs to be on time.

If it's your job, then you need to schedule meetings when it won't interfere with his normal routine.
Oh please get off the high horse. The OP never stated it was a contest of what is more important. Life happens and sometimes, usually for me at least, several times a day you have to repriortize. Emergency happen when it's not the best time for us. That's why it's an emergency. Her son is well loved and taken care of which is the most important thing.

Op, I'm a product of a working single mom. I'm a very normal well loved knows my mom worked her behind off daughter who would walk through fire for my mom. Things happen, shake it off and make something fun with him tonight for dessert.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:49 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaraJayne View Post
I've never had a job that was more important than my child. Never.

Which ball are you willing to drop? If it's your child, then you need to make alternate arrangements with a friend or neighbor to make sure your child gets where he needs to be on time.

If it's your job, then you need to schedule meetings when it won't interfere with his normal routine.
Since my job is what puts food on my child's table and keeps a roof over his head, it's just not that simple. Feeding my child is not "dropping him".
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:50 AM   #15
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keep your chin up! You are doing the right thing for him and for you. You did the best you could under the circumstance and the other posters are correct he will probably forget about it before you do
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