Childless at Work

Welcome to the Tuesday guest blog. Every Tuesday "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By MustangsII

Last year I started a new job at a large contracting firm in Springfield, Va. During my interview and for the first couple of weeks into my new job, I was told I would be able to telecommute at least twice a week. I quickly found out that in reality, the only people allowed to telecommute in my department were mothers.

Another new employee and I got up enough nerve to ask, after several months on the job, when we would be allowed to telecommute as promised. We were told "no," we were needed in the office. The female project manager, whose kids seem to be in/out of the doctor's office every other day, ran the department 85 percent of the time via AOL instant messaging and e-mail. It was ridiculous!

Other employees and I would send the project manager work that she would forget to finalize. We had to repeatedly ask her about follow-up. She responded to e-mails two months late. Sometimes, I would get into the office and find 25 e-mails from a topic I asked her about months before. Although she said we could call her at home, we would and she wouldn't answer the phone or respond to messages in a timely (one-week) fashion. It was just crazy! She even hired a friend who had a child and allowed her to work from home several times a week. I remember calling this friend on the phone, a deadline pressing, and she was like, "Can you call me back after I put Conan down?" Give me a break!

After several months of this craziness, I and other childless women left the company. We could have left the department and stayed with the company, but we felt we didn't want to stay with a company that allowed this nonsense.

Believe it or not, several months later, I found myself in another position with a female manager who had three children and worked at home three times a week. She, too, was confused and not available when you needed her. I quickly left.

Before you judge me, please understand I am a woman and I do believe in "women's rights" and all that stuff. But what about the majority of mothers who work 9 to 5 every day, in the office, or at least 4 times a week in the office and do a good job at what they do?

When mothers are allowed to work at home and childless women are denied that "luxury," it's discrimination -- plain and simple. Single, childless women have rights and feelings, too. We don't want to be pushed around in the workplace either, no matter who is doing the pushing.

MustangsII works for a government contractor in Tyson's Corner, Va. She lives in Falls Church, Va. She is a frequent On Balance reader.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  April 3, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



Yes it is discrimination.

But we aren't your bosses - so don't be yelling at us.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 8:24 AM

"I remember calling this friend on the phone, a deadline pressing, and she was like, "Can you call me back after I put Conan down?" Give me a break!"

and she was like...

If you're going to write a guest blog, please use proper English.

Posted by: The editor | April 3, 2007 8:25 AM

Let me get my violin.....

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 8:25 AM

This sounds more like a rant than an essay on balance.
I'd love to hear the other side--from her supposedly slacker bosses. I bet you they paint a different picture.

Posted by: anon today | April 3, 2007 8:26 AM

Ooo my Gawd! This is like, so hitting home! My sister's boyfriend's cousin had the same exact thing happen to her. We were like, shocked.

Posted by: No way! | April 3, 2007 8:27 AM

"During my interview and for the first couple of weeks into my new job, I was told I would be able to telecommute at least twice a week."

Did you get this in writing? If not, you weren't guaranteed the ability to telecommunte. Why don't people get their benefits in writing as well as salary?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 8:27 AM

"We could have left the department and stayed with the company, but we felt we didn't want to stay with a company that allowed this nonsense."

Not a very mature response to a workplace issue. It would seem to me that perhaps the company was not aware that her bosses were "falling down" on the job. I think this essay was written by a rather immature 20 something and her point of view a bit skewed.

Can we bring up another topic? This one sucks.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 8:28 AM

And the vitrol begins :)

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 8:29 AM

Boy, does this ring a bell!

It applies to men and women who work from home.

I deal with a lot of vendors who have children and work from home.

Their screaming children in the background are extremely annoying. A lot of these kids are 3+ and could easily be taught to be quiet for a few minutes when a parent is on the phone.

Barking dogs and meowing cats are a lot less irksome.

Because of the distractions, these vendors tend to screw up a lot of orders.

Then I'm on the phone again, listening to the kids in the backgound!!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 8:29 AM

"Ooo my Gawd! This is like, so hitting home! My sister's boyfriend's cousin had the same exact thing happen to her. We were like, shocked."

Someone has a great sense of humor this AM! Love it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 8:29 AM

"Can we bring up another topic? This one sucks."

It like so doesn't!! This is like so important to some of us non-breeders.

If you don't want to read it, just like whatEVER!!!

Posted by: Way! | April 3, 2007 8:30 AM

It's really hard to be a manager and work at home. I tried to work at home a few days a week when I came back from maternity leave and, even though I was accessible by phone and email (my office phone even rang through to my home phone, so people didn't even have to guess if I was in or at home), it was still really challenging to deal with everything. And then when I was in, people would just line up outside my door to talk to me about things they wanted to discuss in person, so I couldn't get any work done those days either. Maybe if everyone was telecommuting, it might work, but if there is an office with lots of staff and an off-site manager, it is just really hard to make it work. Women who are in management or hoping to get promoted to management but want to work at home some should really think about it. No matter what you do, there will be folks who perceive you the way today's blogger perceived her boss. I think part of it may be the suspicion that always comes with working at home--because people don't see what you do all day, they assume that you have time to deal with them and if you don't, they assume that you are not working hard. If you're a manager with a staff that, by definition, demands your time and attention, the situation can be even worse.

Posted by: Arlmom | April 3, 2007 8:32 AM

I read this blog daily, but don't post regularly. However, I'm shocked how rude the posters this morning have been. If this woman had written from the telecommuters point of view (and whined about how it was *so hard* to manage to separate work from home and her partner just didn't understand and her co-workers didn't understand), you'd have jumped through hoops to show your support and commiserate.

As a working woman who hasn't had children yet (#1 is on the way), I'm right there with today's guest blogger. So, she's frustrated. She believed she was going to be able to establish balance in her worklife by telecommuting only to find that the mommies at work were sucking the life out of the place. Her point of view isn't unreasonable.

Maybe instead of jumping to the defense of the mommies, you could hear a point of view from the other side. Show some of the enlightenment you keep bragging about, people.

Posted by: Wow...you guys are really something | April 3, 2007 8:34 AM

Hey, can I have the name of that company so I can apply for a job there? I wish I had this set up and I promise not to abuse it. On a more serious note, maybe this woman did abuse her position a little bit to the benefit of her family. We don't know anything about her. Her bosses seemed to be happy with her so she must have been doing something right. I would guess that in order to negotiate this flexible schedule this woman manager probably had "to earn her stripes" in this company.

I was bothered by this statement: "whose kids seem to be in/out of the doctor's office every other day". If the kids had to go to the doctor there was a reason for it, period. No mother in her right mind would take the kids to the doctor for no reason. Since we don't know the other side of a story, we don't know if this woman manager had kids with serious medical issues and she was trying to balance her work responsibilities and taking care of sick kids to the best of her abilities.

Posted by: envious | April 3, 2007 8:34 AM

oh, good, let's blast the guest blogger again. whether you like it or not, MustangII has as much right to be irritated about workplace issues as the parents writing on this blog do. Grow up people.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 8:35 AM

Next time:
a. get everything in writing, before beginning the job. Without this you don't have a leg to stand on wrt working at home understandings.
b. do your job and expect others to do theirs. If they cannot, will not, for any reason, deal with it the same way: by either leaving the company before the dirt clings to you or document and go up the ladder. It shouldn't matter if it was someone working at home, simple incompetence, or whatever...deal with it the same way.

Please don't blame women/telecommuters in general. You ran into a bad apple. Don't blame the entire barrel. There are many good situations out there. I trust you will find one.

Posted by: dotted | April 3, 2007 8:35 AM

"I think part of it may be the suspicion that always comes with working at home--because people don't see what you do all day, they assume that you have time to deal with them and if you don't, they assume that you are not working hard."

And part of it may come from all the screw-ups made by people who think they can work from home - but really can't.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 8:36 AM

Quit your whining, sweetheart, and go get me my coffee - I was up all night with a toddler with chicken pox.

It's called paying your dues. You don't get to waltz into a company and demand to be given the same privileges as those of us who have paid our dues get. I worked 90+ hour weeks on full-time travel for YEARS before having children. If I take an afternoon off to go home to a sick kid... get over it and be grateful for the opportunity to work for me. I have a lot I could teach you if you'd only stay with the same manager/company for more than 2 weeks. Your sense of entitlement and need for instant gratification is really common in the junior staff these days. And good lord, I'm only 36!

After a decade of working my fingers to the bone, I've taken a couple of years (total) of flexible schedules and lighter workload/travel to raise my little kids. I'm about to make partner and will be working for this company for another several DECADES.

Now, where's my coffee dammnit?

Posted by: Pay your dues first | April 3, 2007 8:37 AM

My office has telecommuting-ability. In general, we can use it once every few weeks because we want and whenever if we have sick children/repair people at home/etc.

We can log into our computers at work and even remote desktop (so it is exactly like we are here - even running on the office computer so same software, memory, etc.)

It's quite nice. Only wish we could have an office phone at home. Would make the work 100% like being here.

Posted by: Father of 2 | April 3, 2007 8:38 AM

Double standards should not apply. I worked for an agency where one woman (two children) would saunter in around 10:30 or 11 and be gone by 2 or 2:30 -- nearly every day. One man and I were always there by 7 -- 4 hours earlier, and had a much heavier project load. Yes, she had a problem child, but for her to be be paid MORE than us for perhaps 20 hours a week when he and I were putting in 50-60. Something's not right. Our boss was in Colorado and SHE signed our timeslips (because she'd been there the longest.

What is fair about that? One summer she had difficulty in finding child care, and didn't come in at all for 3-4 weeks. When I finally saw her, I was shocked, and she reacted ... why do you look so surprised to see me.

She was supposed to be available by phone, but .... sorry, I have to take a shower (9:30 a.m.)

It was infuriating ...

Posted by: Lydia | April 3, 2007 8:38 AM

I think that one thing today's entry shows is that some people _think_ that they are just as productive when working from home, but their colleagues and subordinates have a different view- and maybe a more accurate one.

Please, if you're a teleworker planning to post an angry response to this blog entry and insist that you get just as much work done as your colleagues- ask your colleagues first. You might be surprised.

(Yeah, we all know this blog entry wasn't well written. Can we get beyond that?)

Posted by: randommom | April 3, 2007 8:39 AM

Oh boy . . . you will get little sympathy from the (mostly, but not all) self-righteous folks on this board. Exhibit 1 and 2 are found in the first couple of posts re: "cue the violin" and correcting your english. (Newsflash: it's a blog, folks. Get a grip. How about dealing with the substance instead of resorting to that sort of nonsense. Her concerns are not diminished by the fact that she has no children or writes informally.)

On to your post, I sincerely feel bad that this sort of thing occurs in the workplace. And, I agree, it is not fair. I say this as a woman to teleworks now and will also be doing so when my child arrives in a few weeks. I think both the childless and parents should be treated equally with regard to privileges and meeting responsibilities at work.

I will say that the problem, in my view, is with the supervision. You have had very poor managers who let this sort of thing go on. For telework, like this, to be successful, management has to be strong. They have to hold the poor performing employees accountable for their work.

I do believe that you can telework with children at home. I have a plan worked out with my bosses and they are fine with it. (Of course, my job lends itself to the type of flexibility I have proposed. Not all jobs do). And, I know that I will be held accountable for not maintaining productivity (and that's fine with me). But, again that goes to supervision . . . .

The fact is, the poor teleworking performers that you describe would probably perform poorly in the office setting. Those who perform at a higher level in the office and those who want to be successful teleworkers will continue to perform while at home and will take the steps to make sure their work is getting done in a timely manner.

Posted by: JS | April 3, 2007 8:39 AM

I think every post so far this morning has been from the same anonymous poster.

Regardless, I do agree that Mustang should have gotten the work from home option in writing. There are 2 sides to every story but there are women that take advantage of the "work from home" arrangement and there are those that do it well. Each has to be judged individually.

Mustang, you sound young. If this article is indicative of your writing skills I suggest you take a business writing course. My whole department is getting a 2 day refresher course in May, Senior Mgmt and down.

Posted by: cmac | April 3, 2007 8:41 AM

Why do you want to telecommute, anyway? Because it's a nice perk?

Believe me, as a single person, I've done it. It is soooooooo boring. You aren't missing anything (but maybe a few bucks o' gas and $1.25 to dryclean your blouse).

Posted by: No Way! | April 3, 2007 8:41 AM

I think the two problems are: 1) a privlege was offered to parents and not to non-parents, but also (2) that the people who worked from home abused it. I have seen this with parents, non-parents, single people married people. If you are working from home, that is what you're supposed to be doing - working. We have a work-from home program and htere are people in the office you know are actually working and people that you know are out golfing or watching a movie. Once the boss can prove the slackers aren't actually working when they're out of the office, they are required to work in the office from then on. So, although in the poster's case it seemed to be parents v. non-parents - it really can apply to anyone. And its the manager's fault for not reigning in abuses of hte system.

But, having said that, I do see that parents sometimes get priviledges that non-parents or singles don't. For example, they have first dibs to time off around the holidays. To me, that seems backwards. Assuming their children live with them, they will get to see family on the holidays, even if they have to work some of it. In contract, many single people in the area are not from here and if they are not allowed to take vacation around holidays, must spend the holiday alone.

Posted by: also childless | April 3, 2007 8:41 AM

Really - I am shocked. Maybe this is not the most eloquently written entry, but she has a legitimate point. It is very unfair and unprofessional to operate a business/department this way. Work is work, kids are kids. Plain and simple, if you are working, you should be working. Yes - sometimes things happen and you need to take the kids to the doctor - but every week?

This topic is both about balance and about fairness - sometimes kids will intrude into work, but if it was on the level that the writer indicates, these women were not professional and should not have been in the position they were in. I am not surprised the government would tolerate such inefficiency - this would not be tolerated in private business and shouldn't be. It is not fair for the women without kids to have to pick up the slack and have their performances affected by how the women with kids act. It isn't fair to have one policy apply to one group and another to another group.

I think she did the right thing by leaving - this was not a professional place to work and if she wasn't going have the same benefits as the others and was expected to pick up the slack, but was not compensated for it, then she needed to get out of there if she was not happy with it. Sticking around when you are outnumbered isn't going to change anything. I absolutely have been there - although the problem was a different one - and in one week, three of us walked out of the office. There isn't any reason to put up with abuse - in this case, the moms were abusing their privileges and this women was abused by not having the same privileges at all.

Posted by: star11 | April 3, 2007 8:42 AM

Again, this is not hard. You can have it all, all at the same time, but nothing will get done well. Places of business are just that. If you can't do your job in a timely, efficient and appropriate way then you don't belong doing the job--it doesn't matter what the reason. The occasional home with a sick child is different than asking an employee or co-worker if you can call them back after you put your child down for a nap. Why anyone would look at the above situation and make excuses for it is beyond me. Life isn't actually an Enjoli commercial.

Posted by: Chris | April 3, 2007 8:43 AM

I can understand the blogger's frustration, but it sounds like she had some really bad luck. Certainly telecommuting should be available on an individual basis, without regard to whether the person has children. And I think that at most companies (those that allow telecommuting), it is.

As a working mom, I'd love the flexibility to telecommute every now and then. It would be a great perk. The problem is that some people (as the blogger points out) abuse it. This has been mentioned before, but I don't think telecommuting should be allowed for women OR men with children unless they have other child care arrangements. It isn't "working from home" if you also need to watch the children. But for those who DO have child care, it is a great perk.

Posted by: londonmom | April 3, 2007 8:43 AM

I'll wager then whenever we're having trouble posting to this blog, or the date/time stamp is off, the slip-up is because of someone who works from home....

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 8:44 AM

I would take this piece much more seriously if the writer has bothered to write in a professional manner, i.e. "and she was like..." Honestly, as a former editor, the tone was quite young and not very convincing. As to the actual topic, what is the point? Mom's make terrible bosses?

Posted by: NC Mom | April 3, 2007 8:46 AM

"I am not surprised the government would tolerate such inefficiency - this would not be tolerated in private business and shouldn't be"

She wasn't working for the government. She was working for a contracting firm.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 8:47 AM

If it had been a man, he wouldn't have said "hang on a second, I have to put Brandon down for his nap". He would have said "hang on, I'll get back to you in 30 minutes" and that would be the end of it. You wouldn't have known it was a childcare issue. The woman manager gave too much information, thereby opening herself to criticism. Ironically, she was probably looking for sympathy.

I second the business is business point. When you are working from home, keep the family issues silent wrt the person on the other end of the phone. Don't look for sympathy from them. Do your job. The years of small kids don't last long :)

Posted by: dotted | April 3, 2007 8:49 AM

'. . .and this women was abused by not having the same privileges at all.'

Oops - meant 'woman' here.

Posted by: star11 | April 3, 2007 8:49 AM

Telework is always going to be an issue.

However, it would be nice to hear the other side of this story from the project manager. In situations like this when resentment takes hold of us, we tend to see only what we want to see.

The posters who are posting negative comments to this blog are just doing it to be funny (I could use other words to describe them but I won't stoop to their level).

Posted by: John Q | April 3, 2007 8:50 AM

This guest blogger,albeit ineloquently, captures my feelings on work-from-home.

The same way a mother might want to work from home to spend time with her children or save on day-care expenses, I might want to do it for a variety of other reasons. However, working on my novel, taking care of a sick pet, or wanting to not pollute the environment two days a week by driving my car to the office, are probably not going to cut it.

The balance issue is work/life balance. Children may or may not be a part of life, and are rarely a part of work. If these type of work-from-home arrangements are available at all, they need to be implemented fairly.

It would be advisable for employers to have non-discriminatory, non-favoritist criteria to select who gets to work from home, and to maintain the appropriate paperwork on who gets to work from home and why.

Further, work-from-home means WORK from home. Not play with your kids, and dodge phone calls from the office. If people are not working, they should be either fired or required to schlep into the office like everyone else so they can be properly supervised.

Posted by: catmommy | April 3, 2007 8:50 AM

What dotted said...

Posted by: Army Brat | April 3, 2007 8:51 AM

Some people aren't great managers and don't juggle things very well. In fact, I sometimes see people who are very good at what they do, being promoted to manager and being very bad at it. One set of job skills doesn't necessarily translate readily to another.

I wonder if the same thing was happening here. It takes time and more training to make a good manager.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 8:51 AM

Thanks for your guest blog post - clearly a provocative essay that should make some decent sparks here today.

In any work situation the most important person is you direct report, and second is your colleagues who have to back you up when you need them. Communication is paramount - using scheduling tools invaluable to make sure there is a corporate record of who is in, out, out but telecommuting etc. Brings a modicum of accountability to all involved. If you feel you are getting screwed keep track on an outlook calendar or make sure an impartial admin does or backs you up. Present it as a team work tool etc etc - do well enough at it and you may be in line for promotion... IMHO.

I would be interested to know if you ever had the moxie to confront your boss with your criticism. Two months to return an email? If you didnt follow up sooner than that I'd say that was a mistake on your part. Remember - you work for the company - not this individual - right?

Every office has gripes, and people who take advantage of the more conscientious (sp?) team players are cancer. For the sake of your career, and the group's performance help organize and be the glue that keeps the office running - that is if you are reall management material...

Posted by: Fo3 | April 3, 2007 8:51 AM

I agree with the guest blogger--if she was promised the ability to telecommute, than she should be given the opportunity.

Honestly, I don't think (is this the wrong thing to write for 'On Balance'?) that children figure into it one way or another--you are either working from home, or you're not. The interruptions children provide shouldn't be any more frequent than getting a coffee break, surfing the web for personal reasons, or chatting about non-business with co-workers. If the childrens' interruptions are more frequent than 'normal' in-office, non-business interruptions, perhaps the home-worker could put in a little extra time to make up for them?

I know, I know, I am probably up in my unrealistic castle in the sky here, but I think you all understand what I am getting at.

Posted by: Caroline | April 3, 2007 8:53 AM

You people commenting on the blogger's choice of english kill me. It is a BLOG! This isn't a professional presentation. Your comments are just another example of overenthusiastic grammar police.

Posted by: dotted | April 3, 2007 8:54 AM

First of all, contractors don't get the "telework' option. If a program manager or project manager or whomever gets to work at home, it's because they worked something out with the customer and the company

Or it's because they work for the government and teleworking is an option for everyone.

Posted by: John Q | April 3, 2007 8:55 AM

sorry for typos your direct report, really management etc etc

hope doesnt fog my points

Posted by: Fo3 | April 3, 2007 8:55 AM

I am now at home with three children, but I remember when I worked years ago as a RN that all the married-with-children nurses always took a stance, covertly or overtly, that they wanted the major holidays off to spend with family. For the first couple of years, as the single person, I would volunteer. But it did start to get to me after awhile and I had to put my foot down. I had a "family" too that I wanted to see over the holidays. What I remember the most was the sense of entitlement that they exhibited. So I played the "violin" and felt entitled as well. There is no reason to think that this kind of thing does not continue. Some of the parents have lost their objectivity on this blog and are extremely immature in their comments.

Posted by: evk | April 3, 2007 8:57 AM

Let's take this out of the mom vs. childless context for a moment. In terms of the disabled, what's the difference between a "reasonable accomodation" and "discrimination?"

Reasonable accomodation is required by law, and can involve a variety of things, such as assistive technology, adjustments in work rules, adjusting work processes, and flexibility in things like working from home. Of course, not all "accomodations" that might be requested are reasonable, and if I'm not disabled some could appear to me to be discriminatory.

We require some level of accomodation, however, because as a society we believe it is important to allow disabled individuals to fully participate in the workforce in a dignified manner. Of course, not everyone agrees with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but most Americans do support it.

So - what is the difference between an "accomodation" and "discrimination" when we're talking about the disabled? How does the analysis differ for parents? Is it any less important to bring them into the workplace in a dignified manner?

Posted by: Demos | April 3, 2007 8:57 AM

Catmommy:

I would only point out that -while I agree 100% that the entitlement should be applied fairly- just b/c a worker is in the office does not mean they will be "properly supervised" anymore than if they were teleworking. My view is that successful teleworking should be measured by productivity. Are you getting your work done and contributing to the office?

I will again say it, if workers are going to telework, supervisors HAVE to manage the workers. Set up performance goals. Hold them accountable if they don't react / respond in a timely manner to calls and emails. Etc. Etc.

I agree, also, with one of the other posters. You should never say "I'll call you back after I put Baby to sleep." Waaaay too much information. Just say, "I'm in the midddle of something, I'll call you back in 20 minutes" and then DO CALL BACK.

This is really not that difficult folks.

Posted by: JS | April 3, 2007 8:57 AM

You people commenting on the blogger's choice of english kill me. It is a BLOG! This isn't a professional presentation. Your comments are just another example of overenthusiastic grammar police.

Posted by: dotted | April 3, 2007 08:54 AM

You get'em girl!!!

Posted by: John Q | April 3, 2007 8:58 AM

My company is the same way. You only qualify for a part-time schedule if you have a child (and you are finishing out your maternity leave) or if you've had a serious medical condition. And flex time? Forget it!

I am married, no children, and would love to telecommute at least one day a week to have the flexibility to take care of household problems (be home for the electrician, for example), to grocery shop when there are no lines, to work when I am most productive (7:30am-3:00pm, 7:00-8:30pm), to have some peace and quiet, to wear my sweat pants...etc. I don't know why childless people shouldn't get these perks, too.

Posted by: I understand | April 3, 2007 8:59 AM

You are the nastiest bunch of *itches I have ever seen. I know I'm going to get flamed just for commenting, so go ahead and take your shots. I have to agree with MustangII completely. I've been there. And yes, it is discrimination. Yes, it is a double standard. I work with childless people who pull 14 to 16-hour days. They are able to travel at the drop of a hat. But those oh, so important mothers who work 70% can sit at home or in the park with the kids, discussing sleep patterns, and still keep their jobs. Go figure. I also worked with a woman who would come in late and leave early so she could drive her kids to school and pick them up. I had to answer her phones for her in her absence, and I was not her secretary. We just had adjoining desks. Hadn't she ever heard of a school bus? I've also had to pitch in and do the work of mothers who had parent-teacher meetings, sick kids, spring break days so they could be with their kids. Was I paid a bonus for doing their work, too? No way.

Actually, I believe your cattiness is jealousy in disguise. You wish you were in our place -- childless and happy as hell. I wouldn't trade places with you mothas for all the tea in China. Get over yourselves.

Posted by: Childless by Choice | April 3, 2007 9:00 AM

So, what time do you guys want to meet for happy hour? My boss is totally letting me "work from home" today, so I can get there early and save a table.

Posted by: Me too | April 3, 2007 9:01 AM

...and on a more serious note than my last post:

1 - yes, this guest blogger should have gotten the telecommuting policies in writing before starting work. That's the best bet.

2 - it sounds like this company was not one to work for anyway, because it sounds like the projects controlled by this telecommuting PM were disasters in progress. (Off-topic rant: I was a fed for 17 years and this is typical of government contractors. Read the article on SAIC in Vanity Fair for a good explanation. End of off-topic rant.)

3 - again, it sounds like the problem was in corporate management, for allowing this to happen. The proper thing to do would be to elevate this to senior management - e.g., point out that this project is a disaster in progress for the following reasons. If senior management doesn't care, then don't stay there - run, quickly, for another job.

4 - most responsible employers - Government or private sector - will allow telecommuting when the job circumstances permit, for employees who have demonstrated that they're actually working there. After years of proving myself, I can work at home pretty much whenever I want, because my boss knows that work's going to get done, on time, on schedule, at top quality, or he'll be aware of the issues ahead of time. On the other hand, we had a new employee (male, single and childless for whatever that's worth) who started "working from home" two or three days a week. His work wasn't getting done, his customer was furious, and there was no proof that he was doing anything other than surfing the web. He was given the choice of working only in the office or leaving the company. He chose to leave.

Posted by: Army Brat | April 3, 2007 9:02 AM

Sounds to me like she has a legitimate gripe. I'd be peeved too!

But, it sounds as though you should have called the person on it periodically, and documented it, discussed it with HR or whoever was higher in the food chain. That is one of those things you get more direct about as you get older and more mature. By the time you are in your 30's, you are less inclined to stew or cut-and-run.

I hope your next job works out for the best.

As for the editing, presumably WP wouldn't have let it run if they thought it was too badly written. It's not spit-and-polished, but the tone around here is generally more informal and relaxed. I note that a beverage recipe swap took place yesterday evening. Bad brandy in good hot chocolate for me. For some reason, GOOD brandy in hot chocolate tastes vile. Go figure!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | April 3, 2007 9:03 AM

Oh please..now children are a disability? Does this mean I get to park in the handicapped spot? I have three kids--two who have disabilities and I don't get to park in the handicapped spot. The difference is having children is a choice being disabled is not. The problem is, from my perspective, is that women with children want everything that men and women who don't have children or who make other arrangements for child care get. Bottomline is that children, while wonderful, are a pain in the butt. They get sick when you need them to be healthy, they miss the bus when you need them to catch it and so on. They have no regard for what you need--which is how it should be...but to expect that you as the primary caregiver will be able to do the same as a non-primary care giver is ridiculous...in business rewards are given to those who perform--your rewards for good parenting come from home--I don't have an opinion on whether women should stay at home or should work--I figure that is up to them. I do think that is you decide to work then you have made a commitment to an employer to do that job and do it well--the fact that you have kids doesn't make you less accountable and it doesn't entitle you to more privelages or "accomodations."

Posted by: Chris | April 3, 2007 9:05 AM

It's a shame many were so quick to flame the very justifiable complaint of MustangsII. I'll offer a slightly different point of view. I'm a male, well past 20-something, married with a 3 year old. In a previous position, I was required to have the ability to telecommute, but was only allowed to do so during network emergencies. During the 3 years I was there, no fewer than 4 women in my dept. gave birth and well after their return to work, were allowed to telecommute. It took a while, but eventually, enough pressure was brought to bare that mysteriously these women all resigned only to become "consultants." After my child was born, of course I got to where I wanted to spend less time commuting, but was never even offered the opportunity to telecommute or become a "consultant." Of course I resigned to take a position much closer to home.

In my new position I ran into pretty much the same thing. Although I was not complaining about my new and much more tolerable 15 minute commute to work, I noticed one by one as women in the office had children, they would telecommute more and more. One, who was on my team, got to where she would come in to the office once every other week. In fairness to her, she did her work and was rarely non-responsive, but teleconferences with her were a nightmare with screaming kids in the background. If you telecommute, that doesn't mean you can be cheap and not send your kid(s) to daycare. You're supposed to be working.

As long as there's telecommuting, there will be people who abuse it. My brother would play golf half the day when he telecommuted twice per week. But for a company to allow such discrimination as to who is allowed to telecommute is just plain wrong.

Posted by: KB | April 3, 2007 9:06 AM

John Q - in the Government/contractor environment, I've rarely seen much of a difference in the rules. Telework is not an option for all Government employees. Certain jobs prohibit it (e.g., because the job requires face time with the customer - the public - or because the job involves working with information/material that can't be taken home or accessed from home). At the same time, many Government contractors can telework (e.g., if you're developing software or supporting systems).

Posted by: Army Brat | April 3, 2007 9:06 AM

In a reverse issue of telecommuting, my wife's boss often brings his small children to his office and expects the women there to keep them occupied while he is there.

He normally has his mother watch them while he and his wife are at work (she's a pharmacist) but there are times when the MIL is not available, and he brings the kids to work.

I told my wife that when we have a child, she should consider doing the same thing and save on daycare!

Posted by: John L | April 3, 2007 9:07 AM

I agree that the guest blogger today is a major twit and needs to grow up.

I do, however, believe that if an employee is fortunate enough to work from home on a regular basis, she/he should have child care. In my experience, you can't be productive working and care for a child. I do applaud employers who provide flexibility for emegencies -- allowing the parent to get some work done while home with a sick kid, for example. But if you work from home two or three days a week -- you are lucky to save the commute, be there to let in the plumber, not have shower and suit up -- but someone else should be in charge of the kids.

Posted by: Arington Dad | April 3, 2007 9:07 AM

"I understand" - you aren't going to win too many sympathy votes from me because you want to be able to go grocery shopping during the day when you telecommute. First, if you are telecommuting, you are supposed to be WORKING. Not going shopping or playing golf or taking care of your children. While I think telecommuting should be available to individuals with children and without on a like basis, what do you really think telecommuting is? A holiday?

Posted by: londonmom | April 3, 2007 9:08 AM

I feel that I should point out that this guest blogger has a legitimate beef, but it is with the company she worked for, NOT that other employee.

A better company, with better management, would not (routinely) allow such inequality. It is simply bad for business.

You were right to change jobs. Get in where you fit in, and find a company (or a business unit under the control of a smart VP) that prioritizes the work/life balance of all employees equally.

Posted by: Proud Papa | April 3, 2007 9:09 AM

I do think that is you decide to work then you have made a commitment to an employer to do that job and do it well--the fact that you have kids doesn't make you less accountable and it doesn't entitle you to more privelages or "accomodations."

Clap-clap-clap-clap-clap!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | April 3, 2007 9:09 AM

KB - As long as there's telecommuting, there will be people who abuse it.

------------

True - as long as there's bad management that tolerates it.

(We could make other, similar statements: "as long as there are blogs on the Internet, there will be people who abuse work time/resources to post". :-)

Posted by: Army Brat | April 3, 2007 9:10 AM

It's amazing to me that many of you would accept this blogger's contentions at face value. I'd love to hear what her former bosses say about her.

I don't particularly care for "telecommuting" and have never done it myself. I can imagine that many people can do it and do it well. But I wonder about the maturity of someone who job hops because she hates her bosses. And then contends that these women have a poor work ethic because they are mothers. I have a problem with that.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 9:11 AM

I am a mom of 2 young mostly healthy boys, but I do find that I have to make a visit to the doctor's office every week. 3 weeks ago the older one had the rotavirus. That illness spanned 2 weeks and 3 doctors visits. 5 weeks ago, the older one got his first ear infection. That required 2 visits. Last week the younger one got bronchitis. We've been to the doctor 2 times in one week for that. This is the price I pay for sending them to daycare. I take annual leave/sick leave/or unpaid leave when I need to stay home to take care of them, realizing that it's unrealistic for me to be able to work.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 9:11 AM

I think the best benefit of telecommuting is being able to get SOME work done during a day when you would otherwise need to take 8 hours of sick leave to watch a sick child.

When that child is napping or watching a video (hey, remember the child is sick and should be resting), I've got a few hours where I can work. Without telecommuting, I'm not working all day. At least work is getting a few hours out of me (with the remainder being charged to sick leave).

If it is a full-day telecommuting so the plumber (or similar) can fix things, then it's a full 8 hour day (as the kids are in daycare)

Posted by: Father of 2 | April 3, 2007 9:12 AM

Demos - a significant point I found missing from your post: A disability isn't a life choice. Parenthood is.

Posted by: Nancy | April 3, 2007 9:12 AM

Working from home is NOT an alternative to daycare. It just CANNOT be. If I work from home, my 10 yo goes to school and the 4 yo goes to daycare. How could I possibly do two FT jobs at once - daycare and my office work. Not fair to the kids and NOT efficient to the office. If my child is sick I will work some from home, but my timecard will reflect appropriately, which usually ends up being 4 hours PTO and 4 hours regular work for that day. People (men and women),please don't abuse work from home as an alternative to daycare. You are kidding yourself and abusing your company if you think both can be done.

Posted by: Ellicott City Mom | April 3, 2007 9:13 AM

OK, a couple of points
1) Get telecommuting details in writing.
2) It should be given out based on projects, work flow demands, and ability. Parenting should have nothing to do with that. Actually the only person in my current office who telecommutes one day a week is a childless single women.
3) I am actually amazed at parents who can work from home with children under the age of 5. My close friend has done it for years. I am not sure how it really works for her. I know her kids sleep very late and watch an awful lot of TV. She works early morning and then late in the day after her husband comes home. I was reading Leslie's mommy war book and one example the writer was working from home and sitting in her closet trying to have a phone meeting. The kids were crying and banging on the door for their mother. In some cases ( and I purposely say some), I think working from home cheats the worker of much needed adult thought, the employer, and the kids. Honestly, what is the kid getting during the day if they have to be quiet for 8 hours a day. But I am always amazed at people who choose to do this with young kids at home. For me, it would just save me the commuting time. Because my DD would need to be in school full time or some sort of day care. When she was in elementary school, I could see getting work done part of the day while she was at home or on random snow days. But I don't see it as such a great perk most of the time. But that is me.
4) You can take this how you want. But one of the important things about work is to remember you never really know what someone else is doing. It is really hard to assess how much work someone else is getting accomplished. You have no idea what her manager or some of the other parents do when your not around. Old rule, worry about yourself and don't waste your energy worrying about what someone else is doing.
5) Parents do not (in general) waste time and money at the doctors office unless the child needs it. I know before I was a parent, I was amazed how much people's kids got sick. But once I became a parent, it became clear. AGain, this is their legitimate sick leave. It is none of your business how often they take their kids to the doctor. Believe me, parents would rather have a few sick days to themselves then schelping their kids to ten doctors. I feel like I can NEVER personally get sick because DD takes all of mine and my husband's sick leave.
5) On telecommuting in general, I wish more employers would be willing to let this happen for one major reason: Less traffic. That alone is a benefit for all. But I know with the two federal agencies I work for, it is slow change.
6) Best of luck to you. I hope this doesn't give you a negative view of all parents. Most parents want to do a decent job and raise their families.
7)Give the writer a rest about grammar. The message is the important part of the blog not the writing skills.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 3, 2007 9:14 AM

This was a bad business practice, badly handled. You don't make promises you're not willing to keep, and if you do provide flexibility, you need to make sure the work is still getting done timely and well. And if you're on the other side and are granted flexibility, you make damn sure not to abuse it -- companies are already leery of WAH arrangements, so do you really want to give the company an excuse to cut the whole deal? "Telecommuting" doesn't mean entertaining a 2-yr-old all day and trying to fit in a little work while he naps -- it's still business, it's still a work day, you need to respect it and treat it as such.

But in my own experience, bad employees are bad employees, and bad managers are bad managers, whether they're in the office or at home. I had a boss once who did everything MustangsII described -- was completely incommunicado for weeks at a time, then would swoop back in with a laundry list of things (usually blaming me for not doing X when she had told me to do Y) before disappearing again -- basically swoop and poop manangement. Except she worked in the office. (I would have been THRILLED if she had worked at home -- at least that would have minimized the constant fear of being hauled into her office just because she saw me passing by in the hallway)

Like MustangsII, I ended up quitting -- but only after speaking to my boss and the other supervisors there and discovering that they were well aware of the problem but the President of the company liked her, so they weren't going to do anything. You don't do yourself or anyone else a favor if you don't at least make sure the company is aware of the problem and give them an opportunity to make it right.

Posted by: Laura | April 3, 2007 9:14 AM

'She wasn't working for the government. She was working for a contracting firm.'

Which was under contract with the
government. . .a fine point, perhaps, but still. . .anyway - it doesn't matter - it shouldn't happen in either the public or private sector.

Posted by: star11 | April 3, 2007 9:14 AM

"...married-with-children nurses always took a stance, covertly or overtly, that they wanted the major holidays off to spend with family."

That reminds me: Thanksgiving was coming up, and of course, a lot of people had asked for the day after off. One of the women volunteered to work that day, letting me have it off. I thanked her, then told my boss of our schedule change. My boss (ex-boss, for many reasons) said, "That was nice of her. And remember, she has children." What? Like my mom doesn't also have children?

That comment (among many others) are a big reason I left.

Posted by: ilc | April 3, 2007 9:14 AM

My wife often brings work home and does it on our own computers (portable hard-drives keep all the data she needs), often late at night and on weekends. Her work isn't so much "40 hours a week" as "get the work done on time and charge us the hours".

As long as the work gets done they don't care if she's at work or not, but she also isn't cleaning the house or watching TV or taking care of a child while doing her work.

Posted by: John L | April 3, 2007 9:15 AM

It is ridiculous to pay someone full time wages if their children are home with them while they are 'working' from home. And, if the employee is truly working while at home, the children are better off in preschool/childcare than home all day with an inattentive parent.
And yes, I have two children and I work full time.

Posted by: wls | April 3, 2007 9:16 AM

Wow "childless by choice"--for someone who is complaining that people are being "catty" and "*itches", you seem like a big one yourself!

If you can't discuss these issues intelligently, and you obviously can't, then go away.

And it is you that must be envious of those with children--you post on an "on-balance" blog with almost all who are parents.

Posted by: to childless by choice | April 3, 2007 9:18 AM

Excellent points John L!
There are many parents who do bring work home in the off hours. The others in the office may perceive that parents who leave "on-time" are pulling something over on them, but then while the childless are out drinking at happy hour, those with children are toiling away at home.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 9:20 AM

At first I didn't work at all when my children were little--then when the youngest started pre-school I started working as a researcher and freelance editor. I am hired by the job. We talk upfront about the fact that I have kids and that phone calls are sometimes nutty--I give them the option of not hiring me based on that. We agree on price and deadline upfront, so when I work or what is going on around me is up to me. If I worked for someone else these things--the phone calls and the kids hanging off me while I am writing would not be acceptable. I knew that when I started looking for work and CHOSE this route instead. I don't ask anyone to make excuses for me and I don't know why anyone else would expect that an employer should.

Posted by: Chris | April 3, 2007 9:20 AM

Let's change topics: What do you think of the new Washington Post home page? How much do you think it sucks?

Posted by: Ryan | April 3, 2007 9:22 AM

Great posting, MustangsII!

Foamgnome wrote: 6) Best of luck to you. I hope this doesn't give you a negative view of all parents. Most parents want to do a decent job and raise their families.

This guest blogger does not give me a negative view of all parents. However, many of the posters on this blog do.

Mustangs is not a twit who needs to grow up. However, many of the mean people on this blog do need to a) grow up, and b) not be so nasty toward non-parents. MustangsII is a legitimately frustrated co-worker and employee whose employer has allowed people to abuse their co-workers just because they have the title of "mom". How would any of you like it if your boss acted like this? Mustangs provided specific examples of phone calls not being returned for over a week, and emails not being returned for two months. THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE WORKPLACE BEHAVIOR. I don't care whether you're a mother or not, it is not acceptable.

Posted by: notamomyet | April 3, 2007 9:22 AM

is anyone else tired of hearing women, in whatever context, whether a news story, human interest, world event, and especially in anything related to business, described as "moms"? it's everywhere now, regardless of whether it means anything. not saying it's inappropriate in today's blog entry, since the gripe is that "moms' get to telecommute and other women don't. will men soon begin to be referred to as "dads" rather than men? will there by equality in labelling and we'll hear more about "childless men"?

Posted by: woman with no kids | April 3, 2007 9:22 AM

I worked for 12 years before having children and I never once felt "put upon" because of women (or men) who had kids and needed time away for things like doctor appointments, field days, etc. In the 6 years I supervised a department, I had three employees with major absenteeism issues. One had children, two did not. I do not think it's as cut and dry as MustangsII would have us think, but I don't doubt that there are situations like hers that happen, and it's really unfortunate.

I am also a HUGE believer of the old adage "what you put out there, you get back". MustangsII, forgive me, but you sound extremely bitter and I'm wondering if that comes across in a negative way to your employer, male or female, family or childless.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 3, 2007 9:24 AM

dotted and foamgnome -

The grammar and writing may not be that important to the point of the entry, but if someone wants to be taken seriously, and have their point taken seriously, its all about presentation - it does matter, regardless of age or forum. I didn't give the writer too much of a bad time about it, but some have, and it is hard to really give someone credibility when they are unable to express their thoughts coherently and clearly.

Posted by: star11 | April 3, 2007 9:27 AM

I work from home two days each week. My kids go to daycare while I am working, whether from home or the office. I have to deliver results to keep this arrangement. Some days I think working from home isn't all it's cracked up to be. Most of the time I am grateful for the flexibility.

Maybe the blogger was being treated unfairly. Maybe the boss was ridiculous. It's unfortunate that her views of working moms will be negatively affected for a long time because of this bad experience. Many of us are hard workers who get our jobs done, regardless of where we do the work.

Posted by: MOMto3 | April 3, 2007 9:28 AM

CBC: I still don't know why you would want to post on this blog when it is made up of mostly parents. You seem to have such a deep hatered for them. While I do think parents may have a fleeting sense of jealousy of non parents. It is brief and fleeting. The love that we feel for our offspring outweighs any luxuries of time or money that being childless offers. It was the right decision for us to have children and clearly it was the right decision for you to remain childless. No amount of time spent on this blog will convince you that we truly love our children. So why do you come here?

Posted by: foamgnome | April 3, 2007 9:30 AM

I am a SAHM mom now, but I couldn't agree more with what the guest writer talked about. Despite having kids, my sympathy will always go first towards the childless workers. When I worked, I remember time after time watching those with kids get to leave work early for this reason or that reason... while I needed blood to be spurting out of a major organ to do so. And holidays - what a joke. Those with kids got the first crack at them; after all, I was single and childless - of course I didn't have anyone to spend the holidays with! When we have kids, we need to take on the responsibility that comes with them. Don't slack off and expect others to pick up your slack. Just because you put in the hours years ago doesn't give you the right to make your co-workers suffer today. And there are plenty of pediatrician's with weekend and after 5 pm hours, by the way.

Posted by: annapolis mom | April 3, 2007 9:31 AM

Ok, I didn't read *all* the comments, but I got the gist. Here's my question - do you really know what it's like to work from home? I work from home, in a regular, 40+ hour job. I also have a daughter. Here's the thing. I've been doing this for going on 5 years now. It's lonely, it's harder to work jointly with colleagues, and no, you don't have to dress nicely. I like it, it works for me, but I also produce. I am totally reachable during the work day by IM or e-mail or phone. All of my colleagues (who also work from home) are also reachable, almost instantly. If that were not the case, we'd be driving 2 hours every day each way.

It took about 6 months to learn how to be really productive from home. It's not natural, and if you're not disciplined, it's really just a break. It's also not the way for most people to go.

And, by the way, I'm female - working from home - productive.

Posted by: Work from home mom | April 3, 2007 9:32 AM

Again, I am amazed how many people are teleworking (or not). Just recently we had a blog on how little teleworking there is and now it appears that everybody is teleworking. I also work for the government and many of my working parent friends work for various agencies. In our experience, our government offices GO OUT OF THEIR WAY not to appear to favor anybody, especially working parents. Teleworking is viewed as a priviledge, not a right. My experience has been that parents who successfully negotiate a very flexible schedule for themselves are the ones who are high performers and who have the trust of the upper management. Maybe I am working for the wrong government....maybe these other teleworkers are working for the government of........France?

Posted by: envious | April 3, 2007 9:33 AM

star11- I disagree with one major point of yours. I believe MustangII clearly and eloquently made her point. I don't care if the word 'like' would be inappropriate if the presentation was formal. However, in this case, MustangII informally made her points and made them well. I have no problem with how she made them.

Posted by: dotted | April 3, 2007 9:34 AM

One last point before this &)^^*(&+%^ waste-of-time meeting starts, and it echoes something "Pay your dues first" said a while ago: sometimes there are different arrangements for different people, based on their value, and it doesn't really matter how fair you think it is.

Here's an example; we have a woman who works for our company who works one day a week. She has three young children (the oldest is 5) and her mother in law provides day care on Thursdays. The rest of the time "Sue" is a SAHM mom?

Why do we allow this? Because "Sue" is an incredibly valuable employee. In ten years working for this place, she's been responsible for some unbelievable technical breakthroughs; and she's brought in millions of dollars of work. When she had her second child she wanted to quit and take about 5 years off, then come back to the workforce when all the kids were in school. We persuaded "Sue" to keep her hand in the game. Why? Because it keeps her technical skills up to date. Because she's very valuable to us one day a week - she finds things and solves problems that would otherwise be major issues. And because when she comes back to work full time, we want it to be for us.

Is this a risk? Sure, she could decide to just quit altogether, or go to work for somebody else, but we're willing to take that chance, and she's still doing good work for us now.

Would we offer this situation to a brand-new hire, straight out of school? No way. Prove to us you're worth a whole bunch of money to us, now and in the future, and then we'll work really hard to get you work conditions that meet your needs.

Posted by: Army Brat | April 3, 2007 9:39 AM

I can completely understand the guest blogger's frustration. She describes a situation that's completely unfair and, yes, discriminatory. Flamers, put aside your prejudices and listen to what she is really saying.

BTW, at my workplace it's stated explicitly, in the written policy on telework, that telework is not to be used as a substitute for childcare. If you're teleworking while your children are at home with you, you're supposed to have a babysitter/nanny/etc. there taking care of them while you work.

Posted by: Lilybeth | April 3, 2007 9:42 AM

I agree with just about everything foamgnome said - except a minor point on the sick kids issue.

kids get sick. little kids in their first year in daycare/preschool get sick A LOT! however, not every cough or sniffle requires a visit to the doctor. realistically, not even every ear infection needs to be seen by a doctor. unfortunately, some people are not conscientious consumers of health care services. and yes, having your little one sick and miserable is upsetting and sometimes even scary. that said, we have to start realizing that we can't cure the common cold and antibiotics shouldn't be prescribed to make *parents* feel better about DS/D's illness.

I have two friends who are constantly taking their children to the doctor over every little thing and then complaining to me that the doctor didn't want to prescribe anything. i really believe this kind of thing is happening more than many of us think, especially among parents with good health care plans. it's soooo tempting to make that $10 or $20 co-pay just to buy some peace of mind. but are we really helping our kids? or are we putting them through an uncomfortable process and exposing them to more serious bugs by dragging them to the doctor for our peace of mind?

just my $.02

Posted by: 2terrificboys | April 3, 2007 9:44 AM

Londonmom--what's the difference if I get groceries at 3:00 in the afternoon and then work again from 7 to 8 at night vs. working until 6 and grocery shopping after work? 8 (or 9 or 10) hours of work are the same. Or are London hours counted differently?

Posted by: I understand | April 3, 2007 9:44 AM

**Nods in agreement with the guest blogger**

I am female. I'm for women's rights, too. However, I think women today are very mistaken in believing that they can do it all.

But I really don't believe that is true. Something inevitably suffers. It might not appear right away, or it might, just as in the blogger's case, where e-mails don't get answered for two months. Talk about lost productivity!

The funny part is, women fought for the right to be equal to men, in title, responsibility and pay. But in the end, I really think the choices are black and white. If you want to be truly successful, you just might have to sacrifice motherhood to do it. And if motherhood really is the weighing factor, then maybe the career-driven path isn't the best way to go.

How can a woman be taken seriously when she asks to call back into a conference call so she put the kid down for a nap?

I'm not saying it's fair. But the fact remains that *many* accomodations and excuses are made for those who have kids. And those who chose the career path shoulder the responsibility and stress because someone can't make it into work on time. Or at all.

Something always suffers.

Posted by: JRS | April 3, 2007 9:45 AM

I am generally a lurker, but had to write today because this blog really struck me. I find the same problems in my job, in academia. I am expected to pick up the slack of parents in our department, and know from others that it can be a problem.

What is interesting is that I have a three year old, and one on the way. My husband and I have worked very hard to achieve balance - he drops off, I pick up, we alternate sick days with my son - and I feel like I pay for it at work. One of the other employees here sighs at me at how lucky I am that my husband is so involved. I know I don't know her relationship dynamics, but her husband works at the same company as my husband, and both of them have time to go out to lunch, regularly go to happy hours, and both play in softball and golf leagues. I wouldn't care, except that she is constantly complaining about how she doesn't have any time and then telecommutes so she has time to grocery shop.

I believe there is a sacrifice with kids. Maybe not fair, but true. Stay at home parents sacrifice their careers or plans. Now to us it's worth it because we love having kids, and in the end cheaper to not go out to lunch three days a week. It's kept me out of office politics, because I do my job instead of gossip. However, I have refused to work on projects with this woman, as others have as well, and luckily I'm senior enough to have it taken seriously.

I don't feel like I'm being punished, and would rather be a good employee than the slacker, but I think the guest blogger today has a good point.

Posted by: Ann Arbor | April 3, 2007 9:45 AM

Lilybeth: Is that policy for regular telecommuters or even random snow days? To me on random snow days, it benefits both the employer and the parent to allow telecommuting for a reduced hours. That way some work gets done, child is watched, and everyone is happy.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 3, 2007 9:45 AM

You know, when I work from home, it's a given: "Don't bug me unless it's an emergency!"

And the only person that can dictate an emergency is my supervisor. So the best tool I have for dealing with the work from home situation is a speaker phone with talking caller id. So when I'm kicking back on the deck sipping a beer, (only after 12:01 pm so I don't turn into an alcoholic), and I hear my supervisor call, you bet I run inside, shut the brat up as quickly as possible, and answer the phone.

But anybody else that calls is sooooooo annoying. Like the one clown that called the other day, I couldn't believe it. He actually stayed on the phone for 5 minutes talking to my 4 year old, then I tried to blow him off by asking my kid questions like "Who is it?", and "What does he want?" I have to say my son did a fine job relaying the information even though I'm sure he has no earthly idea what a "cost analysis database" was. Anyway, here's the kicker: The data wasn't even needed until the next day.! It's like, c'on dude, yeah sure I feel sorry that you haven't earned your way to grazing from the greener, work from home pasture, but you don't have to punish me because I got there! How the idiot got my home phone number I've yet to find out. And he's lucky I did a decent job formatting the data, which took a extra few minutes. Next time he pulls a stunt like that, it's not going to be so good.

So please, folks, you know when Its my telecommute day. Don't bother me unless it's an emergency. I've got better things to do!

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 3, 2007 9:47 AM

Others have commented similarly, but I just can't belp but jump in. I read regularly and almost never post - but this is ridiculous. How on EARTH can the majority of posters on this blog be so critical of this woman?! Unbelievable. Honestly, really shows the true colors of the folks who are usually so supportive of the other parents who post here. Then, the comments of one non-parent with legitimate frustrations are completely blown off, immediately. Classy.

I read this blog because eventually I know I will be facing all of these parental balance issues, and I usually enjoy the insight. But I have ALWAYS assumed that making the decision to work as a mother means doing it successfully - you can tell anyone you're a working mom, but if you're really just doing a half-ass job and barely getting by (and causing your entire office grief as a result), are you really doing your job? And, are you really benefitting anyone? Ugh.

A little more understanding, folks - jeez.

Posted by: MplsNonMama | April 3, 2007 9:48 AM

Demos, I like your idea but think it doesn't really apply. For one thing, as someone else pointed out, having children is a choice, which people presumably plan for. Having a disability is not a choice.

I agree with your point that the ADA was made so that people with disabilities can
"fully participate in the workforce in a dignified manner." But I don't think we can use this to equate parenthood with having a disability. Parents do not need ergonomic keyboards, lowered desks, or things like that. They need flexibility (meaning time away from the office). There are also many many options for parents that help them care for their children (School buses, daycare, camps, in-laws, etc.).

I have to say that as a childless person, I've had amazing luck with my employers' telecommuting policies. Their policies have always been in writing and have always been fair. I have worked from home exclusively for a year. Now I have the option to work from home if I need to. Last week I worked from home to stay with my sick dog (catlady, it is a legitimate reason in some companies). I've never received flak. I do make a point to be available from home via e-mail, home telephone, cell phone, and IM.

To "Pay your dues first," the blogger did state that she worked at her first job for months before asking about telecommuting. I do have to ask what you would say to a young mother trying to work her way up by just starting in the workforce. Sorry you didn't your life better? Or are only young childless people entitled, while young mothers are meek and sacrificing?

Lastly (sorry for the novel), I do think that if you're working from home, your kid should be somewhere else for most of the day so you can actually work. Taking advantage of telecommuting for one day while caring for a sick child is one perfectly understandable situation. Using the telecommuting policy to negotiate 3 days at home per week so you can avoid paying for day care is a different and unrealistic situation.

Posted by: Meesh | April 3, 2007 9:48 AM

I suspect JS was correct in observing: "The fact is, the poor teleworking performers that you describe would probably perform poorly in the office setting."

Since MustangsII only began these jobs last year, I wonder who got the blame for un- and mis-done work on projects when annual job performance evaluation time rolled around. If, as the author describes, the responsibility each time resided with the telecommuting moms, then with any luck it was THEIR evaluations that reflected insufficient productivity.

I second the point Dotted raised about going up the administrative ladder (assuming you can prove that the unproductiveness is not your own fault). While this solution is not entirely fool-proof -- because in some work cultures it will always be assumed that the subordinate's boss must be right, just because s/he IS boss -- it can be worth a try in dire situations. E.g., many years ago my father did this successfully one time, although I must point out that he was a respected senior employee who had recently gotten a younger twit for an immediate supervisor, so my dad (who was known NOT to be a work-place complainer) had earned a lot of credibility with his boss's bosses over the years.

I also concur with Dotted on the advice next time to get any hiring promises like telecommuting in writing.

Posted by: catlady | April 3, 2007 9:48 AM

One correction - my coworker and her husband play in his company's golf and softball leagues. I make it sound like my husband does, but we simply don't have the time with two young children. Maybe in a few years.

Posted by: Ann Arbor | April 3, 2007 9:51 AM

As a childless person who isn't generally able to work from home, though another person in my department does it constantly (3x a week), I have a lot of sympathy for the original poster's point. the rules really are different for different people in a lot of cases I've seen (my last job, too.)

To the replier who said you had to pay your dues first--what if you paid your dues at a previous job? Not everyone stays in the same position more than 3-4 years anymore, especially not in my industry. I spent 5 years consulting and travelling every week. Why shouldn't I be able to work from home a little now, when my job can stand it?

Posted by: Pru | April 3, 2007 9:53 AM

"Before you judge me, please understand I am a woman and I do believe in "women's rights" and all that stuff. But what about the majority of mothers who work 9 to 5 every day, in the office, or at least 4 times a week in the office and do a good job at what they do?"

I doubt you do a good job. For one thing, you are functionally illiterate. Secondly, you failed to "manage up". If your supervisor wasn't giving you the support that you needed to do your job, you should have acted on that.

Can't get ahold of your manager? Time to call boss's boss and say, "Is everything ok with [boss]? I've been trying to reach her for a few days about [important high-profile project that will make you look like a horse's arse if it's not completed on time] and haven't had any luck. Normally I wouldn't bother you, but this is important."

That being said, when you are taking care of little kids, you are not working. You might think that you are, but trust me, you are not getting anything done. If you are claiming to be "at work", somebody else needs to be taking care of Jr. Daycare, Daddy, nanny, Grampa, the neighbor's kid, a German Shepard, or whomever else you entrust with your children's wellbeing. My point is, it can't be you. Not while you're claiming to be working.

Posted by: Bob | April 3, 2007 9:54 AM

Mustang, I'm sorry to hear your workplace had such a double standard policy in place. Yes, it is very hard to juggle kids and work but many women do it successfully. If your company had a telecommuting policy, they should have let everyone whose job allowed participate. Was your role support staff or did you have a position that would lend itself to working from home? It does sound like the manager had blinders on but did you speak up, either to her directly or to HR?

Posted by: MJ | April 3, 2007 9:54 AM

Demos, as a mother and a disabled person i find our post extremely insulting. To say that parents are entitled to the same level of accommodations as disabled people ignores CHOICE and personal responsibility. People who are disabled did not choose to become disabled-- but if you are a parent, you did. Even if you have become pregnant through no choice of your own, you still could have put the child up for adoption or had an abortion. In any case, most parents have choosen to become parents-- I don't know anyone who purposefully set out to be disabled.

Posted by: to Demos | April 3, 2007 9:55 AM

I'm a male, but had a similar situation at one of my first jobs. My boss, who had a difficult child, was never there and very difficult to get a hold of, which was frustrating at times.

BUT, being young, it gave me lots of opportunities to grow professionally and take on things I wouldn't have with a boss who was there all the time. I also didn't hold it against her, because she had put in her time and was a good boss (when she was there).

Maybe instead of whining about how awful the situation is, you could step up and pick up some of the slack left over from the telecommuting boss. You can also mess around and not work as hard if the boss isn't there, too...

Also, why would you want to telecommute if you don't have kids anyway? There is really no comparison between the lives of workers with and without kids...

Posted by: JDS | April 3, 2007 9:55 AM

MustangsII is childless and was allowed to write a dissertation. Why can't childless people post a response? Double standard rears its ugly head again.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 9:56 AM

I think this is a legitimate topic. A consistent policy should apply to all employees.

The reality that I experience is that folks who work at home a lot get out of the loop at the office. People who come in end up covering for them at different moments when it's just easier to find a real live person for whatever the issue is.

I've found in the agency that I work in that gov't employees get these good telecommute deals (think living in WV), while the contractors are all commuting downtown to actually do the work. The contractors can't telecommute because they're the ones who're dealing with the public or running the network. It's the Feds who are supervising who have the Tues-Thurs or only in on Wednesday schedules.

That aside, I think our author was right to ditch those companies. The best reason I can think of to stay someplace like that would be if you thought you could outshine one of these tele-mom-employees and get her position and pay while she's "working from home". Then you can have your own baby and pull the same thing.

If you don't feel like doing that, and it is a dog-eat-dog world, then finding another employer is probably the right thing to do.

Posted by: RoseG | April 3, 2007 9:57 AM

JDS at 09:55
Also, why would you want to telecommute if you don't have kids anyway? There is really no comparison between the lives of workers with and without kids...

Telecommuting is good for the environment. It was not invented for parents.

You can't compare the lives of any two workers regardless of their parental status.

Posted by: DC lurker | April 3, 2007 9:59 AM

My wife has thought about telecommuting at least part time once we have a child, but doesn't feel that she can care for a baby at home while at the same time she's actually trying to produce 40 hours of work for her employer. Something would have to give.

Her solution (and one her employer has already been agreeable about) was to work as an independent contractor, and bill her employer for the hours she works only. That way she would still be productive but the employer wouldn't be paying her for time she really wasn't working.

Of course, once I got home she would be able to devote more time to work while I cared for the baby, which was OK with me.

(note, this is all hypothetical right now, but she's valued enough by her employer that they are willing to come up with alternatives to the standard 40 hour work week)

Posted by: John L | April 3, 2007 10:00 AM

I am a mom and have a job where it is possible for me to telecommute, if necessary, but before I had my baby I would have loved the flexibility as a single, childess worker.
This is a benefit that should be available to everyone in a company, not just a few.
I agree this guest blogger that this was unfair and the company in question needs to upgrade its policy to include anyone who would like to take advantage of the benefit.

Posted by: NewMomOnceChildless | April 3, 2007 10:01 AM

to Ryan: Yes it sucks big time

Posted by: to Ryan | April 3, 2007 10:03 AM

I am father to an 18-month girl, and I'm lucky enough to have a job that's been pretty flexible. My boss has me working at home one day a week on a regular basis, and I can generally work remotely if I'm sick or otherwise need to be home (such as for a repair). The job lends itself to this, provided I have my laptop home with me, I'm on email and IM, and am available via phone if needed.

One of the company's rules, and I agree with this 100%, is that you can't telecommute in the case where you need to be home with a child (such as daycare is closed, or the kid is sick). Whenever I'm working at home, Bella's either in daycare, or my wife is home with us as well and taking care of her all day. You just can't get work done when you have to look after a child.

Posted by: BonkOif | April 3, 2007 10:04 AM

my wife works for someone who is in the office only 3 days a week b/c she has kids. but get this, the kids are in boarding school in New England. i found this amusing.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 10:06 AM

I don't understand all the negative comments here. THANK YOU for writing this column! I am a childless woman as well, and it SO resonates with me. We ALL want balance, children or no, and the same flexible work options should be available to all. It is only fair - life outside of work is valuable in and of itself for all of us, whether we have children or not.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for writing this!!!!

Posted by: SLS | April 3, 2007 10:07 AM

There are way too many meanies out today. Give MustangsII a break! This is HER story and she has a right to tell it the way she sees it.

Even so, I've gotten a lot out of everyone's comments. I wish I had a good solution or even something smart to say, but I just really see both sides here. It's hard juggling work and family, and it's hard to sympathize when your life is being affected by someone else's un-balancing act.

Posted by: Leslie | April 3, 2007 10:07 AM

I've been on both sides and am at home today with a sick daughter. I am lucky enough to be a project manager now which means I don't have supervisory responsibilities. If I did there is no way I could function from home. Telecommuting depends on the job, but you can't supervise from home

Posted by: Chet | April 3, 2007 10:08 AM

I've been on both sides of this...annoyed as a "nonbreeder" at the extra leave etc that people with children were allowed (while my vacations were cancelled because so-and-so had to go on maternity and I had to cover with no expectation of bonus for extra hours).
And now I'm pregnant and expecting our first and telecommute some days. But I find I'm actually very productive working from home. My distractions are more along the lines of a dog shoving a tennis ball into my leg or soon a baby who needs to nurse. Possible to handle while typing one-handed. Not a person who wants to complain at my desk for 3 hours about something I have no power over, but demands undivided attention.
If you can do it and your job doesn't require physical presence, I say go for it. But at the same time, I don't think that just because you have children you are more deserving of benefits.

Posted by: preggers | April 3, 2007 10:09 AM

OK, so I telecommute -- used to do it for a Fortune 10 company
as a VP, now do it for a smaller company (reason for changing
having nothing to do with telecommuting). I started telecommuting when my kid was a baby. He's now 11.

It was always made clear to me (and I've made it clear to my
telecommuting employees) that telecommuting is (a) a privilege
not a right, (b) it is not child-care -- if you're working from home
and there's a small kid in the house, there is someone else caring
for the kid, and (c) you'll be judged on performance.

In that light, some of the comments that the bosses have a
right to do childcare while working are bizarre to me. MustangII paints a clear picture of managers who have lost
track of doing their jobs.

At the same time, I blame the managers' companies for
apparently not making the standards more clear.

Posted by: Telecommuting VP | April 3, 2007 10:09 AM

JDS

"Also, why would you want to telecommute if you don't have kids anyway? There is really no comparison between the lives of workers with and without kids..."

You must be a real bonehead if you can't figure out some legitimate answers to your own question above.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 10:09 AM

I think Dotted got it exactly right - this was a really crappy situation and it's one that, if we dropped the insane vitriol and defensiveness, we might be able to learn something from.

My boss and I both work from home. I do it four days a week, he does it on a random schedule. However, I do not have responsibility for watching my child when I am working from home - he is in daycare in the morning and with my husband in the afternoon. The benefit of working from home is I can take my lunch break with him and not have the time of a commute (and my office is quite far away, so that's the clincher). I do sometimes rearrange my hours if my husband has an afternoon meeting, but generally I work a regular schedule, and my boss and I both try hard to minimize the impacts of our not being in the office. Incidentally, he and I almost are never in the same office - he lives and works in a different state.

Personally, I think that telecommuting can work well in certain situations, but it takes a lot of commitment and trust and is easily abused. I also know that there is no way that I could do it responsibly if I was also trying to take care of my child while working - he's two and simply needs a lot of attention. I think parents should think long and hard before attempting to do that with small kids.

Posted by: Megan | April 3, 2007 10:14 AM

You people commenting on the blogger's choice of english kill me. It is a BLOG! This isn't a professional presentation. Your comments are just another example of overenthusiastic grammar police.


Posted by: dotted | April 3, 2007 08:54 AM

I know it's a blog but Mustang sounded like she was in High School. I don't usually commment on the tone of a guest blogger but that is because most of them, while sounding casual, at least wrote like they knew how to communicate. If Mustang is communicating like she wrote on the blog, or not communicating like Army Brat and others indicated, her problems with her work arrangements may be partially of her own making.

I'm not discounting the discrimination, I know it exists, but if I am being honest (my best Simon Cowell imitation) - part of Mustang's problems are her communication skills. This is coming from someone that had the learn the hard way how to communicate effectively in the work place! And before you jump all over my blogging skills, I know they are probably lacking as well.

Posted by: cmac | April 3, 2007 10:14 AM

John L - the independent contractor approach worked for me during my extremely troublesome first pregnancy. Basically, i never really knew from week to week how many hours i'd be able to manage. ultimately, i chose to be a sahm, but i could have carried on with the contractor approach indefinitely. the trick is to be sure you work on projects that can be left to simmer for 3-4 days with minimal attention in case you (or the baby) are having a bad week (croup comes to mind). also, be sure you negotiate a good hourly wage - remember, you're giving up lots of benefits (401(k), health and disability insurance, vacation and sick pay, FSA, etc.) that have real monetary value. also, you're taking on tax management and payment responsibilities, so don't forget to factor both the real and intangible costs of that into the hourly wage. depending on how many benefits your wife currently has, you might try this formula as a starting point: 1.33*(gross salary/2000). best of luck to you and your wife!

Posted by: 2terrificboys | April 3, 2007 10:15 AM

Army Brat - you should really get your information from someplace other than Vanity Fair... preferably someplace that devotes the majority of its pages to actual NEWS, not fashion advertisements.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 10:15 AM

"I am a mom of 2 young mostly healthy boys, but I do find that I have to make a visit to the doctor's office every week. "

I hate to tell you this, but your children are not "mostly healthy" if you go to the doctor every week. My kids go for well-child checkups until age 5 and have had years in between appointments for illnesses. They are "mostly healthy."

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 10:16 AM

Blog Stats request: could you tell us how many times the "D" (dd, dh, ds, dw) terms have been used and who are the winners?

Posted by: Blog Stats Fan | April 3, 2007 10:18 AM

MustangsII is childless and was allowed to write a dissertation. Why can't childless people post a response? Double standard rears its ugly head again.

Posted by: | April 3, 2007 09:56 AM

What's your point about a double standard? there's not filter here, in case that's news to you. childless persons can post any response they choose to post.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 10:19 AM

"There are way too many meanies out today. Give MustangsII a break! This is HER story and she has a right to tell it the way she sees it."

And others have the right to expect that the WaPo will publish blog writers whose work doesn't look like it belongs on a MySpace page.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 10:20 AM

The original author is correct. Certain women are taking advantage of the fact that they have children. It is a well known fact at government contracting companies around the beltway. It is amazing anything gets done when they are the managers. It also is a shame that the government is not getting what they are paying for.

Posted by: Deb | April 3, 2007 10:21 AM

oh, I telecommuted occasionally before I was expecting. It was allowed for days I had to do things like wait for repairmen and such. It worked great.
Plus I always loved the extra sleep I could get from having a commute go from 2 hrs to 5 seconds.

Posted by: preggers | April 3, 2007 10:23 AM

I work for a company that has numerous teleworkers all across the country and at its headquarters in DC. I am one of them and work with a bunch of them in my group. I wasn't always allowed to telework but the company changed its policy and I was doing it a few days a week before we moved for my husband's job. I admit to being annoyed when I heard kids/dogs/spouses, etc on business calls because the rules were not fair. Now that I work from home, I tune them out because I know I have a good deal.

My daughter goes to day care. I do not clean, cook, or run errands while I work. I do take a lunch break and occasionally listen to the radio or TV while I am working.

However, there are times when my daughter is at home, like last night when I was on a call until 6:00 in the evening or when she is home sick and I have work to do. If I feel that I can't get the work done with her there, then I take vacation or my husband stays home. Telework is not for everyone and we have a few bad workers who work from home in my company, but we also have some bad ones who come to work everyday.

I feel for the author and think it is unacceptable for someone to have their children home with them everyday when they telecommute. You are supposed to be working. I think the rules should be fair for everyone regardless of whether you have kids or not. However, with that being said, I wouldn't let a new hire work from home. I think I would have to see what they could do for the company first and what kind of worker they are.

Posted by: scarry | April 3, 2007 10:24 AM

"My office has telecommuting-ability. In general, we can use it once every few weeks because we want and whenever if we have sick children/repair people at home/etc."

How do you "work" when you're taking care of sick children or home repair? I'm all for teleworking but I don't think you should have your children in the house or should you be taking care of the homefront -- laundry, repair, dinner. That's not teleworking, that's getting paid to do what everyone is responsible for doing during THEIR PERSONAL TIME.

Posted by: BMOM | April 3, 2007 10:25 AM

To 10:20 AM--

"And others have the right to expect that the WaPo writers will publish blog writers whose work doesn't look like it belongs on a MySpace page."

I have read WaPo's guidelines for posting comments and blogging. As long as there isn't foul language, racist remarks, etc. then the post is fine.

General comment: No matter which side of the issue you're on, it is truly disappointing to see so little tolerance here. Whether you are a parent or not (and there are those who may be reading this because one day they'd like to become parents and wish to know what challenges face parents) another individual's sincere opinion should be respected if it does not conflict with the guidelines set up for posting.

Posted by: Caroline | April 3, 2007 10:25 AM

Years ago I worked for a big company, good benefits. I was assigned to work for 6 accountants. Most days I didn't have time to go to the bathroom. I lived close to the office so when emergency overtime came up, guess who they called to come in to work. The 6 accountants gave me very good to excellent performance evaluations. When raise time came around the office manager said 'I don't think you need a raise because you're single and childless.' Quote. Unquote. Meanwhile, the women with children came in late, took long lunches, came staggering back from lunch, left early, maybe showed up 3-4 days a week, spent all day on phone calls with their kids, teachers, pediatricians, ex-husbands. Naturally, I took the hint and left for another job. They had to hire 2 people to take my place. That Firm is no longer in existence because of a major administrative scandal a few years back. I did a victory dance when I heard to company went belly up.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 10:26 AM

I prefer the term "child-free" since, more often than not, it is a choice. I, too, feel I have been discriminated against in the workplace because I am child-free. I didn't get to take sick leave when my cat (my "child") had to go to the vet, and I had to take vacation when he passed away and I was grieving. Read "The Baby Boon: How Family-Friendly America Cheats the Childless" by Elinor Burkett.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 10:27 AM

Foamgnome - *"Lilybeth: Is that policy for regular telecommuters or even random snow days? To me on random snow days, it benefits both the employer and the parent to allow telecommuting for a reduced hours. That way some work gets done, child is watched, and everyone is happy."*

I'm a federal worker, so if we have a snow day, it doesn't count as a workday (it's administrative leave, I think). You can definitely work from home that day, and many of us do, but it doesn't technically "count" as a workday. This may be different at contractors or private employers.

Posted by: Lilybeth | April 3, 2007 10:29 AM

Thank you for articulating a situation that frustrates many of us non-breeders. It annoys me to no end that "mommies" make the same amount of money as the rest of us but never have to stay late and can "flex" their time instead of having to take time off to care fortheir children. I too have obligations that would be easier to juggle if i could tak off work to address them.

Posted by: Frustrated | April 3, 2007 10:31 AM

I wish this piece were well written. There are good points here, but they are lost and easily attacked because of the writing. I realize this person isn't a professional writer, but Leslie can't you give the guest bloggers access to your copy editor?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 10:31 AM

" I think the rules should be fair for everyone regardless of whether you have kids or not. However, with that being said, I wouldn't let a new hire work from home. I think I would have to see what they could do for the company first and what kind of worker they are."

I think that's a really good point, Scarry. The employer needs to have a chance to evaluate an employee's work before making an arrangement for telecommuting, although there should be as many objective criteria and standards as possible. Unless you are able to negotiate it as part of your package from the get go (and get it in writing of course), I don't think it's reasonable to expect to be able to do that until you've established yourself a bit, parent or not.

Also, on the issue of telecommuting when you have a sick kid, I can see that being an option where the choice is either you get some work done from home or you take a whole day off - if that's the choice, I can see a manager saying they'd rather have you work from home and get done as much as you can rather than be gone for the whole day; when my son has been home sick and I need to take time to care for him I usually check in with my boss and either take a half a sick day or work at night to make it up. If your work doesn't involve a lot of other people I think you can do that pretty effectively.

Posted by: Megan | April 3, 2007 10:31 AM

Oooh, you are so going to get flamed for this. Don't you know that we, the barren, childless, bitter baby-haters don't get to complain? After all, we get all the accoutrements of a child-free lifestyle: a clean home, time to drink martinis with our fit and loving husband, and a big fat bank account. Let me just check mine now! $35.14.

::poof:: dream dissolved.

Posted by: Mona | April 3, 2007 10:36 AM

"I, too, feel I have been discriminated against in the workplace because I am child-free. I didn't get to take sick leave when my cat (my "child") had to go to the vet, and I had to take vacation when he passed away and I was grieving."

I'm sorry but cats and kids are not the same thing. I can't believe you would expect bereavement for a cat. When your cat is sick, why don't you just say that you are sick?

Posted by: to 10:27 AM | April 3, 2007 10:38 AM

I think that Mustang II has a very legitimate gripe, but having worked in an office that offers a day of telecommuting to all employees (after they have worked for 1 year and demonstrated satisfactory performance), I think that it is more a management issue than a mom issue. The managers at her company were just not being fair. I remember at my office, several years ago, we had a guy who golfed during his day at home. He actually told a couple of people, myself included, that he considered it a day off. Eventually, management caught up with him on performance related reasons and took his day at home away. Before my son was born, I never took a day at home because I just like being at work. I like to come in, see and talk to people, and do my work in my office. At home, I feel very disconnected. But after he was born, I began working at home once a week (but my husband was there too to look after the baby). It was great the first year. But as he grew older, it got harder, because as far as my son was concerned, if I was home, I had to be available to him. So when he turned 2, I stopped working at home and came in to the office every day. It just felt like a more efficent way to work for me. I really appreciated the ability to work at home, and I still do it very occasionally, like when I have to wait for a plumber, but I just prefer to come to work when I can. Luckily, in my office, they are pretty fair about how the work at home privelege is managed. Everyone has a right to it, and keeping the privelege is contingent on good performance. I have seen people get their days taken away because they slacked, and believe me, it has happened to people with and without children. So once again, I don't think it's a mom issue. It's a management issue.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 10:39 AM

As for telecommuting when you have a sick child (or for snow days for that matter), the amount of work you can do is greatly affected by the age of the child. At age 2 the child may need your constant attention, except for the few hours of nap time. At 10, you wouldn't want that child home alone, but he or she is fully capable of entertaining themselves for long stretches and understanding that you can't be interrupted for non-emergencies, while you are on the phone, etc.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | April 3, 2007 10:39 AM

Blog Stats Fan | April 3, 2007 10:18 AM;

First, let us beat the work at home horse till its nice and dead, and then some.

Let the childless and saddled toss mud on each other for a little while longer.

When we are done flogging the guest writer,

maybe I'll post something I thought was interesting,

then I'll take request. Yours was a good one.

Posted by: Blog Stats | April 3, 2007 10:41 AM

I was glad to read this guest blog today. In fact, I was thinking about the issue of being childless and work this very morning, as I was running late, walking the dog, scarfing down eggs and scurrying up to the mechanic's to drop off my car so my partner wouldn't be late having to drive me all the way in the opposite direction to my work before getting to his.

I really appreciate the flexibility that my job allows in that as long as I get my work done, it's not essential that I arrive at 8:30 am on the dot. It allows me a few extra minutes to enjoy my breakfast with my sweetie, give the dog a little more attention and run a load of laundry before charging out the door.

In some (larger?) companies, however, I suspect that the flexibility would be reserved for the parents, not for the childless. After all, a kid has far more needs that must be met than a spouse, a dog, etc. Yet, it's through the flexibility of my workplace that I am able to create more harmony in my home life. And isn't that what work-life balance is about?

Posted by: pb&j | April 3, 2007 10:44 AM

"Don't you know that we, the barren, childless, bitter baby-haters don't get to complain?"

I think there's a distinction that needs to be made here. People like Mona - in their twenties, single, childfree, looking towards graduate school, fairly new in their careers - are different than someone who is older, established in their career, but still childfree. The former will probably eventually get married and have children and is at a different point in their life than the latter, who may have decided that they will never have children.

It sounds to me like MustangsII is more of a "Mona." And it's not really fair for her to look at her coworkers who have been given priveleges that she hasn't received and automatically assume it's because they have children. Maybe, just maybe, it's because they've already been through the point in her careers that she's going through now.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 10:45 AM

Today's post was long overdue. I want balance, too! I have a family, even though I don't have children -- that's a key point people overlook!!! I chose not to have children so I can spend time doing what I want -- and that may involve something other than work. So while my colleague can leave early to go to a parent-teacher conference, I can't leave early to take an art class with my sister? Because my family consists of an adult and my colleague's family is a child? We all have needs and we all want balance. Having a child doesn't mean your balance comes at mine's expense!

Posted by: I want balance, too | April 3, 2007 10:47 AM

That's why I don't hire women in their 20's and early 30's. They think the breeding they do outside the office on their own time somehow earns them privileges inside the office at everyone else's expense.

Everyone, and I mean everyone has the same rights to telecommuting, regardless of how many kids, cats, dogs, sick relatives, and gold fish they have.

Posted by: Steve | April 3, 2007 10:47 AM

A few points:

#1, men take advantage of telecommuting just as much as women, whether staying home with children or otherwise. Please leave gender blame out of this.

#2, it is not possible to take care of a child AND work from home. A young child, in particular. Although I'm sure some people do it, it's not possible to give adequate attention to both. You'd be neglecting one or the other (or both).

I have flex time and find that to be much more accomodating than telecommuting. If I stay home with my son or take time off to bring him (or myself!) to the doctor, I just make it up later. The only requirement in my company is to work 80 hours in a 2-week period. Really, more companies should allow flex time, regardless of whether a person has children.

Posted by: Working Mom | April 3, 2007 10:48 AM

I find the comments to be somewhat disturbing. Since when does having children give anyone special consideration? Although I think it is great that companies now are being more flexible with working parents, I do think it is getting out of hand at the expense of those of us who are child-free. I am fortunate to work for a small company that allows flexibility to everyone whether it is a sick child or in my case sick dog.

Posted by: dym | April 3, 2007 10:50 AM

"That's why I don't hire women in their 20's and early 30's."

Please tell me that's a joke.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 10:53 AM

Of course it is ridiculous to allow moms to telecommute and nobody else. I don't see how anybody can justify that. I don't think it's super common, though. I have never worked in a place with such rules. I think the guest columnist has had some bad luck.

As for working from home, I think it's really difficult to do with kids, personally. I had the option to do it, I tried it for a few months and I have to say I didn't get much done, I didn't enjoy being torn between paying attention to my daughter and paying attention to my job. It was like living in limbo. I stopped after a few months and was relieved.

Posted by: chicagomom | April 3, 2007 10:53 AM

You know, I'm reading all these comments about how all the child-free workers are being so taken advantage of, and I have to say I think at least some of that is misplaced.

It is a fact of life that good employees will pick up the slack for bad employees, whether they are parents or not. I am a parent and I have had to pick up the slack for single, childfree people who just suck at their jobs. It's not always about parents or childfree, it's about the individuals involved. And my guess is that people who spend a huge portion of their time stewing and griping about other people's work may not be such great employees either.

Posted by: Megan | April 3, 2007 10:54 AM

Here's my take: telework does not necessarily equal part-time work. I teleworked 4 days a week for 2 years, going into the office 1 day each week. My schedule at home was hardly different than my schedule at work: I was at my desk no later than 9am and worked until 5-6pm, unless I got my supervisor's okay to take time off to run errands that couldn't otherwise be accomplished outside of work hours. Bottom line: even though I wasn't physically in the office, I was expected to be available during normal working hours. Unless it is otherwise agreed to, the mother working at home probably should have the same expectations. That may mean child care during the day. I know another teleworking mom and that's exactly what she did.

Posted by: Former Teleworker | April 3, 2007 10:56 AM

"That's why I don't hire women in their 20's and early 30's. They think the breeding they do outside the office on their own time somehow earns them privileges inside the office at everyone else's expense."

I am so glad, Steve, that you've made this choice. As a result, your competitors have exclusive access to a talented pool of workers (some of whom are unproductive, in the same way that some men in their 20s and 30s are unproductive) who, if they worked for you, would be only making an ignorant jerk richer and more successful. What a perfect description of how karma works.

Posted by: anon for today | April 3, 2007 10:59 AM

"I do think it is getting out of hand at the expense of those of us who are child-free."

Agree. I'm not "child free", but my kids are adults who have been out of the house for years.

Thus it is assumed that I can work around the holidays, stay late and come in early.

I can't prove it, but there is an assumption among some of the management that I (and other singles w/o children living at home) don't need as much salary as those who have children and spouses to support.

(Even though need should have nothing to do with salary).

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 11:01 AM

To Pay your dues first @ 08:37 AM -

When you finally show up at the office, could you please bring me a Starbucks and a biscotti on your way into work? Because you probably are coming in later and the lines are gone.

Because I've been in my field and the workplace for almost 15 years, I don't have children, and even though my job is mostly computer based, I'm still not allowed to telecommute for any part of the week (or at least I wasn't until I started my own company). And while I am sympathetic to parents (my childlessness is not my choice), you just crossed a major professional line.

The author of today's topic may be a bit young, but your response is hideously derogatory to those of us who are experienced, childless, and still exist within the same untenable work situation.

Whether or not she's new to the work place or a senior executive, if she was told she could telecommute during the interview, then she should be able to telecommute. Otherwise that's, I don't know, unethical hiring practices? Or let's just call it lying.

Oh - and telecommuting means you WORK from home. Granted, when you work from home, you can get twice as much done in half the time, but that still means you have to sit down and do something. It doesn't mean you leave the computer on during the day so you can hear when your e-mails arrive.

If your child is too sick to work, do what almost the entirety of parents I know do when their kids are sick - you call in sick yourself. You should have more than the standard 10 days off if you've paid your dues. Otherwise, it's grossly unprofessional to say you're working and then not - whether you're in the office or at home.

Now of course I'm sympathetic that your toddler has Chicken Pox. I'm not inhuman. I'm not my former boss who told me to "suck it up" when my brother had a brain tumor and my father had a bypass within a month of each other. (But when her 3rd grader had a common cold, our department ground to a screeching halt for a week while she nursed him.)

Unless your telecommuting privilege is not one based on rank, then get over your attitude...NOW. Or go get me that cup of coffee and biscotti I asked for. Actually, pick up a package of Madeleines, too while you're at it. All this typing has made me peckish.

Or even better - start a single-owner home based business if you're that skilled and see how many deadlines you make without other employees to help you out and distribute the workload - whether they are under, equal to, or over you in the company hierarchy.

That coffee isn't going to pick itself up.

Posted by: Childless Manager | April 3, 2007 11:03 AM

To: Posted by: I understand | April 3, 2007 09:44 AM

Re. your question to Londonmom -- there is a big difference in counting the hours when you are supposed to be available at a specified time! Who cares if you are available and working at midnight if your colleagues could not reach you at 3:00!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 11:04 AM

After reading the first few entries, I skipped to the end. Unless you're an owner of a company, I don't think that you're "entitled" to anything. Did you have to travel a lot? Work long hours? Your salary, or personal gratification, or the chance for advancement were what you received. Not the chance to "coast" by working part-time, but earning a full-time salary. As a middle-aged, single woman, I can say that it seems to me that children, and the parents that they command, are running the world. Those kids are going to be in for a BIG disappointment later in life, and so will the parents who made them the center of their world.

Posted by: Alice | April 3, 2007 11:05 AM

Anon at 10:45, here is something interesting. At my job, the childfree and those with children are considered equal. One of our postdocs is working under his own grant (read: he is not paid by our boss), and left his family in Japan for two years while his wife was earning her doctorate. He works 12-hour days regularly (though I assume that will end once he brings his family back from Japan; still, I'm sure he'll at least put in 8 hours per day). Another former postdoc has four young children and commutes 2h/day via Metro and ridesharing. He does leave early, but he's usually in by 6 am. Another colleague of mine is relatively famous in the science world--runs two labs, has been featured on the cover of National Geographic, and has titled scores of scholarly articles. Her son is almost two and she brings him to work, but has not once left him with any of us unless we offered (he's a delight). Really, those of us who are childfree work the shortest days, though we all take time off, long lunches, etc. with about the same frequency.

Oddly enough, I've never felt discriminated against in my workplace. I feel it a lot on this blog, but for some reason I keep coming back. I must be a masochist...

Posted by: Mona | April 3, 2007 11:06 AM

How do you "work" when you're taking care of sick children or home repair? I'm all for teleworking but I don't think you should have your children in the house or should you be taking care of the homefront -- laundry, repair, dinner. That's not teleworking, that's getting paid to do what everyone is responsible for doing during THEIR PERSONAL TIME.

Posted by: BMOM | April 3, 2007 10:25 AM

BMOM, Settle down for a second. It depends on the industry and the nature of the employee's workplace. Your comments do not fit my workplace or my boss's preference.

Timeliness is next to godliness in my office. When I work from home because the cable guy is going to arrive within a 4-hour window, I am able to respond to all calls and e-mails on a timely basis. My colleagues don't care whether I am in Pakistan, Hawaii, or down the hall if I respond timely. After the cable guy leaves, I head into the office. I am not compensated on a 9 - 5 basis, and my boss is delighted that I am working from home off and on, rather than taking half a vacation day and being entirely unavailable.

The Golden Rule of the workplace applies. What behavior will make your colleagues work-lives better today? In my workplace, a colleague who takes a sick or vacation day to deal with personal business, and fails to respond within 2 - 3 hours to e-mail and voice mails, won't be considered a team player and won't last long.

Posted by: anon for Tuesday | April 3, 2007 11:06 AM


Ok I've been here enough today, so I'm leaving but here is my final thought for the day. TELECOMMUTING IS NOT A RIGHT! ugh

Posted by: Chris | April 3, 2007 11:07 AM

All is well with the world - the mighty Chris has spoken!
Ok I've been here enough today, so I'm leaving but here is my final thought for the day. TELECOMMUTING IS NOT A RIGHT!

Posted by: DC lurker | April 3, 2007 11:09 AM

Army Brat is making very good points.

Posted by: John Q | April 3, 2007 11:09 AM

But you childfree people can afford $3.50 cupcakes and don't have to share them!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 11:12 AM

Army Brat is making very good points.

Posted by: John Q | April 3, 2007 11:09 AM

thanks for telling us he has your blessing

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 11:12 AM

Good article....don't listen to some of the nutcases....they are jealous.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 11:12 AM

thanks for telling us he has your blessing

Posted by: | April 3, 2007 11:12 AM

Like this one?

Posted by: John Q | April 3, 2007 11:18 AM

Why do you assume that someone who can AFFORD a $3.50 cupcake would be stupid enough to actually SPEND that much on one?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 11:19 AM

I'm also appaled by the nasty resoponses to todays guest blogger. Especially to the 36 year old "pay your dues first" responder.

I've worked as a single person, married person and as a working mother, I'm older and I've paid more dues.

Children are a choice, not a requirement.

You aren't entitled to not do your job just because you have children.

Get off your high-horse, do your job and get your own coffee.

Posted by: CPR | April 3, 2007 11:19 AM

Let's change topics: What do you think of the new Washington Post home page? How much do you think it sucks?

Posted by: Ryan | April 3, 2007 09:22 AM


The new homepage is an improvement, less cluttered than before. So get used to it, Ryan, or leave!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 11:20 AM

Why do you assume that someone who can AFFORD a $3.50 cupcake would be stupid enough to actually SPEND that much on one?

Posted by: | April 3, 2007 11:19 AM

I don't know. Why would some people spend over $500.00 on dinner at a big name restaurant when they could spend far less elsewhere without a decline in food quality?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 11:23 AM

Why would some people spend over $500.00 on dinner at a big name restaurant when they could spend far less elsewhere without a decline in food quality?

Posted by: | April 3, 2007 11:23 AM


I would never do that either, so why do you automatically ASSUME I would?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 11:26 AM

I've been in this position, and I have a child! One of my supervisors, who has a baby, too, is very difficult to find. Between frequent business trips,commuting a long distance and working from home, half the time we don't know where she is. Many emails and voicemails go unanswered and needless to say, it is very frustrating. I think a lot of us have just learned to accept it, for better or for worse, and look to other resources for many of our questions.
It is particularly frustrating to me, as I have prided myself on being very accessible when I telecommute - letting people know the best way to reach me, and checking in often. My priorities have changed since having a child, but my work ethic hasn't, and I feel so lucky that my company gives me the flexibility I really need.
I feel for the Guest Blogger today and understand her frustrations. I hope her two bad experiences have not embittered her towards working moms. It hurts when a couple bad eggs spoil the whole bunch - espeically for those of us who work so hard every day to achieve the Working Mom balance.
ps- As far as the kid being at the doctor's office every other day... believe me, when this happens with your own kid and you're trying to keep tabs on your work and be there 100% for your ill child, it sucks!

Posted by: Bad Mom | April 3, 2007 11:28 AM

I would never do that either, so why do you automatically ASSUME I would?

touchy, did he say you personally?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 11:28 AM

Things have gotten very stupid here in the past few minutes. Let's get back on topic.

Posted by: Frank | April 3, 2007 11:28 AM

When I saw this topic, I was like, "wow, oh my gosh!" :-) I think there are like some valid points like if you are going to tell someone they can work from home, it is still like a verbal contract.

"Believe it or not, several months later, I found myself in another position with a female manager who had three children and worked at home three times a week." What position was that if she is having three children three times a week? :-) Those kids must have been dropping out like gumballs from a quarter machine! I bet it was like it was just crazy!

"We don't want to be pushed around in the workplace either, no matter who is doing the pushing." But what if it was like someone really important doing the pushing, or maybe just a little pushing?

Ok, enough of me picking on the author for me, for now, like for real. :-) She did have a good point, even if it was not conveyed as well as it could have been- but her frustration is VERY understandable, besides, it's better than beating the daycare horse.

Leaders/managers need to be fair and not hold double standards! It is one thing to make allowances on occasion, as everyone has personal concerns, but when you are routinely hurting people and biased against them based on whether or not they have kids, it is wrong. How does someone go about fixing these wrongs? Quitting should not be the only option for folks in Mustang's position.

What I want to know is: What on EARTH kind of government contracting issues can be done over AIM from home???

Posted by: Chris | April 3, 2007 11:31 AM

I would never do that either, so why do you automatically ASSUME I would?

touchy, did he say you personally?

Posted by: | April 3, 2007 11:28 AM


If no one denies your assumption then it stands. But if someone challenges it then you make a personal attack. No one buys this "heads I win, tails you lose" game except you.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 11:32 AM

"Things have gotten very stupid here in the past few minutes. Let's get back on topic."

Oh, yes. Let's get back to the blasted sacred topic before the Washington Post Secret Police come after us!!!

Posted by: George | April 3, 2007 11:33 AM

To become a telecommuter at my job, you have to sign an agreement that you will not be the primary person caring for someone, such as a child or another adult. I stick to that. There have been days that I have taken off for my sick child because the person who watches my child cannot drive. I'll usually take enough leave to account for any exigencies that arise, but I'll also be working from home at the same time.

I have worked for my company for a long time, "paid my dues", as someone else wrote. New employees don't automatically get to telecommute, and that may seem unfair, but they need to realize that my company is rewarding me for the hundreds of emergencies I have taken care have spent years proving that I can be trusted. Nobody how well your interview went, you don't walk in off the street with that.

I have heard the same rant from our new employees. It is almost always out of line. I think the persepctive of this person's employer is definitely needed.

Posted by: joe | April 3, 2007 11:33 AM

Review of permit applications can be done from home if you've got the computer and access to the business system. Same thing with writing reports or evaluations of design proposals from private contractors, all which my wife has done from the house.

Basically, as long as the proper reference materials are available at home, a powerful enough computer and software are there too, and a good internet connection, someone working in a government service agency shouldn't have any trouble working from home. Meetings can still be held face to face but those are infrequent enough that they don't require someone constantly being in the office.

Posted by: John L | April 3, 2007 11:35 AM

I think the guest blogger is making good points.

First, if teleworking was promised at the time of hiring, it should have been allowed. Getting it in writing is a CYA move, and probably would have been a good idea. That doesn't change the fact that the employer hired under false pretenses.

Second, failure to speak up and complain about the problems with the at-home project manager may be because she was a new employee and not because she "needs to grow up".

Third, the purpose of telecommuting is to cut down on traffic and pollution while still getting the work done. The benefits of teleworking for the employer are happy employees who are getting the work done. The benefits for employees are saved commuting time, more flexibility, and the ability to take care of some personal concerns such as occasional sick children and repairmen visits without having to miss entire days at work. The common thread is "getting the work done".

There are those who feel that businesses are excluding a talent pool of parents who need the additional flexibility of teleworking. However, I believe that businesses also exclude a talent pool of non-parents who also need/want the flexibility of teleworking. If teleworking opportunities are, or are perceived to be, unfairly granted to parents over non-parents, then businesses risk the possibility of losing workers. Today's guest blogger left because of it. Whether or not you believe she is a good employee or not, you should at least consider what she is saying.

I think that businesses that allow telework should have clearly defined policies. This would help with some of the 'unfairness' issues if all employees were aware of the conditions under which teleworking is allowed.

Posted by: tillie | April 3, 2007 11:37 AM

"I have worked for my company for a long time, "paid my dues", as someone else wrote."

And where I work, there are plenty of people who have been "warm bodies" with barely a pulse for a long time who get the perks.

It can still boil down to who you know.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 11:38 AM

"That's why I don't hire women in their 20's and early 30's. They think the breeding they do outside the office on their own time somehow earns them privileges inside the office at everyone else's expense."

So, Steve, which company do you do hiring for?... you know, just so I can report it to the Department of Labor for discriminatory practices in hiring.

Posted by: Tribilin | April 3, 2007 11:40 AM

I am obviously the one and only Chris. Someone has been posting as me! Imposter! I did not really post until 11:31 today and have posted nothing since Friday.

We need a new topic on how to provide balance for people who post on a blog who use the same name as a "regular." How do we avoid anarchy and confusion that such an addition provides? What should be done? What coping mechanisms would you use/have you used if/when you were in the same position?

Posted by: Chris | April 3, 2007 11:41 AM

People, people. What is not being understood here? Top performers get the perks and the others don't. It's called incentive. Do good work and you will get privileges. Do not so good work and get only a pay check. There are no gray lines. Go look at any companies telework agreement. It's very clear as to what is expected of you. If you can meet those requirements in 6 hours at home instead of 8 hours at the office, what's the big deal?

Most agreements also make it clear that you have to earn the privilege. The writer sound like she spent a lot of her time complaining about it and not earning it.

What more is people think that it should just be extended to you. I seem to think that this is Hillary Clinton's method of thinking. Make the rich pay for the poor.

Posted by: Mike C | April 3, 2007 11:42 AM

why do so many people assume that the guest blogger has not 'earned' the right to telecommute? many of us who have 'paid our dues' at work for 10 or more years are not always 'rewarded' with this benefit. it has less to do with 'paying dues' and more to do with how the boss views it. Most bosses seem to agree that parents deserve the benefit to work from home, and those without children must learn that their work lives are simply not deserving of such a perk, that their commute time is meaningless. The comments on this blog prove that the thinking has not changed on this topic. Flaming someone who uses her cat as an example of caring for another being is rude. Yes we KNOW animals cannot begin to compare in importance to the children who will grow up to win Nobel prizes. But if her choice is to have a pet, or care for an aging parent or sick sibling, why is that deserving of scorn? Those who choose to have 3, 4, or more children, you are brave and wonderful and generous. But why does that entitle you to sainthood and condemn the childless to a stream of mockery?

Posted by: Ritamae | April 3, 2007 11:42 AM

Chris-The Johns had a problem with this too. Try appending a letter to your name. Like ChrisX or a number Chris2. Or just choose a name that is different then a common name. But be sure to tell Blog stat that Chris has become New name. You would hate not to get credit for your postings.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 3, 2007 11:42 AM

Megan,
You are right on. I think the thing that I found off-putting about today's blog was that the writer felt that her supervisor(s) were terrible because they were mothers. Just because someone is childless, does not make him or her a better worker. Or a more dedicated one.

An anecdote--I was a "boss" for a group of workers. Out of this group of 20 professionals I supervised, one mother took advantage of her mother status (I worked with her on this). But there were 2-3 unmarried, childless who complained all the time and refused assignments that some of the workers with children picked up. I thought that in this group, those with children tended to be organized and mature. This may not be the case everywhere and I've worked with some pretty disorganized parents whose slack I've had to pick up, but to make wholesale comments about mothers like some of the posters have is ridiculous.

This blogger does seem rather young and perhaps with time and maturity will be able to develop some insight into her work situations. Some posters had some very intelligent things to say--perhaps the blogger could have discussed specific assignment issues with the supervisor's manager. Or maybe her bitterness showed through. None of us can say because we didn't witness the interactions but I agree with others who believe there may be more to the story.

Posted by: working mother | April 3, 2007 11:43 AM

More importantly, I would hate for Blog Stats to get confused!

Posted by: Chris | April 3, 2007 11:43 AM

Isn't the goal for a contractor to do the job a tad better than half-assed? My experience has been that doing a good job in a timely manner is usually detremental to the business side of the contract.

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 3, 2007 11:43 AM

Chris

"How do we avoid anarchy and confusion that such an addition provides?"

I don't a damn about imposters!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 11:44 AM

foamgnome, I think I jumped on your thought train. ;-)

Posted by: The blogger formerly known as Chris | April 3, 2007 11:44 AM

tillie, great points. I completely agree that having policies that are unevenly applied, or having no policies and just letting some people do things for unexplained reasons, will only build resentment and have negative impacts.

I think this points also the need more generally for clear performance standards and evaluations - if there is a standard system for regular evaluations, it's a lot easier to manage performance in general, including telework. This may not be practical in small organizations, but in any big one it seems so essential and so often overlooked.

Posted by: Megan | April 3, 2007 11:44 AM

*Most agreements also make it clear that you have to earn the privilege. The writer sound like she spent a lot of her time complaining about it and not earning it.*

The blogger was told during the interview that she would be able to telecommute. Unless you think she was lying, then it seems that the employer lied, or provided less than full information on telecommuting rules.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 11:46 AM

FO4

You are not the real one right? Because the past two days you have been posting, well, garbage.

Posted by: John Q | April 3, 2007 11:46 AM

I just had to deal with an issue where one of my employees who's got a husband is complaining that the single mothers here are given special consideration. She's right. They're allowed to come in late, be out of the office far more than the moms with spouses. One of the attorneys actually said in a review "For a single mother, I think you're doing great." (I politely explained after the review that this was a potentially actionable comment and next time to check with me before you speak, LOL.)

What do we all have to say about that?

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 3, 2007 11:47 AM

I really wish that the blogger's post had been a more eloquent one, not because I am the grammar police, but because I think that her very valid points were lost in translation. I also wish that she had not focused on telecommuting as once again her points are getting lost.

As one of those childless, 65 hour a week workers, I believe that the poster wanted to focus on the fact that there does not seem to be much sensitivity about the fact that we too have lives. Also, people are not as sensitive to the fact that childless people may have valid reasons for needing the same accomodations as people with children, i.e. I have an ill mother who lives out of town and I would love to work half days on Fridays so that I could drive to Pennsylvania and spend more time with her. However, when I asked for the accomodation my boss said no because he needed me. However, my coworker was allowed to take off Fridays because bonding with her new child was considered important by my boss. I agree that it is important but so is my mother.

What I find interesting is that there society is much more sympathetic to the needs of people with children, and they should be sensitive, but there is not as much sympathy for childless people with issues that are important to them. I think that all we really want is fairness in the mindset of our employers and a conscientiousness around the important aspects of our lives.

Posted by: Attorney | April 3, 2007 11:47 AM

I find this story difficult to believe. But then, I find many workplace stories difficult to believe. I think this is a reflection on whatever establishment you were working for, not working mothers.

The fact that you managed to find TWO such offices is either an extraordinary coincidence (bad luck, in your case), related to the type of work you're in, or simply unbelievable.

Posted by: Jennifer | April 3, 2007 11:48 AM

Posted by: | April 3, 2007 11:46 AM,

I don't think the writer lied. I think she didn't read the agreement and what you have to do it earn it.

Posted by: Mike C | April 3, 2007 11:48 AM

I also think that there must be an element of bad luck in MustangII's situation. I have been in the workforce for almost 20 years. More than half of that time as a childless worker. And I have never seen that kind of imbalance skewed in favor of parents. I'm not saying it doesn't exist. But I don't think it's pervasive.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 11:51 AM

You are also being rude.

Posted by: to ritamae | April 3, 2007 11:52 AM

We've just had our first child and I can completely sympathize with those who are juggling their jobs and kids. But this was my choice. Why should those who work with me have to pay the price for it? They weren't a factor in the decision making that my wife and I did.

Posted by: New Dad | April 3, 2007 11:52 AM

"One of the attorneys actually said in a review "For a single mother, I think you're doing great." (I politely explained after the review that this was a potentially actionable comment and next time to check with me before you speak, LOL.)"

Oh man, WorkingMomX, reading that made me cringe!

I think that it is important to recognize it whenever someone is dealing with a difficult situation - whether it is a sick mother or relative, a personal illness, or child-related. I also think that giving someone some slack whenever possible when such a situation arises is important and humane.

If the situation is going to be ongoing though, there needs to be the expectation that the employee will use that initial slack to figure out an ongoing solution so that they can perform like other employees. I don't know if that made sense, but I guess my basic point is that there is a difference between a need for some temporary slack and an ongoing inability to perform up to standard.

Posted by: Megan | April 3, 2007 11:54 AM

There is alot being said about what cannot be done or should not be done while teleworking . . . and the fact is a cookie-cutter, one-sized fits all approach does not work for every worker.

I will have my child home with me the 2 days I telework. Yes, it will be difficult and require a LOT of planning. No, I will not be working in one full 8-hour span of time. Guess what? My work does not demand that.

Here's what works for my boss. I am available for phone calls and emails during the core hours. I get as much "real" work done as possible. But, if I have to put in extra time in the evening when husband gets home or on the weekend or whenever, so be it. Why does it matter when I do it as long as 1) I get it done and done well and 2) I am otherwise accessible to my boss and coworkers.

I am a good employee with a demonstrated productivity. They want to keep me. As a result, they have given me great flexibility and they have a loyal, hard-working employee in return. Plus, my job is amenable to this type of arranggment and so it works.

So, please don't give me the "teleworkers can't work" or "don't work" with kids at home/while waiting for the cable guy . . . etc. YOU may not be able to do so. I can. And, many people that I know can -and do- as well.

Posted by: JS | April 3, 2007 11:54 AM

I think work/life balance is up to the individual bosses own personal views of work/life balance. It is irrelevant to their own parental status. My former boss was a single childless man with deceased parents. But he loves work/life balance for himself. So he was always open to offering it to his employees. We could have been given more if his higher ups would give the green light. New boss is also childless man (don't know if he has parents alive) but loves everyone to be in the office 9 to 5 M-F. I do know I did maintain my part time status as a favor due to my parenting status. But even that will eventually go away. I had been working full time for 7 years prior to having kids. Paid my dues and was offered part time. But the real thing was I was offered part time because my former boss thinks work/life balance is important. Tying everyone down to 9 to 5 is more an issue of control for senior and mid level employees.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 3, 2007 11:55 AM

To "pay your dues": you may think you paid your dues and can slack off now, but I assure you those who work for you may still hate working for you and are entitled to their viewpoints. And if your employees/associates (you said "partner" so is it correct to assume you're a lawyer?) hate working for you, you're going to get grudgingly bad to adequate work product from them.

I'm tired of hearing about those who "used" to work long hours so they think it's okay to do virtually nothing, like the Guest Blogger notes in her post, and have others pick up the slack for them. I, too, have seen this with telecommuting/"working from home" attorneys. The news from the associate point of view is: we don't like you, we don't want to work for you and the work we do for you isn't nearly as good as the work we do for others we respect far more. And those are the people that are working side by side with us when there's work that absolutely needs to get done, even if they are partners and we are mere lowly associates. They certainly don't have "Pay Your Dues"'s attitude.

To JS: I think you are absolutely right-anyone who's bad in the office will likely be bad at home and vice versa. There are always going to be people who abuse any workplace where firings are too few and far between. I've also seen that.

To Childless By Choice: You're an idiot. You deserve to work for Pay Your Dues.

Posted by: Employee Respect | April 3, 2007 12:08 PM

"FO4 You are not the real one right? Because the past two days you have been posting, well, garbage."

John Q, I think your expectations of me are a little too high because I've been having major problems with my family. Grandma has cancer, wife & kids are sick, and my cats are due for their rabies shot.

However, if you give me another work from home day per week, this could ease the incredible burden of me traveling to and from the office, and then you can expect better quality post from me in the future.

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 3, 2007 12:11 PM

This just in:

MustangsII is hard at work on her next blog: Why it's so, like, unfair that the handicapped people get all the good parking spots

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 12:12 PM

Apparentely you 'working people' don't have much to do since you spend your day blogging. Foamgnome, do you even work for a living? You seem to live on this blog. Get a life. Obviously if you worked from home you'd spend it blogging, shopping, drinking, taking care of your kids, carpooling, gardening, sleeping late. If you can't get any work done in the office, you're not going to get any done at home. BTW, I'm on my lunch break -- my personal time. What's your excuse?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 12:16 PM

Or like, why can't I totally get the senior discount?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 12:17 PM

What's your excuse?

You need one, she does not. what a jerk

Posted by: leave foamegnome alone | April 3, 2007 12:21 PM

John Q, Are you the real John Q? I missed the day Leslie handed you a man-tiara designated you Arbiter of Submission Quality. Do share the criteria so we can apply it to your submissions as well. Applying that criteria, we might independently conclude that your posts at 8:50, 8:55, 8:58, 11:09, 11:18 and 11:46 are, well, rubbish.

Posted by: anon for today | April 3, 2007 12:24 PM

nomination for best laugh of the day! My soda almost met the screen mano a mano.

anon's post at 12:12-
MustangsII is hard at work on her next blog: Why it's so, like, unfair that the handicapped people get all the good parking spots

Posted by: dotted | April 3, 2007 12:25 PM

"I think every post so far this morning has been from the same anonymous poster." -cmac

Ah, reaping the seeds of suspicion. Too bad the puppet has been too swamped with work to post since "Jan" outed me.

Posted by: Henson | April 3, 2007 12:26 PM

"Another new employee and I got up enough nerve to ask, after several months on the job, when we would be allowed to telecommute"

How dare you and your bimbo friend come moping in my office, looking at your toes and whine for an entitlement! If you have to ask permission, the answer is "NO". Go back to your desks and get some work done and don't ever come in here and ask another stupid question like that again!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 12:26 PM

cmac:

Can we agree to disagree re: the blogger's use of English? I find your posts to be well writen, by the way. No problem.

Posted by: dotted | April 3, 2007 12:28 PM

This issue has been a hot button issue for me for years!!! I'm always staying late, giving up days off, etc because of other people's family issues take precedent. I have a co worker who is always leaving to take one of her brood to dr/dentist/ballet/carpool/soccer while I had to put in a half day leave to take my dog to the vet (8:30am appt). Also, my mom always scheduled our appointments for first thing in the morning so we wouldn't miss school and she would be late. Why schedule kids appointments at 10:00am??? I think holiday time is the worst--all the parental staff leave for junior's pagent or class party and us childless folks are holding the (Not goodie) bag. And YES! I'm glad that AirTran threw the screaming three-year-old off the plane--so there! For those parnets with righteous indignation--I think they are just jealous. I think I'll get a pedicure and take a last minute romantic getaway with my husband this weekend.

Posted by: SZ | April 3, 2007 12:30 PM

Ah, reaping the seeds of suspicion. Too bad the puppet has been too swamped with work to post since "Jan" outed me.

Posted by: Henson | April 3, 2007 12:26 PM

Henson, you are one clever wench. For centuries, mankind has been sowing seeds, then reaping the harvest. You've apparently found a way to skip that annoying step of nurturing the seeds and growing the plant until fruition. All you need is a personality to go with your efficiency.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 12:31 PM

Doted, What does well writen mean?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 12:32 PM

d'oh!

Posted by: henson | April 3, 2007 12:32 PM

Why do so many people think that "balance" is only for parents and only refers to work/child time? We all want balance between work and whatever we choose to do when not working, whether it's child care or mountain biking.

I'm child free and intend to stay that way. I'm also really tired of parents being able to leave early to go to their child's softball game and those of us without children having to stay and cover for them.

I've only ever had one co-worker who would leave early for child-related reasons and then finish her work later in the evening. The rest just plan on doing it the next day or passing it off on someone else.

Even then, I didn't consider it fair. She got to be outside enjoying the great spring weather and the rest of us were stuck inside. If she left two hours early and it only took her an hour that night to finish, that was fine. But the rest of us had to stay for two hours, because "something might come in and you need to be available to take it." Plain and simple, the mom worked less.

I've had occasions where the whole team had to come in on Saturday and supposedly stay until the project was done. The parents all get up and leave around 2-3, stating they're leaving because they have to spend time with their children. The rest of us have to stay until 9 or 10 and finish. If the parents had stayed, we all probably could have left around 6.

Going to higher-ups or HR is pointless, in any job and company. If you take the problem to upper managment, you're viewed as being a complainer and at fault. I've never encountered an HR department that would resolve any sort of dispute. They're "only there to observe" or think that their job is limited to making sure you fill out all the right forms.

Posted by: Child free and happy | April 3, 2007 12:32 PM

well writen means I have a sticky 't' key...d'oh too

Posted by: dotted | April 3, 2007 12:34 PM

cmac:

Can we agree to disagree re: the blogger's use of English? I find your posts to be well writen, by the way. No problem.

Posted by: dotted | April 3, 2007 12:28 PM


Yes, agreed. I didn't mean to aim the disclaimer on my own writing towards you - but to the general audience as ammunition against an anon attack.

BTW: I agree with you most of the time, so this is rare.

Posted by: cmac | April 3, 2007 12:36 PM

I'm a regular reader, but not a regular poster....

But, today's guest blogger HIT HOME!

Before I took my current job, I probably would have sided with the moms on this blog (I'm childless, but hope to one day achieve work/home balance with future children). However, after being inadvertently taken advantage of when our new admin assistant (single mom with very little maturity or ability to juggle work/home) started flaking out, I went through an ordeal getting job descriptions and responsibilities sorted out. It turned out fine in the end, but opened my eyes to the reality of this problem. Why should I have to deal with a bad worker who can't plan her child's needs around her job's needs?

I'm only 29, but with a master's degree and a research position it is strange that the men in my office (all my co-workers are men) felt that random filing and phone covering had to fall to me.

I realize I might get smacked down for this post, but I'm sincerely interested in others' thoughts. Thoughts?

Posted by: Seattle | April 3, 2007 12:38 PM

Face it, you are biased against people who have children. You act like they are this massive burden and expense, interrupting all of your good times and selfish pursuits, and then you whine because your company will not pay for your birth control. Why should other people be forced to pay for your "private" behavior? If indeed it is your "reproductive freedom" and "choice" to have sex with whatever random person, why should your company or the taxpayers be forced to subsidize this? Will we be required to pay for your abortions, too? On the one hand, you don't want to be "discriminated" against because of your "choices," and yet you mock women who are mothers and are, in your opinion, "unproductive" in the workforce. I think what should happen is your company should pay for your Prozac so that we aren't forced to listen to your drivel about how sorry your life is that you feel the need to have birth control so you can have casual sex with one stranger after the other!

Posted by: Jan | April 3, 2007 12:39 PM

Those of you who are single/childless/whatever complaining that you want the same benefits given to parents, were you aware of the discrepancy when you took the job?

If so, ISTM that you accepted the difference when you accepted the job. If it happened after you started work, how about trying to find another job?

Posted by: John L | April 3, 2007 12:39 PM

"Apparentely you 'working people' don't have much to do since you spend your day blogging."

na- na- na- nahh - nahhh!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 12:39 PM

To child free and happy

You make some very good points. On balance should refer to balancing life and work, whether with children or without! I personally think children are wonderful. I can see how that they do not suit everyone. Having children (or not) is a life-choice.

As has been aptly expressed, even those who are child-free have outside interests, ailing parents or animals, etc. Everyone has things they care about.

Posted by: Caroline | April 3, 2007 12:40 PM

I haven't been late or absent due to a hangover since I've had kids...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 12:40 PM

Face it, you are biased against people who have children. You act like they are this massive burden and expense, interrupting all of your good times and selfish pursuits, and then you whine because your company will not pay for your birth control. Why should other people be forced to pay for your "private" behavior? If indeed it is your "reproductive freedom" and "choice" to have sex with whatever random person, why should your company or the taxpayers be forced to subsidize this? Will we be required to pay for your abortions, too? On the one hand, you don't want to be "discriminated" against because of your "choices," and yet you mock women who are mothers and are, in your opinion, "unproductive" in the workforce. I think what should happen is your company should pay for your Prozac so that we aren't forced to listen to your drivel about how sorry your life is that you feel the need to have birth control so you can have casual sex with one stranger after the other!

Posted by: Jan | April 3, 2007 12:39 PM

Jan and her husband don't use birth control?

Only single people use birth control?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 12:41 PM

To Childless by Choice ~

Right on! Isn't answering someone else's phone the worst?!

On occasion it's fine, but on a regular basis....? Come on.

Posted by: Seattle | April 3, 2007 12:45 PM

On balance should refer to balancing life and work, whether with children or without!


umm, no that is not what the blog is about. Although we do like our nice childless posters.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 12:46 PM

Before I took my current job, I probably would have sided with the moms on this blog (I'm childless, but hope to one day achieve work/home balance with future children). However, after being inadvertently taken advantage of when our new admin assistant (single mom with very little maturity or ability to juggle work/home) started flaking out, I went through an ordeal getting job descriptions and responsibilities sorted out. It turned out fine in the end, but opened my eyes to the reality of this problem. Why should I have to deal with a bad worker who can't plan her child's needs around her job's needs?

I'm only 29, but with a master's degree and a research position it is strange that the men in my office (all my co-workers are men) felt that random filing and phone covering had to fall to me.

I realize I might get smacked down for this post, but I'm sincerely interested in others' thoughts. Thoughts?

Posted by: Seattle | April 3, 2007 12:38 PM

Seattle, The men in your workplace treat a female colleague as if she is an admin, despite the fact that her role is not administrative, but you're not upset with them. You are only upset with the flaky admin. Interesting. When the flaky admin is long gone, the more significant workplace issue might finally get your attention and focus.

Posted by: anon for the week of April 2 | April 3, 2007 12:46 PM

so you can have casual sex with one stranger after the other!

Speaking from experience?

Married people don't cheat?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 12:47 PM

F04,

That was not the real John Q. Someone thought it would be funny to make me look like an a**.

Posted by: John Q | April 3, 2007 12:48 PM

Lots of interesting comments; at least this is a different blog topic than the standard daycare-praising/bashing.

Pru @9:53 re: paying your dues in a previous job: it depends. When we hire someone, we want to know that that person brings value to us. Now, it will certainly help to show that you've brought value to somebody else in the past and thus it's likely that you'll do the same or better for us, so yes, that's taken into consideration in setting up working conditions/granting requests

anon@10:15 - oh, I get my news from a lot of sources, including personal experience. I was a fed for 17 years; a contractor for 4. I know a lot about that particular company and a number of others. 'Nuff said.

John Q. - thank youuuuu! (tm Rex Barney)

On the general note of "paying dues" - it's a balance issue. People who have shown their worth and brought value to the company are shown deference and given perks - the assumption is that this (a) rewards them for what they've done in the past and (b) encourages them/makes it easier for them to do even more in the future. Sometimes that works; sometimes it doesn't. There was a term I learned while a Fed - "retired in position". That applied to a fairly senior person who had the status and perks, but wasn't providing any work. Usually (but not always), it was a person who was a few years from retirement and knew that as long as he didn't screw up royally he wouldn't be fired. We tried to avoid those people like the plague, as one of the other posters noted. (And yes, I've seen them in private industry, too. The problem exists everywhere management lets it, it seems.)

The only effective way to deal with it seems to be take back the status/privileges until the person starts contributing again.

The guest blogger, MustangII, did have some good points. No smart company will discriminate for or against any group of employees, such as working moms or men or young people or whatever. A smart company will clamp down on abuses of the system, because it leads to disastrous projects and not too much business in the future. We'd all be wise to remember that.

Posted by: Army Brat | April 3, 2007 12:49 PM

anon for today,

Was not me who said that to FO4.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 12:49 PM

if you want the perks of parenthood then become one and quit complaining about it... This topic is very annoying. People with no kids have perks, people with kids have perks, accept it and move on! We all make our choices, own them and quit whinning!!! If you don't want to pick up the slack, then don't. Say you are too busy, etc. This is all just too nutty.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 12:51 PM

"If indeed it is your "reproductive freedom" and "choice" to have sex with whatever random person, why should your company or the taxpayers be forced to subsidize this?"

For the same reason I have to pay for other people's "reproductive choice" to have children. My salary would no doubt be higher if the company didn't have to pay so much for family medical benefits.

Posted by: Benefits | April 3, 2007 12:51 PM

To Jan ~

Your post came right after mine, and hopefully it isn't in response...'cause you are way out of line.

I am a happily married woman, I work 50 hrs a wk (not longer than other, but enough), and don't expect my work to treat me any differently than those who work hard and happen to have kids.

My "beef" is that in this case a co-worker is in a tough situation of her own making. Since our supervisor is a great guy who happens to have been brought up by a single mother himself, he feels infinitely sorry for this girl.

It took a lot of political wrangling for me to politely decline the excess work I was being expected to do. It was not an overnight process....just one of those things that started to build up.

She was playing the Mommy card and it was working for her. And, it wasn't fair.

Posted by: Seattle | April 3, 2007 12:55 PM

I'm only 29, but with a master's degree and a research position it is strange that the men in my office (all my co-workers are men) felt that random filing and phone covering had to fall to me.

I don't know, but are you the low person on the totem pole? Because if you are, it could just be that s%^t flows down hill.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 12:56 PM

My salary would no doubt be higher if the company didn't have to pay so much for family medical benefits.

It would also be higher if the insurance companies could screen us better. Cancer in the family? You're out! Over the age of 50? You're out too! Fat? You're out!

No, wait, if you are fat at least you have a chance of going on "The Biggest Loser", losing the weight and getting your health insurance back. A meteor strike is more likely.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 12:57 PM

"I'm only 29, but with a master's degree"

A lot of 22 year olds have master's degrees.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 12:58 PM

I totally agree with the blogger. Before I had my daughter I work for a company, that let the mothers, and especially single moms walk all over me (I shouldn't say company it was one location) but I was overstepped for better shifts, days off and holidays because I didn't have a family. I was literally told that not only by several managers but by the mothers themselves. That they needed those hours, days off because they had kids and I didn't. I still hate Debbie, Suzanne and Christy for behaving that way.

Posted by: Tam | April 3, 2007 12:58 PM

I'm a daily reader, infrequent poster. The regulars on this blog crack me up...and I can't for the life of me figure out why many of the 'anonymous' posters are so critical. I've been telecommuting for 8 years, 30 hours a week. I return phone calls and email within the hour. If I need to step away from my desk (to pick up a kid from karate, or go to a dr. appt), I let my supervisor know. We are all adults here...as long as you get your work done correctly and in a timely fashion, it shouldn't matter where you work. I realize that's oversimplified, but it's the truth.

Posted by: Momof4 | April 3, 2007 1:04 PM

Married people don't cheat?

Good question, ask Childless by Choice.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 1:04 PM

12:56 - You have a point. It could be that it all flows downhill, but the fact is that I'm higher on the totem pole than the admin who gets to leave at 3:30 to pick up her kids. Should she be expected to plan her day better?

To anon for the day - Another good point. However, in this case my supervisors and I have made progress and defined responsibilities. I feel that this is the right job for me and my career and don't want to leave it. After many discussions with them, I feel that my treatment was unintentional and will not happen again.

My post's greater point is that this blogger has a valid issue that happened to strike a cord with me b/c I'm going through it.

Posted by: Seattle | April 3, 2007 1:05 PM

On balance should refer to balancing life and work, whether with children or without!

umm, no that is not what the blog is about. Although we do like our nice childless posters.

------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------

Actually the link on the homepage of the post says "childless at work" ... if you are not a regular this kind of looks like a discussion that is not focused on parents.

Posted by: sidenote | April 3, 2007 1:06 PM

We are all adults here...as long as you get your work done correctly and in a timely fashion, it shouldn't matter where you work.

Best post all day!

Posted by: scarry | April 3, 2007 1:06 PM

12:58

What's your point?

Posted by: Seattle | April 3, 2007 1:07 PM

My point in pointing out my age was that I'm the youngest in the office (sorry for not being clearer).

The admin/single mom is older than me by 4 yrs. I'm better educated and have a higher position than she does...

Posted by: Seattle | April 3, 2007 1:09 PM

"I would take this piece much more seriously if the writer has bothered to write in a professional manner, i.e. "and she was like..." Honestly, as a former editor, the tone was quite young and not very convincing. As to the actual topic, what is the point? Mom's make terrible bosses?"

Posted by: NC Mom | April 3, 2007 08:46 AM

Ok, NC Mom, normally I don't take bloggers on over their grammar, punc, spelling, etc. But since you are making a big deal out of the guest blogger's sloppy writing style, let me point out the following:

"...as a former editor, the tone was quite young..."
Ever hear of a dangling modifier, former editor?

"...mom's make terrible bosses?"
Don't use an apostrophe to make a simple plural.

Most important, don't criticize unless you're perfect.

Posted by: A Regular | April 3, 2007 1:12 PM

On balance should refer to balancing life and work, whether with children or without!

I can see how Caroline might think this, especially since at the top of this column it advertises a separate "on Parenting" blog.

Posted by: Confusing, I'd agree | April 3, 2007 1:13 PM

The admin/single mom is older than me by 4 yrs. I'm better educated and have a higher position than she does...

It doesn't matter what she does. You have to stand up to the pushy men. Like you said, you are better educated and are not the admin. I think the bigger issue is with the "men." Is it really just you and the admin in the office? No other ladies?

Posted by: scarry | April 3, 2007 1:13 PM

The admin/single mom is older than me by 4 yrs. I'm better educated and have a higher position than she does...

Oh. Sadly, you volunteered to do her job for her. Don't do that again. Practice the following phrase, "That sounds difficult. How are you going to deal with it?" If you are asked for help, you can decide if you will, how you will help, for how long, etc. Don't jump right in and "fix" someone else's problem--because then it becomes YOURS.

It sounds like the gents in the office knew that already.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 1:14 PM

"This blog is devoted to illuminating the work/family debate through stories from moms about how we juggle work and kids, in whatever portions we've chosen (including none). So welcome, working moms, sort-of working moms and not-working-right-now moms."

This isn't a childless blog, so if you want to come here, don't expect it to be parentless.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 1:16 PM

Seattle, could you file that posting under "Waaaaaah!" for me? ;-P

Posted by: Chris | April 3, 2007 1:18 PM

LMAO at A Regular.

Posted by: Chris | April 3, 2007 1:21 PM

All it says in the italicized description at the top is that, "Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life."

I can't tell by Caroline's post whether she does/doesn't have children, though she states that she thinks "they are wonderful".

I just think there ought to be some balance in the way the chatters on this blog approach the discussion

Posted by: Confusing, I'd agree | April 3, 2007 1:21 PM

Those of you who are single/childless/whatever complaining that you want the same benefits given to parents, were you aware of the discrepancy when you took the job?

If so, ISTM that you accepted the difference when you accepted the job. If it happened after you started work, how about trying to find another job?

Posted by: John L | April 3, 2007 12:39 PM

John L, Seriously, how can any prospective employee ever know this stuff before she or he accepts employment and shows up for the first day of work? It's not until he is in a job for several weeks, minimum, that he identifies this sort of disparate treatment and non-performance. Then, if he starts job-hunting immediately, he has to explain to the prospective employer why he is job-hunting again. We both know he will sound like a whiner, and the average hiring manager will run rather than risk hiring someone who appears to have a high chance of turning out to be the chronically unhappy employee. I generally find your comments to be insightful, but, in this instance, maybe was less realistic and practical than is your norm.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 3, 2007 1:22 PM

Megan's neighbor, this is the type of balance and rationality that I was hoping for. Thank you.

Posted by: Confusing, I'd agree | April 3, 2007 1:24 PM

Unfortunately, yes, it's me and 5 much older men.

I'm proud of my position and what I've accomplished. I've been hired into a group of professionals as their equal, and when this issue came up it completely took me by surprise.

If it sounds like I'm spitting vitriol on this single mom, it's because I'm angry at this particular single mom.

It apparent to me that she has been playing the mommy card for years to gain benefits and perks. She couldn't even find time in her schedule to graduate from college. Her parents are wealthy and put her darling 7yr old through private school.

I have no doubt that there are many single moms who work very hard to support themselves, their families, and do a good job at their jobs. This isn't one of them.

My question for the blog is: How are we childless workers supposed to tactfully deal with working mother injustices? Even when it is the management who is at fault, we risk looking like insensitive jerks just for highlighting the problem. Just look at the response Mustang has been getting, if you doubt me!

Posted by: Seattle | April 3, 2007 1:24 PM

Doesn't matter if they have kids or not:

At every interview we tell 'em their workday hours, including what time they are scheduled to go to lunch.

They're here a week and they want to change their hours and their lunchtime.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 1:25 PM

I get very mixed feelings about this particular post. Yes, the blogger has valid points, but boy does she come accross as whinny and bratty!

It reminded me vividly of a point in time, when I was a consultant in a now disgraced international accounting/consulting firm, and I was part of a group that did not have a home office, but were required to travel weekly to Dallas (several of us lived in DC, another one in Milwaukee, and another one in Montreal). At one point the (horrid) boss-in-turn made the determination that the married ones (including me) would be allowed to travel back home on Thursday nights so we could spend one day a week working from home. The remaining two members were both single females, in their mid to early 20s. I was greatly impressed by the stand that one of them took. She stood up to the gawd-awful-boss and made sure her rights and the rights of the other girl would be respected. She did this by stating her case clearly, concisely, and with no whinning and entitlement in it. She achieved equal treatment for all, but the kicker is that, the other girl who benefited from her stand, was by no means deserving of the right she got. She was irresponsible, immature, and spent most of her time (even with other co-workers around busting their butts) surfing the net and wondering where she would go for dinner on the company's per diem. We all disliked her very much because for the most part, we were carrying her weight around, but the single gal who worked so hard for her rights, was correct in that, if the policy is going to be allowed, then it should be equal for everyone. The irresponsible one would eventually fall on her own account ... once the powers that be realize she's just dead weight.

Posted by: Tribilin | April 3, 2007 1:29 PM

Megan's Neighbor, is like the voice of reason, once again!

Posted by: Chris | April 3, 2007 1:30 PM

""My office has telecommuting-ability. In general, we can use it once every few weeks because we want and whenever if we have sick children/repair people at home/etc."

How do you "work" when you're taking care of sick children or home repair? I'm all for teleworking but I don't think you should have your children in the house or should you be taking care of the homefront -- laundry, repair, dinner. That's not teleworking, that's getting paid to do what everyone is responsible for doing during THEIR PERSONAL TIME."

Although this was answered by somebody else, I will respond as this was my post.

When my child is sick I can either A) take 8 hours of sick leave and get NO work down or B) telecommute while said child is napping/watching video (maybe 4 hours total) and take 4 hours of sick leave. Which do you think my bosses prefer - some work or no work?

If I'm waiting for plumber to show up, I can either A) take 8 hours of annual leave and get NO work down or B) telecommute while the plumber isn't there (maybe the whole 8 hours) and talk to the plumber during my lunch hour. Which do you think my bosses perfer - some work or no work?

Posted by: Father of 2 | April 3, 2007 1:30 PM

If it sounds like I'm spitting vitriol on this single mom, it's because I'm angry at this particular single mom.

I understand, I really do, but you let yourself get sucked into the vortex of her ineptitude.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Don't let it happen again.

I suspect she wasn't any more valuable an employee before she had kids. Don't let the extra cast fool you!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 1:31 PM

I'm only 29, but with a master's degree"

A lot of 22 year olds have master's degrees.

Posted by: | April 3, 2007 12:58 PM

I am only 18 but I have an MRS degree!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 1:32 PM

Chris at 1:30,
Is that really you?

A couple of people have pointed out that a bad employee/slacker in the office will probably be a bad employee/slacker if allowed to work from home. All other things being equal that seems like the deal breaker.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 1:32 PM

To Steve @ 10:47:
Please don't lump all of us young women starting out in our careers in the same group as those who may believe in the entitlements that you describe. The fact that you unfairly state that all 20- early 30 year olds displays an awful bias on your part. A lot of us desire to pay our dues and work very hard. And believe it or not, some of us aren't looking to"breed" anytime soon. We want to work hard for a good wage just like anyone, male or female in the late 30s to 40s. Didn't you want a shot at a job more substantial than being a cashier when you were in your 20s?

That being said, I'm fortunate to work in an office where the telecomming is not abused very much at all and those who tried to abuse it were let go from the company. But I have run into the same situation at the guest blogger described myself. It sounds like an appalling situation over all. I don't like being given extra work when one of the parents in my office needs to care for their child, or some other issue, but rather than complain about it, I do the work and hope my manager is watching. I also am sure to mention all of the extra work I do when my performance appraisals come up and it's time for my raise. Paying your dues is not supposed to be fun, but at some point we all have to do it and hopefully it will pay off in the long run.

Finally, in response to the person who posted that they had little use of an opinion from someone who jumps jobs, I applaud the guest blogger for quitting when she knew she was not going to be happy at her position due to the situation. One of worst things to deal with when working with someone who hates their jobs so much that they come in, do their work incorrectly, and then leave because they don't care anymore. I'm sure you have all known that person at one point.

Posted by: Nichole | April 3, 2007 1:33 PM

As of yesterday, 5,051 post contain the word "love"

Who are these passionate lovers and how many times have they used the "L" word?
Here's the list:

20 single western mom
21 momof4
21 single mom
22 JKR
23 experienced mom
23 Megan's Neighbor
27 dotted
28 KB
28 TakomaMom
29 Fred
29 WorkingMomX
30 Rockville
33 atlmom
37 Lizzie
41 pittypat
43 Meesh
44 NC Lawyer
49 Mona
61 moxiemom
65 cmac
65 KLB SS MD
82 Laura
90 Emily
90 Father of 4
90 Leslie
96 Scarry
100 foamgnome
108 Megan

Posted by: Blog Stats | April 3, 2007 1:38 PM

Been away for awhile. Work is overloading lately, along with my initiative to ban smoking in my little berg south of Houston...

Hopefully this article, in WaPo today, will put this old saw (Leslie has mentioned it in the past, I recall) too bed once and for all.

Hope all my old friends here are doing well...

=================================

A Bargain At 77 Cents To a Dollar

By Carrie Lukas
Tuesday, April 3, 2007; Page A23

Why are politicians again championing the Equal Rights Amendment -- newly minted as the Women's Equality Amendment -- when the speaker of the House, secretary of state and the Democratic presidential front-runner are women, and when women are making gains in education and the workforce? One reason is that many claim women are systematically discriminated against at work, as the existence of the so-called wage gap proves.

Talking about wage discrimination against women is a political mainstay. Last month, Sen. Hillary Clinton expressed consternation that women continue to make "just 77 cents for every dollar that a man makes" and reintroduced legislation, the Paycheck Fairness Act, that would give the government more power to make "an equal paycheck for equal work" a reality.

This statistic -- probably the most frequently cited of the Labor Department's data -- is also its most misused.

Yes, the Labor Department regularly issues new data comparing the median wage of women who work full time with the median wage of men who work full time, and women's earnings bob at around three-quarters those of men. But this statistic says little about women's compensation and the influence of discrimination on men's and women's earnings. All the relevant factors that affect pay -- occupation, experience, seniority, education and hours worked -- are ignored. This sound-bite statistic fails to take into account the different roles that work tends to play in men's and women's lives.

In truth, I'm the cause of the wage gap -- I and hundreds of thousands of women like me. I have a good education and have worked full time for 10 years. Yet throughout my career, I've made things other than money a priority. I chose to work in the nonprofit world because I find it fulfilling. I sought out a specialty and employer that seemed best suited to balancing my work and family life. When I had my daughter, I took time off and then opted to stay home full time and telecommute. I'm not making as much money as I could, but I'm compensated by having the best working arrangement I could hope for.

Women make similar trade-offs all the time. Surveys have shown for years that women tend to place a higher priority on flexibility and personal fulfillment than do men, who focus more on pay. Women tend to avoid jobs that require travel or relocation, and they take more time off and spend fewer hours in the office than men do. Men disproportionately take on the dirtiest, most dangerous and depressing jobs.

When these kinds of differences are taken into account and the comparison is truly between men and women in equivalent roles, the wage gap shrinks. In his book "Why Men Earn More," Warren Farrell -- a former board member of the National Organization for Women in New York -- identifies more than three dozen professions in which women out-earn men (including engineering management, aerospace engineering, radiation therapy and speech-language pathology). Farrell seeks to empower women with this information. Discrimination certainly plays a role in some workplaces, but individual preferences are the real root of the wage gap.

When women realize that it isn't systemic bias but the choices they make that determine their earnings, they can make better-informed decisions. Many women may not want to follow the path toward higher pay -- which often requires more time on the road, more hours in the office or less comfortable and less interesting work -- but they're better off not feeling like victims.

Government attempts to "solve" the problem of the wage gap may in fact exacerbate some of the challenges women face, particularly in balancing work and family. Clinton's legislation would give Washington bureaucrats more power to oversee how wages are determined, which might prompt businesses to make employment options more rigid. Flexible job structures such as the one I enjoy today would probably become scarcer. Why would companies offer employees a variety of work situations and compensation packages if doing so puts them at risk of being sued?

Women hearing Clinton's pledge to solve their problems and increase their pay should think hard about the choices they have made. They should think about the women they know and about their career paths. I bet they'll find that maximizing pay hasn't always been the top priority. Eliminating the wage gap may sound like a good campaign promise, but since the wage gap mostly reflects individual differences in priorities, it's a promise that we should hope a President Hillary Clinton wouldn't try to keep.

Carrie Lukas is vice president for policy and economics at the Independent Women's Forum and the author of "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism."

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | April 3, 2007 1:38 PM

Megan's Neighbor, I do agree with you that it is difficult to know what the in-office dynamics are before they accept the job.

However, it sounds as if many of those complaining are doing only that; complaining, and not doing much else about their situation. If one group is getting preferential treatment, there should be a method for addressing this within the company.

If one group is getting to telecommute and no one else is, or if leave polices are being applied inequally, then speaking up is often the first step in getting at least an answer as to why the policy is the way it is.

But, complaining without anything else is just wasting air.

Posted by: John L | April 3, 2007 1:40 PM

"One of worst things to deal with when working with someone who hates their jobs so much that they come in, do their work incorrectly, and then leave because they don't care anymore."

Sounds like my first husband.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 1:40 PM

"The fact that you unfairly state that all 20- early 30 year olds displays an awful bias on your part. A lot of us desire to pay our dues and work very hard. And believe it or not, some of us aren't looking to"breed" anytime soon. We want to work hard for a good wage just like anyone, male or female in the late 30s to 40s. Didn't you want a shot at a job more substantial than being a cashier when you were in your 20s?"

Yay! Couldn't have said it better myself!

Posted by: Seattle | April 3, 2007 1:41 PM

Here's balance for you Washington area folks. It's 80 degrees outside and the Cherry blossoms are out in full bloom. The rest of the week is supposed to be cold. Why don't you stop bickering about your jobs and choices and go out and enjoy the day. If you are telecommuting or a stay-at-home parent, then you have no reason to be inside blogging away and getting all worked up about this.

And...if somebody asks you to do someone else's job when they are "telecommuting" then say "no". You won't get fired and you have a good case assuming that you have a job description. Just walk into your coworker's office and forward their phone to their home. Or, schedule a meeting during the time that you think they are "slacking". Or call them every hour and ask a question.

It's not your problem to solve but if you play "doormat" then it will be your problem.

Posted by: Leaving Very Soon to "Telecommute" | April 3, 2007 1:42 PM

Thanks for the positive shout-out, Chris and Confusing, I'd agree.

to anon at 1:14, truer words were never spoken. Many childfree and parent employees volunteer to be dumped on, and don't realize they are doing so at the time. I wish I could claim credit for posting the following quote:

"Oh. Sadly, you volunteered to do her job for her. Don't do that again. Practice the following phrase, "That sounds difficult. How are you going to deal with it?" If you are asked for help, you can decide if you will, how you will help, for how long, etc. Don't jump right in and "fix" someone else's problem--because then it becomes YOURS."


Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 3, 2007 1:44 PM

see what you get when you deign to diss the annointed few who think that work is an intrustion into the rest of their lives? . . . hell hath no fury like a mother who believes she is being attacked for putting work anywhere but second . . . afterall, its their right to parent their children without interference from work! . . . how dare you insinuate that they have an obligation to the workplace!

Posted by: Colorado Kool Aid | April 3, 2007 1:46 PM

I had hoped to telecommute after I had my first child. I was working for a large company that promoted work-life balance/telecommuting as a recruitment tool. In practice, this benefit was granted on a very individual basis. In my department, neither of the women who were allowed to do it were mothers.

My request to do it was denied, and I did end up leaving the company at the time. I didn't leave out of anger, it just wasn't a practical commute after I had a child. I was disappointed (and I admit, a bit bitter) at the time. I thought it was unfair that I was denied what others were allowed to do. I had a very good performance record, and my work really was suited to it. I never saw my clients face-to-face; everything was done via phone and e-mail.

I think part of the reason I was denied was that we were in a period of downsizing anyway. There would have been some IT costs to getting me set up at home, and it would have been hard for my boss's boss to justify those costs at that time. She had to cut costs to save her job and the department. My quitting meant one fewer person to lay off. Also, for the manager, managing one or two telecommuters was not overwhelming. However, it was a fairly large department, and if the majority were allowed to do it, there might have been an overall quality-control issue. It would have meant a more difficult job for the manager too.

I agree with the people that pointed out that MustangsII would have been smart to get the agreement in writing. When I started with my company, there was no implicit or explicit agreement that I would be allowed to telecommute eventually. It was largely wishful thinking. MustangsII's hiring manager was wrong to reneg on the telecommuting point if she told her she could do it. It's unclear to me how specific the details of the practical arrangement were at the time of hiring.

MustangsII writing style does suggest that she may not be that experienced with hiring negotiations. Whether or not any of the blame of her situation lies with her, I hope the difficult lesson this time will help her in her next hiring negotiation.

In my experience, the perks granted were a combination of performance and who one knew/office politics. Basically, how important was it for the decision maker to retain the employee at the time?

It sounds like MustangsII manager was a jerk, but it's hard to say whether or not it was a case of a jerky manager COMBINED with other factors.

Posted by: Marian | April 3, 2007 1:47 PM

To Megan's Neighbor: Jeez, you're not much of a team player, are you? Do you think the company got to where it is by people not helping out?

Posted by: Teamwork | April 3, 2007 1:47 PM

Is your post suppose to mean something or are you just amusing yourself again?

Amusing was not my first choice of words but I am being polite today.

Posted by: to blog stats | April 3, 2007 1:47 PM

"Then, if he starts job-hunting immediately, he has to explain to the prospective employer why he is job-hunting again. We both know he will sound like a whiner, and the average hiring manager will run rather than risk hiring someone who appears to have a high chance of turning out to be the chronically unhappy employee."

I get your point, MEgan's Neighbor, but I don't think it is always a bad idea to begin job hunting as soon as you realize your job is a bad fit. People make mistakes, and as long as you don't have a pattern of job hopping, employers understand. In the early part of my career, I had a couple of jobs that each lasted about 4 years. Then I found what I thought was a better job, only to discover that my boss was Satan incarnate. So I began to look immediately, and found another job within 4 months. I took it. When asked about the previous employer, I just said it was a "bad fit." Since I had good references for the other two employers, the prospective employer just figured that my current experience with Satan was an aberration and hired me.

Of course, if you have a pattern of being unsatisfied and skipping from job to job because of petty things, it's another issue. You have to pick your battles. You can't quit willy nilly because your next door neighbor cuts his toenails loudly or eats smelly lunches, or because the guy across the hall refuses to say good morning every day.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 1:49 PM

Yep, this is the relgular old sarcastic Chris! I would never say anything so neutral as that imposter did at 9:05- at least not without hiding it in some tasteless humor. We all should know by now that women should be at home making pies, cookies, or pudding, and keeping the house clean... now THAT is balance.

Nichole, right on. There is little worse than picking up someone else's slack, but we do our time in hopes we will move up and get paid a bit more some day... Hopefully sooner, rather than later, if we are picking up a LOT of slack. ;-)

Like, all these stereotypes about our generation are soooo ridiculous! Give me a break!

Posted by: Chris | April 3, 2007 1:50 PM

"I agree that the guest blogger today is a major twit and needs to grow up."

Arlington Dad,

I wonder what specifically about her blog caused you to call her a "major twit."

While her writing skills weren't stellar, she articulated a very real workplace issue -- discrimination in the allocation of flexibility perks. In her case, the discrimination centered on her childfree status, but other personal circumstances often underpin workplace inequities.

Given that you then went on to support one of her points (in a manner of speaking), why did you find it necessary to open with the rude comment?

Was it simply to impress your like-minded friends on the blog?

If there was something you particularly objected to in the guest blog, why not address the issue instead of bashing the writer?

Posted by: pittypat | April 3, 2007 1:50 PM

"Oh. Sadly, you volunteered to do her job for her. Don't do that again. Practice the following phrase, "That sounds difficult. How are you going to deal with it?" If you are asked for help, you can decide if you will, how you will help, for how long, etc. Don't jump right in and "fix" someone else's problem--because then it becomes YOURS."

That was me, actually. I didn't realize I hadn't "signed" it.

Posted by: MarylandMother | April 3, 2007 1:51 PM

This Friday is a perfect example. The office goes to skeletal crew at noon and has done so for years and years.

I have already worked out who will be the skeleton in office -it is almost always me.

A lot of the Christian people in the building won't realize what Friday is until it is too late to get out of being the skeleton.

Then the "kids are out of school" cries begin.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 1:53 PM

First, I agree that if in her interview she was promised she could telecommute, then she should have been allowed to telecommute (although I wonder if maybe she misunderstood the policy in her interview?).

The problem I have is that she is complaining about benefits her BOSS enjoys, and claims she is discriminated against because she does not have kids. She does not state that other people in her same position are allowed benefits that she does not have because of their parental status.

My boss has many benefits that I do not have (including a much larger salary). This is one of the reasons I would prefer to have his job, and am working to be qualified for it.

I feel sorry for Mustang that she felt neglected by her boss, but perhaps the issue is not that her boss was not doing any work, but that the boss did not feel responding to Mustang was the most important thing she needed to do. We know nothing of her other work responsibilities.
My boss (who has no children) can often take longer than I would like to return something to me. But I realize that he has many other people to supervise and many other responsibilities. My job is not to prioritize his work for him, that is his job. I can gently remind him that I need X in order to be able to do Y, but then he has to decide whether he prioritizes me being able to do Y over the other things on his plate. And I just go on doing the parts of my job I can do without that.

So, I might complain about it to my friends and family, but I don't think it's fundamentally unfair, or somehow discriminatory, that he's allowed to structure his life and job in a way that isn't the most responsive to MY needs.

Posted by: Kathrina | April 3, 2007 1:53 PM

She couldn't even find time in her schedule to graduate from college.

I was with you up until this sentence. Many people don't graduate from college and it usually has no bearing on whether or not they are good workers.

Sorry, it sounds a bit snobby to me.

Posted by: scarry | April 3, 2007 1:54 PM

"We all should know by now that women should be at home making pies, cookies, or pudding, and keeping the house clean... now THAT is balance."

Chris, I respectfully disagree. Now, if you'd said "making pies, cookies, or pudding, OR keeping the house clean," I'd be right there with you. I choose pie. :-)

Posted by: Laura | April 3, 2007 1:55 PM

"Men disproportionately take on the dirtiest, most dangerous and depressing jobs."

Today after my workout, I noticed a "Men at Work" sign hanging on the locker room door. The men were polite and allowed us our modesty, working behind a curtain, and calling to ask permission to come out if they needed to leave the room. Still, it made me wonder, aren't there any female plumbers?

Posted by: Mona | April 3, 2007 1:56 PM

Laura, well, if you put it that way, you MIGHT sway my opinion... but you could always just get another woman in the house to help out! ;-P

Posted by: Chris | April 3, 2007 1:57 PM

It cuts both ways...

hell hath no fury like a mother who believes she is being attacked for putting CHILDREN anywhere but second . . . afterall, its their duty to WORK without interference from CHILDREN! . . . how dare you insinuate that they have an obligation to the CHILDREN!


Posted by: Damned if you do | April 3, 2007 1:57 PM

Mona, those little holes in the curtain didn't bother you? :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 1:58 PM

I was thinking about the question of equality, and whether workplaces should offer equal benefits to all workers. My first reaction is to say yes, but then, when I think about it, maybe the answer is not so simple. People don't have equal salaries. Why should some of their benefits, such as flex time or working at home, have to be equal? Some workers negotiate for flex time or telecommuting up front. If the company wants their services enough, they might grant them these benefits on an individual basis. I agree that parenthood by itself should not be the reason that people get such benefits, but I don't agree that people should not get them based on other criteria, such as good performance.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 1:59 PM

To Maryland Mother and Megans' Neighbor:

Okay - Point taken. But, to agree with a previous poster "How are you supposed to know until you are in the job?"

I've worked for 7 yrs for small, non-profit orgs where everyone helped out everyone else. Guess I've been very, very luck up until this point.

It was a surprise (and, added salt to the wound) when I realized that this workplace didn't work that way. At least not with the co-worker who was taking advantage...who was a single mom...which brings me full circle back to my original question: How do childless workers point out that they also have family's and priorities that need attention without incurring the wrath of the working moms?

And, no, the priorities in question do not include partying all night and hanging out with friends, before you all jump on that train....wink, wink

Posted by: Seattle | April 3, 2007 1:59 PM

Hey Marian,

Did you see yesterday's CTOTD?

Love and Kisses

Fred

(I need to move up on that list)

No CTOTD today, I am working on the creepy van song.

Posted by: Fred | April 3, 2007 2:00 PM

From Kathrina:

"perhaps the issue is not that her boss was not doing any work, but that the boss did not feel responding to Mustang was the most important thing she needed to do."

Kathrina sounds very pragmatic to me. Upon rereading MustangsII piece, I do get a feeling from the tone that she is a high-maintenance employee. There is no "I" in team, after all. :-)

Posted by: Marian | April 3, 2007 2:03 PM

I am the only one in my office with a young child. My bosses have made it easy
for me to be an employee and a mom.

Last week day care on site day care opened. My daughter and I commute together on the metro and we even do lunch occasionally.

I arranged my summer around one of my coworkers schedules. She wants her sick
husband to see his sick mom and I am trying to make that happened. All I asked for was the second week in August off so I
can keep my daughter in on site day care until she starts kindergarten.

Posted by: shdd | April 3, 2007 2:03 PM

"There is little worse than picking up someone else's slack"

Well, for me, I don't mind helping somebody else out. For one thing, I get to work with somebody other than myself, which can get lonely, plus I get satisfaction, not to mention more experience out of my job. I especially like helping the mommies. They are the ones who help me do those other office task like cleaning my desk, helping me with my coffee, making sure I'm well taken care of in the food line at the office party, and they don't mind helping me pick out a Valentine's card for my wife.

If they talk on the phone with their kids, make appointments, come in late or whatever, it's none of my business. It's an issue with their supervisor.

Too many people want a job, not enough people want to work.

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 3, 2007 2:06 PM

Emily wrote: "I was thinking about the question of equality, and whether workplaces should offer equal benefits to all workers. My first reaction is to say yes, but then, when I think about it, maybe the answer is not so simple..."

Emily, I'm certain you don't mean to advocate disparate treatment for comparable employees if it can lead to illegal discrimination based on one or more protected categories (e.g., gender, race, national origin, religion, age, disability, etc.).

On the other hand, this is a reason some workplaces offer so-called cafeteria benefits, so that employees can select those which best suit their particular needs, instead of one-size-fits-all benefits, or insufficient benefits. This is an issue that warrants further discussion, perhaps as a topic-du-jour on this blog board.

Posted by: catlady | April 3, 2007 2:07 PM

Mustang has some great points. I am in a situation where I am able to work from home 3 days a week, and frankly I consider it a privilege. I also am able to produce work that validates that I am actually "working". If I didn't, I can pretty much bet that I would have to make the 50+ miles each commute everyday. I do have 2 kids, and they go to a babysitter, or else I would get nothing done, and would be in the same position as Mustang's boss. Sometimes I have rearranged my schedule to accomodate activities for the children, or take them to the Doctor; it is one of the advantages of working from home, but most of the time, I am available. Maybe I have this thing all confused, but working from home means you work for the employer for your paycheck, not have your kids at home running around.

Posted by: JJ | April 3, 2007 2:07 PM

Maybe I have this thing all confused, but working from home means you work for the employer for your paycheck, not have your kids at home running around.

DING DING DING - we have a winner!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 2:08 PM

Hi, Fred.

I went back and read your poem. It was lovely and makes me want to go outside.

Here's a poor substitute for CTOTD (stolen from the Writers' Almanac), but there's a bit of a chuckle at the end:

Today is the birthday of Henry Luce, founder of Time magazine. . .
"The staff consisted of Luce, Hadden, and three other full-time writers. Instead of hiring correspondents to cover major events around the country and the world, they just read what other people wrote about those events and wrote their own articles as if they'd been there. Nobody noticed."

Posted by: Marian | April 3, 2007 2:11 PM

Father of 4- I'm not referring to helping out. We do that all the time in my office- and usually if someone needs to go early to do something, people chip in, knowing that when they need time they can take it- and it is fairly balanced. What I was saying is that it is awful when it is constantly one person, or a select few as in Mustang's case, who always have an excuse why they can't do their share of work so it gets dumped on you. Been in those places before... blah.

Posted by: Chris | April 3, 2007 2:11 PM

"What I was saying is that it is awful when it is constantly one person, or a select few as in Mustang's case, who always have an excuse why they can't do their share of work so it gets dumped on you."

Chris, I agree that this situation is awful. But it has been my experience that there are always good employees and bad employees, and that these designations have nothing to do with whether they are parents or not. In my current office, we have a younger crowd of single childless workers who are chronically absent and tardy. Those of us who have kids have to pick up their slack all the time.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 2:15 PM

"I haven't been late or absent due to a hangover since I've had kids..."

You get a cookie! For being one of the proud, the few, the brave! For not succumbing to the deep depths of that beautiful bottle each and every day. What a feat that must be! Even though the sight of your crotchloaves makes you want to. So. Very. Much.

Right. Because the only people who have alcohol problems are single and childless.

I weep for your children.

Posted by: whatever | April 3, 2007 2:15 PM

Chris, It's been mentioned before, but I think the formula is 20% of the workers do 80% of the work.

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 3, 2007 2:15 PM

"How do childless workers point out that they also have family's and priorities that need attention without incurring the wrath of the working moms?"

Well, I make a point of finding out the kids school schedules the minute they are posted (so I know when they have days off, [holidays, professional days for the teachers, etc.]) and I try to plan appointments and holidays around that information. Sometimes they get sick in the middle. That's what sick leave is about. (Darn it.)

Yes, I'm the annoying co-worker who has already signed up for and been granted time off for Thanksgiving and ChrismaKwanzHukah, 2007.

You aren't obligated to tell anyone why you wish to use your annual leave at any particular moment in time. Just ask for it well in advance.

I suspect your annoying fellow-employee isn't a stellar one under any circumstances. You simply were the new kid on the job and handled this situation badly (for you), as it turns out.

Don't fret about it and don't beat yourself up for it.


Posted by: Maryland Mother | April 3, 2007 2:16 PM

Oh yeah, I used to be in the 20%, but I've moved up.

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 3, 2007 2:17 PM

"I haven't been late or absent due to a hangover since I've had kids..."

No, but you've become the world's biggest bore by endlessly discussing those kids!

Enough already!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 2:17 PM

61 moxiemom
65 cmac
65 KLB SS MD

I LOVE the fact that I am between Moxie and KLB, 2 of my favorite regulars.

Can't wait to hear what the annoying anon has to say about that!

Posted by: CMAC | April 3, 2007 2:22 PM

I love that you love being in between us!
Not kinky, really.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 2:24 PM

>Still, it made me wonder, aren't there any female plumbers?

Posted by: Mona | April 3, 2007 01:56 PM
==========================

No. Only men really know how to lay the pipe. :~)

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 2:25 PM

"I was thinking about the question of equality, and whether workplaces should offer equal benefits to all workers. My first reaction is to say yes, but then, when I think about it, maybe the answer is not so simple. People don't have equal salaries. Why should some of their benefits, such as flex time or working at home, have to be equal?"

Emily, I agree with you. One other point that seems to have gotten confused above is that not all "needs" are created equal. I think it's entirely different to ask for flexibility to deal with a sick relative (whether that's a child or a parent) than to go do something fun (whether that's a hobby or a kid's activity). Personally, I see no reason why people shouldn't be given all the flexibility that they want, if the job allows for it. But where there is a conflict, responsibilities (kid-related or not) deserve more consideration than fun (kid-related or not). I've got an associate right now who I'm covering for while she is taking care of some medical issues with her MIL -- there's no way on God's green earth that I'd expect her to come in just so that I can leave early enough to get the kids to Seder on time.

And second, all employees are not created equal. I don't bill $2500 hrs/yr or bring in $1M in business, so I sure don't deserve the same partnership rank or bonus as those who do. On the other hand, I do very good work, and my firm wants to keep me, so they look for ways that allow them to turn a profit while giving me the flexibility I want. The more you make it your business to prove your worth to your employer, the more your employer will make it their business to find a way to make you happy.

Posted by: Laura | April 3, 2007 2:25 PM

I feel just devastated that I didn't make the list. Since I don't want to steal KLB, CMAC or Moxiemom's thunder, I'll only post the word here 60 times:
love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love love

Posted by: catlady | April 3, 2007 2:26 PM

For Us ALL (but particularly Seattle, who sounds like she needs a grim chuckle):

www.despair.com

Come on, admit it, some of those are SO apt when dealing with annoying co-workers, family, etc.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | April 3, 2007 2:26 PM

OH MY GOSH! I just read blog stats and I'm sandwiched between Emily and Leslie in the top 10 Passionate Lover's List??? WOW!!! I never would have thunk it.

Wait till I tell my wife about it!

... or maybe that's not such a good idea, I'll just tell the gals at the gym and pump out a few extra reps.

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 3, 2007 2:27 PM

Thwack! (sound of Laura hitting the nail on the head)

Posted by: Marian | April 3, 2007 2:28 PM

Thank you Maryland Mother.

I particularly like this one:

DaretoSlack

"When birds fly in the right formation, they need only exert half the effort. Even in nature, teamwork results in collective laziness."

Only because it seems to apply, of course ;)

Posted by: Seattle | April 3, 2007 2:31 PM

Seattle quotes: "When birds fly in the right formation, they need only exert half the effort. Even in nature, teamwork results in collective laziness."

Seattle, I'd call that efficiency.

Posted by: catlady | April 3, 2007 2:36 PM

"Sacrifice: All we ask here is that you give us your heart"

Posted by: Maryland Mother | April 3, 2007 2:36 PM

"Even though the sight of your crotchloaves makes you want to. So. Very. Much... I weep for your children."

Posted by: whatever | April 3, 2007 02:15 PM

Whatever,

I weep for your humanity if you think children are only "crotchloaves."

Posted by: Fred | April 3, 2007 2:37 PM

The 80/20 rule works like this for me: 20% of my employees represent 80% of my daily problems. And some of them are childfree, and some of them have kids. And some are single moms, and some have partners.

Here's the thing. I have noticed over 16+ years of management that the employees who have time to complain about how life is unfair, why does so-and-so get the good assignments, blah, blah, blah NEED ANOTHER PROJECT. About 25% of my employees at any given time are star performers, keep their noses to the grindstone, adapt well to change, and don't get into the high school crap with their co-workers. Another 55% are average employees -- usually reliable, solid middle ground performance, occasional flashes of brilliancy coloring their careers. The other 20% are my PITAs. They're in my office on a weekly basis, whining about "she is disrespecting me" or "she doesn't even look up when I walk by" or "he treats me like a second class citizen", etc. Their performance is reflected in their total absorption with their own reactions to all of these "problems". I do what I can to get them out the door as quickly as possible, either by making their lives miserable (in other words, tightening the screws and nailing them for every infraction) or shopping their resume to my friends who are recruiters. I've even posted resumes on Monster for some of them.

MustangsII sounds like she's got a serious ax to grind. I suspect she's a less than stellar performer, because the stellar performers know when they can ask for perks like telecommuting. I think the people who are taking issue with the tone of her blog are ridiculous. This isn't a job interview.

To those of you, childless or otherwise, who have problems with your employers, I say turn the mirror inward. Ever notice it's always other people who are the problem? NO, IT'S YOU.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 3, 2007 2:38 PM

CATLADY - In the love sandwich you have become the bread.

Posted by: CMAC | April 3, 2007 2:38 PM

Seattle quotes: "When birds fly in the right formation, they need only exert half the effort. Even in nature, teamwork results in collective laziness."

Seattle, I'd call that efficiency.

Posted by: catlady | April 3, 2007 02:36 PM

Unless you are the lead bird.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 2:38 PM

Unless you are the lead dog, the view never changes.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 2:39 PM

If you are not the lead bird (dog), the view never changes!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 2:39 PM

CATLADY - In the love sandwich you have become the bread.

Posted by: CMAC | April 3, 2007 02:38 PM

Don't you mean "Love Muffin"?

Posted by: Maryland Mother | April 3, 2007 2:40 PM

Catlady says:

"Seattle, I'd call that efficiency."

Catlady - If nothing else, I'm arguing for teamwork AND efficiency. From everyone, both mothers and us childless workers.

Posted by: Seattle | April 3, 2007 2:41 PM

Heck, why work when you can get somebody else to do it for you? That's the hallmark of a good manager.

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 3, 2007 2:41 PM

Anon. at 1:04 -- Whoever angers you controls you. Apparently Childless by Choice has you under her thumb.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 2:41 PM

I don't drink in front of the kids, and when they're not around, who needs it?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 2:43 PM

Anon wrote: "Unless you are the lead bird."

Well, like in marathons, the Tour de France, etc., the lead often changes so that no individual gets too exhausted.

Posted by: catlady | April 3, 2007 2:43 PM

To those of you, childless or otherwise, who have problems with your employers, I say turn the mirror inward. Ever notice it's always other people who are the problem? NO, IT'S YOU.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 3, 2007 02:38 PM

Okay, I'm guessing that Chiclet's favourite is "Dysfunction: The only consistent feature in all of your dissatisfying relationships is you."

Posted by: Maryland Mother | April 3, 2007 2:44 PM

"why do so many people assume that the guest blogger has not 'earned' the right to telecommute? "

Probably because she talks like a teenager and because she said outright that in the first example that it was a new job. 18 year olds in new jobs haven't been around long enough to "earn" anything.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 2:44 PM

Chiclet, You are my hero. *claps* *whistles*

Posted by: Anon for today | April 3, 2007 2:46 PM

Seattle wrote: "Catlady - If nothing else, I'm arguing for teamwork AND efficiency. From everyone, both mothers and us childless workers."

Ahh, the voice of sweet reason.

Posted by: catlady | April 3, 2007 2:46 PM

Texas Dad of 2, thanks for the interesting article. I can't speak about Clinton's proposed legislation, but I do have other comments about the general idea of the article.

It's true that everyone should be more informed of the factors behind the stats. And I don't think legislation is the answer.

However, I disagree with this: "Discrimination certainly plays a role in some workplaces, but individual preferences are the real root of the wage gap." I think the real root of the wage gap is societal pressure based on gender stereotypes.

The paths that women take, explained in detail in the article, could be influenced by other factors than "personal choice." These choices are not only about wanting to spend as much time with the baby as possible. Some other things that come into play are (1) The husband's willingness to contribute time or money to raising kids, (2) the grandparent's willingness to do the same, (3) the options for flexibility in the career of choice. We should also remember the factors that come to light every day on this blog: the opinions of family, church, close friends, school officials, and employers. Does any one else remember the article about women in the workforce a couple weeks ago?

I think this stat speaks more about a woman's expected role in our society than a woman's "choice" about working.

So the assertion that "the wage gap mostly reflects individual differences in priorities" is misleading, unless we're talking about the priorities of husbands, in-laws, and the government. It's interesting that the author shames women for not knowing all the factors in the stat but does not acknowledge all the factors behind personal decision.

Posted by: Meesh | April 3, 2007 2:49 PM

I've tried to work from home and I think it's almost impossible with kids under a certain age (uh, school age) without daycare. If people are going to be allowed to telecommute I think they should be required to prove that they have childcare for those hours. Otherwise it should be assumed that they are caring for their children instead of working.

My sister was in a position similar to today's guest blogger. As a vet, she was required to work the entire christmas holiday on her own, including weekends and being on call all nights including christmas and old year's, for two weeks straight, including three consecutive weekends. She had this Christmas season schedule for two years in a row. So that all the vets with husbands and/or kids could "be with their families". At the end of that, she was allowed to take a week's vacation, but of course all her friends were back at work, so she spent the vacation by herself. By the end of it she was about ready to jump off a bridge, she was so burnt out. Why didn't she have to do it a third year? She quit.

I think one factor that gets lost in the claims of "families with kids" for first priority in vacation time, is that families have each other for support. Single people have no one to go to for support at the end of each day. In some ways, I think they need holiday cheer more than families, rather than less. In any case, it's unfair to discriminate.

Posted by: m | April 3, 2007 2:49 PM

Father of 4 - Haha!
Your post pretty much wraps up what others have been saying...by letting our admin/co-worker get away with not doing her work (and, most importantly, by doing it for her)SHE has been managing ME.

Who's smarter now?

Thanks for everyone who responded to my situation - good advice all :)

Posted by: Seattle | April 3, 2007 2:49 PM

It's interesting that the author shames women for not knowing all the factors in the stat but does not acknowledge all the factors behind personal decision.

Some of us don't accept shame as our due. You cannot be shamed unless you choose to be.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 2:50 PM

I am confused by people who telework but also keep their kids at home? Good lord, I love my telework day b/c it is the ONLY day that I have the house to myself! My husband takes the kids to their daycare at the normal time and I can joyfully sit at home working in my home office with a cup of coffee and not the constant, "Mommy, Mommy, etc..." For the record, I actually do get more work done from home since I don't have constant interruptions. And, yes, it took me 10 years of practicing law before I was able to receive one telework day a week.

Posted by: fed teleworker | April 3, 2007 2:53 PM

MDMother, I do love "Dysfunction". I also love "Apathy" If we don't take care of the customer, maybe they'll stop calling us.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 3, 2007 2:53 PM

Single, childless, career women do have feelings. I know. I was one for a long time. And yes, employers need to consider those feelings and be fair when it comes to doling out flextime and other benefits. And yes, there can be an unfortunate tendency in our society to make the childless feel less important than the childed.
But. . .I think the author, along with many other childfree women who frequently rant about the supposed privileges given to working mothers, sometimes forget about the kids.
At the risk of inviting a sarcastic "Please, won't somebody think about the children!" response, I would ask MustangsII to, seriously, think about the children.
Kids are what all this is about, not their parents. Kids are human beings who cannot be warehoused, abandoned or frozen in amber. They are absolutely dependent on their parents.
For example, that rant about the mother who needed to put her child down, well, what did MustangsII expect the mother to do? Toss the baby in the trash can rather than defer answering a question for a couple of minutes?
MustangsII and her sisters are being entirely unrealistic when they expect their childed co-workers to completely ignore their kids' needs or behave as if their children don't exist. Human beings are always going to come before jobs. That's the way it's always been, and I believe that's the way it should always be.
Yes, yes, childless women have out-of-work interests -- I had many myself before kids, and I still pursue those interests as time allows -- but hobbies and even passions are not the same as real live human beings who need you. For example, I love running. It's long been an important part of my life. But if I neglect my running, the world of running won't suffer for it. Children cannot be neglected.
In a civilized society, adults -- with or without children -- should be able to give deference to the needs of children (note: this is NOT the same as giving deference to adults who are parents of said children) without feeling all resentful and insulted about it.
And you know, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Working mothers aren't exactly sitting around on their asses eating bon-bons. Certainly, being a mother limits opportunities for extra assignments, travel, career advancement and the like. Those without the responsibility of caring for children should take advantage of their freedom to climb the career ladder when they can. I certainly did before I had kids. In fact, I was thankful that co-workers and colleagues were tied down by their family responsibilities, because that gave me lots of clear opportunities that really paid off.

Posted by: anon mom | April 3, 2007 2:56 PM

I so want to give "Dysfunction" to my husband.

Someday!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 2:56 PM

For example, that rant about the mother who needed to put her child down, well, what did MustangsII expect the mother to do?

Rather than bring up that it is the child causing the disruption, why not say, "I need to call you back in 20 minutes" and then DO SO?

No one *really* cares what the problem was, people simply want to know that you will deal with it, when and how.

I don't feel obliged to discuss how my kids impact my life, all the time. Particularly with co-workers or my employer. They do not need to know.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 2:58 PM

Anon. at 1:04 -- Whoever angers you controls you. Apparently Childless by Choice has you under her thumb.

Posted by: | April 3, 2007 02:41 PM

pithy, but not true.

Many of us are angered by the actions of those who foster injustice, spread hatred, and are insufferably arrogant. It may waste our time, but there's no basis for suggesting that those who act in evil ways control us.

"All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke

Posted by: anon for today | April 3, 2007 3:00 PM

Were your superiors not getting their work done and using their child-related duties as an excuse? Yes.

Does that mean that people with children don't legitimately need a break here and there and people without children probably aren't going to need those same types of breaks as often? Yes.

Get over yourself. Being a full-time working parent is H-A-R-D, not that you would know diddly-squat about that. The vast majority of us are NOT slackers. I am a lawyer and let me tell you, law firms aren't easy on parents. And I've seen plenty of non-parent slackers. You're more whiny than a toddler.

Posted by: Full-Time Working Mother | April 3, 2007 3:02 PM

"For example, that rant about the mother who needed to put her child down, well, what did MustangsII expect the mother to do? Toss the baby in the trash can rather than defer answering a question for a couple of minutes?"

No, of course no one would expect the mother to toss the baby in the trashcan. But I would certainly expect her to get appropriate childcare for the baby so that she can do her work, which is what she is being paid to do, albeit at home. She is not being paid to take care of the baby. She is being paid to work. The fact that she is doing it at home is a perk. I think that people who think that they should be allowed to take care of their kids WHILE they work are abusing the system, and probably not doing a very good job at working or mothering. Especially if the children are quite young and need lots of attention. I do grant that with older kids, it is not so much of an issue as they can entertain themselves for fairly long stretches and don't require so much hands on supervision as babies and toddlers.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 3:02 PM

Inspiration: Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99% perspiration, which is why engineers sometimes smell really bad.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 3:02 PM

"Whoever angers you controls you."

"You cannot be shamed unless you choose to be."

What is this, Kung Fu? Anymore formulaic gems of wisdom?

Posted by: Meesh | April 3, 2007 3:05 PM

That which does not kill you makes you stronger.

Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

To err is human, to forgive divine.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 3:07 PM

Idiocy: Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 3, 2007 3:07 PM

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Beauty fades, stupid lasts forever.

Life is hard. It's harder if you're stupid.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 3:09 PM

to anon mom:

I don't think MustangsII wanted the mother to neglect her child. No sane person does.

The frustration level here is that the mother in question appears to have been hired AFTER the author and then given the telecommuting rights immediately. That would be annoying.

I'm sympathetic to parents who have to bolt to pick up sick kids - that's part of childhood, little ones getting sick and building up that immune system.

But if the parent in question is spending more telecommuting time parenting than working during the hours they are supposed to be professionally available? That's annoying, whether you're childless or not.

My father is a doctor, and he still has to take calls at home, and has for as long as I can remember. You know what? From the time we could understand, we knew that when my father's phone line rang and/or if his office door was closed, we couldn't disturb him. And that was AFTER regular working hours and on weekends.

I have a friend who runs her company out of her home (with employees and everything). And the first thing she did when starting her business, even though she could barely afford it, was set up child care for her two kids. Because she said that you can't work from home as a professional and be a mother at the same time.

And she says that's the first piece of advice she gives to women who think that having an at-home business will solve their day-care problems. Because some (if not most) clients don't want to hear your kids crying in the background, and they don't want to be told "Can I call you back after I put [child's name] down?"

It's part of finding that balance. And if you abuse the perk, it should be taken away. Whether you're a single person who prefers to play video games instead of work, or a mother of a young child who spends more time being a mother than the job her employer is nice enough to let her do at home.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | April 3, 2007 3:10 PM

For more on "beaty fades. stupid is forever, see Ron White's routine entitled, "You Can't Fix Stupid".

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 3:11 PM

"Many of us are angered by the actions of those who foster injustice, spread hatred, and are insufferably arrogant. It may waste our time, but there's no basis for suggesting that those who act in evil ways control us.

"All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke"

There's a difference though between being angered by something and acting to change it. You can be an effective advocate for change without being angry - in fact, probably much more effective than the person who is angry. Anger by itself doesn't really accomplish anything outside of making you feel...well..angry.

I don't think the original pithy remark is necessarily right, but your post got me thinking.

Posted by: Megan | April 3, 2007 3:12 PM

Don't get mad, get even.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 3:15 PM

Sometimes calling a spade a spade IS taking action. Silence can be enabling.

Posted by: to Megan | April 3, 2007 3:15 PM

Don't get mad, get everything.

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 3:16 PM

I think the real root of the wage gap is societal pressure based on gender stereotypes.

So what, you think that we can change that by doing what? Is it stereotypes or free will, most people are doing what they want.

Men don't have the societal expectation that they are physically responsible for children (we're all pedophiles), we are only financially responsible. Women, the opposite.

Because of this, men choose jobs based on salary, women choose jobs based on passion, flexibilty etc. Of course, this results in men on average making more money, it is what is expected of us.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 3:17 PM

"Revenge is a dish best served cold."

Emily -- you're the one who doesn't like God, right?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 3:18 PM

Living well is the best revenge.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 3:18 PM

"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."
-- Susan B. Anthony

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | April 3, 2007 3:18 PM

I like God plenty. Organized religion is a different matter!!

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 3:18 PM

"I like God plenty. Organized religion is a different matter!!"

Indeed, Emily, indeed! It amazes me that my father-in-law secretly believes that I'm not really married to his son since we didn't get married in a Catholic church.

Oh, and according to him? All gay people are pedophiles.

Nice, really nice. So, since I'm bi, I guess that means I prey on kids, too, Dad.

If those are the teachings of organized religion. Keep me away from it. Far, far away.

Posted by: JRS | April 3, 2007 3:22 PM

Like others, I'm puzzled by Childless By Choice and her decision to read this blog and participate in discussions here.
If she hates parents so much, what is she doing wasting her time on a parenting blog?
Say somebody had a blog about farming, with lots of detailed discussion from farmers and people interesting in farming about crop-rotation methods, weather forecasts, gripes about the weather, markets and gripes about markets, machinery reviews and the like. Would you expect some non-farmer to come on and start posting messages saying, in effect, "I hate farmers! Farmers suck! Get over yourselves! You're just jealous of non-farmers!" That's how I see Childless By Choice's posts.
A few other comments: Emily and others, you have a point about the putting-the-child-down thing. It never bothered me a bit when I was childfree to have co-workers mention their kids or say something like "I have to put the baby down" or "I have to pick up the kids from school" or anything, but sometimes the less said the better.
Others have mentioned MustangII's complaints about her supervisor or co-worker spending time with kids in doctors' offices. It strikes me, too, that complaining about a co-worker tending to family members' medical problems is awfully unkind. It's not like caring for a sick child is some kind of vacation.
And lastly, to Ryan -- yes, the Post's new online format does suck very much!

Posted by: anon mom | April 3, 2007 3:25 PM

And my personal favorite, which might have some occasion relevance to this community:

"Advice is like snow,
the softer it falls
the longer it dwells upon,
and the deeper it sinks into the mind."

--Coleridge Samuel Taylor

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | April 3, 2007 3:26 PM

Because of this, men choose jobs based on salary, women choose jobs based on passion, flexibilty etc. Of course, this results in men on average making more money, it is what is expected of us.

Not to mention that getting a salary is a more immediate reward and more immediately gratifying than parenting. Less risky too.

But obviously if more men chose their jobs based upon flexibility and more women chose according to the salary, then we could effect some real changes in the world.

Parenting might be viewed as the job of the parents, not "just mom". Bringing home enough money, or looking for a job that offers health care, would be the purview of both sexes, not "just him".

I outearn my husband, but I don't hear anyone saying, "Oh, she's such a good provider! And look at what a good mother she is too, spending that much time with her kids!" Whereas if my husband outearned me, he'd be getting that particular ego stroke. Ditto for almost ANY family involvement.

I try not to get upset about it, but damnit, sometimes it RANKLES that I earn more, save more, am more involved with OUR children and get not even 1/3rd of the recognition. Well, okay, that's not true. My kids notice it (sometimes), and my parents give me strokes for it. But I guess I'm just a little tired today.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 3:28 PM

And Texas Dad of 2 gets the award for Cultural Tidbit of The Day!

Posted by: catlady | April 3, 2007 3:29 PM

If those are the teachings of organized religion. Keep me away from it. Far, far away.

Posted by: JRS | April 3, 2007 03:22 PM

Stay away if you choose, but to extrapolate from beliefs of your bigoted father-in-law that Hindus, Unitarians, Scientologists and adherents of a vast range of other organized religions are similarly bigoted is absurd.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 3:29 PM

Liking God has nothing to do with this blog. I love Emily's posts.

texas dad of 2 where have you been?

Posted by: scarry | April 3, 2007 3:29 PM

"A few other comments: Emily and others, you have a point about the putting-the-child-down thing. It never bothered me a bit when I was childfree to have co-workers mention their kids or say something like "I have to put the baby down" or "I have to pick up the kids from school" or anything, but sometimes the less said the better"

It actually has never bothered me either if a coworker had to get off the phone because of a child, or had to leave early, or whatever the child related situation may have been. Partly because it has never been a chronic situation. But I can see how I could easily have become annoyed if there had been a pervasive "my kid trumps your work" attitude at the office.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 3:29 PM

"No, of course no one would expect the mother to toss the baby in the trashcan."

...

no more John Denver for Emily. ;-)

Diaper bags are packed
They're ready to go
Mommies off to work
Gonna earn some dough
Laura's gotta clean the house and bake a pie...
But the blog is breaking
The topic's worn
Fred's van is waiting
He's blowing his horn
Anonymous' posts just make you
want to cry.

So quote me and snark at me
Tell me that you'll report me
Hog the blog and never let it go
Cause you're blogging on the puter
Don't take time to feed the kids again
Oh Leslie, I've got to go...

There's so many times you've let us down
So many daycare blogs have run aground
I tell you they're not balancing!
Every blog you post, is nothing new
Every blog you post, distorts our view
When blog stats posts, it's always annoying!

So quote me and snark at me
Tell me that you'll report me
Hog the blog and never let it go
Throw the baby in the trashcan
Go to work and don't come back again
Oh Emily, I've got to go...

Posted by: Chris | April 3, 2007 3:32 PM

Scientologists=cult

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 3:33 PM

"Stay away if you choose, but to extrapolate from beliefs of your bigoted father-in-law that Hindus, Unitarians, Scientologists and adherents of a vast range of other organized religions are similarly bigoted is absurd."

You are right. I never meant to imply that I dislike all organized religions. I think some are great, some are wacked, and some are scary. It just depends on the particular religion.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 3:34 PM

Scientologists=cult

No, no, we're the one true religion. It's the rest of you who have it wrong.

Posted by: Tom Cruise | April 3, 2007 3:34 PM

"Because of this, men choose jobs based on salary, women choose jobs based on passion, flexibilty etc. Of course, this results in men on average making more money, it is what is expected of us."

This gender-generalization is worth about as much as "scientologists=cult". thanks for nothing.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 3:34 PM

Save ME

Posted by: Katie Holmes | April 3, 2007 3:35 PM

Save ME

Posted by: Katie Holmes | April 3, 2007 03:35 PM

Get back in the house, Katie! Put down that pill bottle!

Posted by: Tom Cruise | April 3, 2007 3:36 PM

Shut up you two and drink your kool aid.

Posted by: Xenu | April 3, 2007 3:36 PM

Shut up you two and drink your kool aid.

Posted by: Xenu | April 3, 2007 03:36 PM

Hi Jim!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 3:37 PM

I have read Dianetics. The scientolgists are totally wacked.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 3:37 PM

No save me!

Posted by: suri | April 3, 2007 3:37 PM

I should say, this is not just going from my FIL's warped sense of things. But it does turn me off a bit to the idea. I was raised in a Lutheran environment, and I will tell you, in many ways, they are the worst.

It's just been my take for a very long time, that one does not necessarily have to "belong" to a particularl congregation to have a relationship with God.

Posted by: JRS | April 3, 2007 3:38 PM

do scientolgists believe in God?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 3:38 PM

Chris, you and your John Denver parody are a gem! Thank you!

Posted by: Caroline | April 3, 2007 3:40 PM

I agree with dotted. Teleworkers need to "handle their business" at home just as they would at the job. TBe professinal and try to separate the personal from the work. When I try to work from home periodically (because a child is sick), I don't get too much done until the kids are asleep for the night (unless they are sick and napping). To me, teleworking with children in the house is very difficult to accomplish, as far as productivity goes.

I don't blame MustangsII for leaving her job. But I wonder if the problem lies with the contractor and less with the teleworkers. I've heard (but thank God have not experienced) numerous horror stories about government contractors as bad employers who support and condone the behavior of toxic managers.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 3, 2007 3:41 PM

Once upon a time (75 million years ago to be more precise) there was an alien galactic ruler named Xemu. Xemu was in charge of all the planets in this part of the galaxy including our own planet Earth, except in those days it was called Teegeeack.

Now Xemu had a problem. All of the 76 planets he controlled were over-populated. Each planet had on average 178 billion people. He wanted to get rid of all the overpopulation so he had a plan.

Xemu took over complete control with the help of renegades to defeat the good people and the Loyal Officers. Then with the help of psychiatrists he called in billions of people for income tax inspections where they were instead given injections of alcohol and glycol mixed to paralyse them. Then they were put into space planes that looked exactly like DC8s (except they had rocket motors instead of propellers).

These DC8 space planes then flew to planet Earth where the paralysed people were stacked around the bases of volcanoes in their hundreds of billions. When they had finished stacking them around then H-bombs were lowered into the volcanoes. Xemu then detonated all the H-bombs at the same time and everyone was killed.

Posted by: What Scientologists believe | April 3, 2007 3:41 PM

Hi, scarry! :~)

I've been really busy at work, and in my town. A quick Spring break trip to San Antonio also put some more Tex-Mex weight on me.

And, I think a little time away from the blog rebalances perspective. Allows me to groan a bit less, too... :~)

Any big items during the time I've been out?

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | April 3, 2007 3:43 PM

wow, how do they get people to believe that? Just wondering.

Posted by: scarry | April 3, 2007 3:43 PM

Hi Emily, again. I'm struck by your comment:
"But I can see how I could easily have become annoyed if there had been a pervasive "my kid trumps your work" attitude at the office."
That, in a nutshell, is the issue here.
When it comes to balancing, it's a tough act, and that includes the way employers balance how they treat and value parents and non-parents. I do know exactly what you mean about the my-kid-trumps-your-work attitude. As much as I've always been a really gung-ho, pro-kid type of person, I do understand how overdoing things can make some workers feel less valued and imposed on, or at the very least, annoyed.
The pre-kid me always saw being childless as a significant advantage at work. But there can come a point where it's not an advantage. That's probably what MustangII was intending to get across, though her message was deeply buried.

Posted by: anon mom | April 3, 2007 3:43 PM

wow, how do they get people to believe that? Just wondering.

Posted by: scarry | April 3, 2007 03:43 PM

Try the kool-aid!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | April 3, 2007 3:44 PM

Chris, LMAO!

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 3, 2007 3:44 PM

Ok, I'm an editor, and I really didn't see much wrong with this post. Yes, it was casual, but so what? This is a blog. Sometimes it gets boring to read a lot of the "statistics say" and it was refreshing to hear a "real" voice.

Posted by: Rebecca | April 3, 2007 3:45 PM

"Oh please..now children are a disability?"

Chris, don't be a jerk - no one said that kids were a disability.

The analogy is simple - we can bring some people into full participation in the work force by making simple, reasonable accomodations for things that would otherwise get in the way. We have, as a society, decided that this makes sense in the case of individuals with disabilities.

There are far more parents than there are people with disabilities. Is it important to make sure that, to the extent reasonably possible, we bring them into the labor force too? Many believe it is - we harm our own national competitiveness to the extent we don't fully utilize this talent.

Could this become discriminatory? Sure - just as it could if we went overboard with ridiculous accomodations for the disabled.

Hence my question: where do you draw the line between a _reasonable_ accomodation, and a discriminatory perq?

If you'd like to engage on the issue, I'd love to talk. If you can't, please don't bother to throw out silly red herrings about children being disabilities.

Posted by: Demos | April 3, 2007 3:46 PM

I read this blog every day and have never seen such an outpouring of derisive comments. I am a working mom and agree 100% with this blogger--I think that women with children are given opportunities that women who don't have children are denied. It seems that, more often than not, the concepts of telecommuting and flex-time are treated as "luxuries" that only moms are entitled to.

Nice how readers interested in the topics on this blog are supposed to be open-minded and sympathetic--but only towards women with children.

And as for the comment about how you have to put in your time and earn the right to telecommute or whatever, since when is the price that must be paid to earn these rights birthing a child?

Posted by: mleifer | April 3, 2007 3:47 PM

p.s. to Chris. LOVE the song! It's now stuck in my head. It's the best thing I've read in a while.
(Now I really do have to go!)

Posted by: anon mom | April 3, 2007 3:47 PM

Chris,
Can you do a rap for your next song?

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 3:49 PM

I read this blog every day and have never seen such an outpouring of derisive comments.

Posted by: mleifer | April 3, 2007 03:47 PM

then you've only been reading it every day for a week or less.

Posted by: to mleifer | April 3, 2007 3:54 PM

Chris, That's so great I can hear Peter Paul and Mary in my mind's eye even as I read your lyrics. I propose this opus for the blog board's Official Song!

Posted by: catlady | April 3, 2007 3:55 PM

A 21 horn salute from the creepy van!

Posted by: Fred | April 3, 2007 3:56 PM

Chris,

A 21 horn salute to you from the creepy van!

Posted by: Fred | April 3, 2007 3:57 PM

"But I don't think we can use this to equate parenthood with having a disability."

Meesh, I never intended to equate parenthood with a disability. You're right, of course, that in most cases parenthood is a choice (not always - while my parents never admitted it, based on their situation at the time, I'm comfortably certain I was an unplanned preganancy).

I don't think the question of choice is necessary to make the analogy meaningful. Either way, we have millions of parents, and it behooves us to bring them into the work force as fully as possible. And, while elective, parenthood does have real societal benefits (at least for those of us who still have some hope of collecting Social Security). So I'd suggest that we don't want to limit the ability of parents to work, or discourage parenthood.

If that's the case, isn't it fair to ask "what's a reasonable accomodation necessary to make it possible for these individuals to work here?" The key word, of course, is "reasonable." Working from home twice a week might be reasonable; a personal assistant to babysit the kids would not.

The accomodations needed by a parent might be different from those needed by a person with a disability - but then again, in some cases, they might not. Enough flexibility in scheduling to accomodate doctor's appointments might be an example of an accomodation that would apply in either instance. Telecommutting might be another.

I'm not carrying a real brief for either side in this fight - but I don't think it's helpful for someone to point to an egregious example of a working mom taking advantage of her situation, and to argue form that "hey, you're discriminating against me if you do _anything_ for a mom that you won't do for me!" (Who knows, it could be that the accomodation they're getting being cut some slack over their attitudes.)

Posted by: Demos | April 3, 2007 3:57 PM

Texas dad of 2,

I am pregnant. Mona chose a law school, I forget which one, I remember that it is a jesiut school though. Fred did a guest blog.

I like men with a little weight on them, it means you are healthy.

Posted by: scarry | April 3, 2007 3:58 PM

To A Regular: Don't criticize unless you're perfect, huh?

So you shouldn't criticize a meal in a restaurant unless you're a superior chef?

So you don't beef about potholes unless you have done a better job on a road crew?

And you can't complain about the federal government unless you've been a better senator or president?

Well, this rule would be good for the medical community. No one could file malpractice suits until they demonstrated they were more excellent doctors.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 3:58 PM

Demos, being handicapped myself, I feel qualified to mention a few words on "reasonable accomodations".

The words "resonable accomodations" is an intentionally ambiguous term that defers all case by case disagreements to the courts.

It was a lawyers trick. They are full of them.

However, some standards are just now beginning to develop.

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 3, 2007 4:02 PM

Is Xenu related to me?

Posted by: Xena | April 3, 2007 4:02 PM

The word "hate" has shown up in 776 posts. Top 10 users listed below:

9 chris
9 cmac
9 moxiemom
10 Emily
10 KLB SS MD
12 Laura
12 Megan
15 Mona
22 scarry
24 foamgnome

Posted by: Blog Stats | April 3, 2007 4:05 PM

blog stats-you were amusing, but too much of a good thing generally ruins the 'appetite.'

Posted by: dotted | April 3, 2007 4:07 PM

I am glad I did not show up on the h*** list!

LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE

Posted by: Fred | April 3, 2007 4:07 PM

Fred, context please...

for example, I do not recall ever reading foamgnome writing "I h*** you" or something like that.

Posted by: dotted | April 3, 2007 4:08 PM

Blog Stats

Damn I didn't win again. I bet if you look up the phrase "you need cracked." I would probably win. :)

Posted by: scarry | April 3, 2007 4:10 PM

scarry,

Yeah, I just remember congratulating you on your latest bun in the oven just before I dropped out for awhile. Any morning sickness or other fun stuff during this one (so far)?

>I like men with a little weight on them, it means you are healthy.

That means there are a few too many of us healthy guys around these days, huh? :~)

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | April 3, 2007 4:14 PM

I did the love and hate comparison. The same posters seem to keep showing up. I agree - boring.

BTW: the stats machine doesn't count the number of words, only the number of posts where the word appears. Repeating the word multiple times only counts as 1.

Posted by: Blog Stats | April 3, 2007 4:15 PM

what's boring, Blog Stats, is your off-topic data compilation.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 4:20 PM

I love you! Where have you been?!

Can you do a search on how many times Mona complains about something? How many times KLB talks about her depressing love live? How many times anons complain about the topic of the day being hijacked by the regulars, who curiously ended up in your lists above?

Posted by: to Blog Stats | April 3, 2007 4:21 PM

Sometimes calling a spade a spade IS taking action. Silence can be enabling.

Posted by: to Megan | April 3, 2007 03:15 PM

Ok, but calling a spade a spade also isn't the same thing as being or getting angry. Anger is an emotion, and often a debilitating one. It's not action, it's not speaking. And at least in my experience, evident anger often undermines the words we speak rather than strengthening them.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 4:23 PM

Who has said "balance" most?

Posted by: Fo3 | April 3, 2007 4:24 PM

How many times anons complain about regulars without offering any on-topic comment of substance?

Posted by: to Blog Stats | April 3, 2007 4:25 PM

Chris, I snorted when I read your John Denver song. You need to quit your day job and get paid for making up lyrics for Sesame Street or something (my personal favorite: Norah Jones singing to Elmo "I Don't Know Why Y Didn't Come")

Bring on the Blog Stats. And run, Katie Homes, run.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 3, 2007 4:28 PM

This gender-generalization is worth about as much as "scientologists=cult". thanks for nothing.

Then stop talking about the wage gap as some form of discrimination requiring govt intervention. Just because it is blazingly obvious to you, doesn't mean others (Hillary C) see it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 4:30 PM

"And run, Katie Homes, run."

I will, I will. But not without my daughter.

Posted by: Katie | April 3, 2007 4:30 PM

I have half a mind to crunch a few numbers just to smear Father of 4. He's so annoying. Yes, "annoying" and "Father of 4". Perfect.

Posted by: Blog Stats | April 3, 2007 4:30 PM

blog stats you are annoying too

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 4:32 PM

Oh boy. Here I go again. Through the mud.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

I think I'll go eat worms.

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 3, 2007 4:36 PM

Anon anon,
"For example, that rant about the mother who needed to put her child down, well, what did MustangsII expect the mother to do? Toss the baby in the trash can rather than defer answering a question for a couple of minutes?"

I think the point (at least it would be for me) is that if she is working from home the child should be being taken care of by someone else or somewhere else. I certainly wouldn't expect her to ignore a crying child.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 4:36 PM

I love you father of 4 and that is all that matters. He can't drag you through the mud any worse than the day you had a guest blog!

Posted by: scarry | April 3, 2007 4:37 PM

Fo4 is this blog's hero, Blog Stats. Smear him and you smear me. Got it? You don't want to make me mad, because I am not nice when I'm mad. Do not become my enemy. You are not up for it.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 4:37 PM

Fred, context please...

for example, I do not recall ever reading foamgnome writing "I h*** you" or something like that.

Posted by: dotted | April 3, 2007 04:08 PM

Dotted,

Blog Stats will have to give you context. It is his/her posting. I am just glad that I have never written that particular word.

Posted by: Fred | April 3, 2007 4:38 PM

I have half a mind to crunch a few numbers just to smear Father of 4. He's so annoying. Yes, "annoying" and "Father of 4". Perfect.

Posted by: Blog Stats | April 3, 2007 04:30 PM


Why am I thinking that this is not the same Blog Stats?

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | April 3, 2007 4:40 PM

Emily,

I know Fo4 is your hero, but have you changed your mind on throwing your panties?

Posted by: Fred | April 3, 2007 4:40 PM

Is it just me or has everyone lost their collective minds today?

Posted by: Megan | April 3, 2007 4:41 PM

Fred,
Sorry, I only cyber cheat with one man at at time. I have my integrity.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 4:42 PM

Maybe Blog Stats is really Father of 4 fishing for compliments.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 4:42 PM

Father of 4, check out the video my son showed me on YouTube last night: "I Like Dirt" by The Thunderlords, identified as The First Metal Band for Kids.

It's a hoot, and sight is irrelevant to your enjoyment.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 3, 2007 4:42 PM

Well Emily I cyber cheat with many and it looks like you are trying to steal one of my men! :)

Posted by: scarry | April 3, 2007 4:43 PM

Scarry, we are just going to have to share Fo4. I can share. Can't you?

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 4:44 PM

Hey Fred, Blog Stats only posted top 10 users of the word hate, so the fact that you're not on the list doesn't mean you haven't used it (though I don't remember you ever doing so, I'm just sayin'...) Personally I can only take comfort in the ratio of my love to hate posts.

Posted by: Megan | April 3, 2007 4:44 PM

Of course when it with someone I love, love, love, love.

Megan I have lost my mind. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in an hour!

Posted by: scarry | April 3, 2007 4:45 PM

Love is easy.

Hate takes courage.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 4:47 PM

to to blogs stats 4:21,
You are so behind the times. I haven't talked about dating for a couple of months now. Find something new. How about the number of times I write about adult beverages?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 4:48 PM

This discussion always validates one of my main career choices: staying in the skilled worker, hourly employee category. If I have to work more hours to cover for an employee with kids (none here and no plans for any) - I get paid more via OT and the parents have to use their sick/vacation balance or forgo the wages for the time lost.

These issues are not so big once you get outside of ladder-climbing, salaried work!

Posted by: ALP | April 3, 2007 4:48 PM

KLB SS MD-

It's almost 5:00. Cocktails!

Posted by: Marian | April 3, 2007 4:51 PM

Marian,
I am ahead of you - just made my first mimosa.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 4:55 PM

I am going to have to pass on alcohol for a while. Maybe a virgin margarita.
Cheers!! Life is good.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 4:56 PM

we're getting a trader joe's locally. Should I care?

Posted by: dotted | April 3, 2007 4:56 PM

Dotted,
I do like trader joes. We buy or olive oil and balsamic vinegar there pretty cheap (comparatively).

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 4:57 PM

Stupid question time: How is blog stats getting the stats?

Please run "beer" if you are running "adult beverages."

Posted by: CMAC | April 3, 2007 4:59 PM

Men who change diapers, change the world.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 5:00 PM

dotted, you will LOVE Trader Joes! Great nuts and other healthy foods. Frozen stuff is great. The harticort verts are the best I have had frozen.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 5:01 PM

A man of quality is not threatened by a woman for equality.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 5:01 PM

I am going to have to pass on alcohol for a while. Maybe a virgin margarita.
Cheers!! Life is good.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 04:56 PM


Are you pregnant?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 5:01 PM

klb-what is a harticort vert? it boggles my mind.

Posted by: dotted | April 3, 2007 5:02 PM

Yes, but don't tell anyone yet.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 5:02 PM

woo hoo! You rock Emily!

Posted by: dotted | April 3, 2007 5:03 PM

dotted,
I just had to throw that in there as I didn't know until a while ago. They are green beans! I found out when I read a recipt in Cooking Light then found them at TJs.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 5:06 PM

Mais oui, haricots verts sont "green beans" françaises. Bon apétit!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 5:06 PM

Didn't you just decide a few weeks ago that you weren't going to have more children?

Posted by: curious to Emily | April 3, 2007 5:08 PM

Emily, awesome - congrats!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 5:08 PM

Yes. But it's a woman's perogative to change her mind.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 5:08 PM

But of course. :) Congrats!

Posted by: curious to Emily | April 3, 2007 5:09 PM

"Didn't you just decide a few weeks ago that you weren't going to have more children?"

Seriously, yes, I did decide that. And then, I was just not at peace with the decision, so I figured it was the wrong decision.


Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 5:10 PM

EMILY!!!!!! Your great news puts my sucky work day into perspective, since it's all about me! me! me!

Congratulations! We'll all drink on your behalf!

Dotted, you can get awesome frozen harticort verts at Whole Foods. Try 'em some time. Trader Joe's is all about Two Buck Chuck - the best cheap wine you'll find anywhere.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 3, 2007 5:12 PM

Emily,
You don't let any grass grow under your feet, do you? :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 5:12 PM

MN,
We can't get the wine here in MD. Are you making fun of me and the harticort verts? I just think it is a fun term for my favorite vegetable.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 5:14 PM

You don't let any grass grow under your feet, do you? :-)

Snort - Maybe now, my husband can get some much needed rest.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 5:15 PM

"The words "resonable accomodations" is an intentionally ambiguous term that defers all case by case disagreements to the courts."

Yeah, there's a lot of litigation over the term, and a lot of uncertainty for both potential workers and employers.

Part of the problem is that the statute was intended, as described in the legislative history, to ensure that individuals who were able to perform the core functions of a job were given the chance to work, as long as the additional cost and disruption to the employer weren't unreasonable.

That sounds "reasonable" (forgive the humor), but is terribly, terribly vague - and almost has to be, given the variety of jobs and disabilities out there.

In my mind, the questions become:

1) when is an "accomodation" so significant that it really means the person can't do the core job (e.g., you effectively have to hire someone else to get the work done); and

2) when is it just too much of a burden to lay on the employer (e.g., it costs twice as much as the worker's salary, or means the firm can't serve certain potential customers).

I think both those questions can come up regarding parents in the workplace. When does cutting them slack to deal with family life mean that they can't do the job (e.g., a traveling sales rep who can't travel, or an "on call" person who can't be relied upon to be on cal due to family commitments)? Or when does it put an undue burden on the firm, or on co-workers?

Honestly, I don't know - and it's probably as fuzzy as the ADA "reasonable accomodation" standard. But at some time in our lives, we may all need some sort of accomodation, whether due to disability, kids, parents, pets or "significant others." I don't think it's fair for non-parents to use a horror story like the one above to gripe about employers accomodating parents if those accomodations aren't excuses for not doing the job, and cause only incidental cost and disruption. Conversely, I don't think any of us should use our personal situations as an excuse to get a free ride.

Posted by: Demos | April 3, 2007 5:15 PM

Oh Emily - congrats!
I think the booze from this particular happy hour is safe :)

Posted by: TakomaMom | April 3, 2007 5:18 PM

in the virtual sense

Posted by: TakomaMom | April 3, 2007 5:18 PM

Megan's Neighbor,
I have to look into that Two Buck Chuck (for later). Love wine, but in Maryland, I we don't have it at TJ's. Maybe I'll take a ride into VA for it.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 5:20 PM

Are you making fun of me and the harticort verts? I just think it is a fun term for my favorite vegetable.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 05:14 PM

Never - and wouldn't want you to think I might. To quote Mona from yesterday's blog, I heart haricot verts. They are much yummier than regular ol' green beans. The only thing I never liked about Maryland is being unable to buy wine and beer with my groceries.

Em - i - ly's pregnant. Em - i - ly's pregnant. We need Chris to provide another set of suitable lyrics.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 3, 2007 5:23 PM

Emily, I'll "toast" you at dinner this evening with an extra scoop of ice cream (no hidden agendas there, huh?). Congratulations!

Posted by: catlady | April 3, 2007 5:26 PM

I also heart haricort verts. But I much prefer petit pois and pomme de tere frites.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 5:27 PM

What kind of ice cream, Catlady? Can you make it dulce de leche? It's my most recent favorite.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 5:30 PM

Edy's French Silk -- yummmm!

Posted by: catlady's | April 3, 2007 5:32 PM

Yikes, I'm so thrilled for Emily's good news that I couldn't even type my nom-de-blog correctly. Wet noodle, wet noodle, wet noodle!

Posted by: catlady | April 3, 2007 5:34 PM

Don't you people have any real friends? This banter is so sad.

Leslie, unless you or the WP are also involved in some secret pschological or social experiment about how people communicate on blogs, this one has no other purpose, as it has morphed into a pathetic chit chat room for people with nothing else to do with their much too free time. In concept, I don't have a problem with that, but why are they using the WP to have a social life?

Signing off. Will not be back. I'm sure all you regulars will miss me, anonymously.

Ciao

Posted by: Anon signing off | April 3, 2007 5:36 PM

CONGRATS, Emily! Hooray hooray! Is it Father of 4's?

Posted by: Megan | April 3, 2007 5:37 PM

Oh, anon signing off, I love posts like yours, they always give me a good giggle.

Posted by: Megan | April 3, 2007 5:38 PM

Tattletale! Tattletale!

Posted by: To Anon signing off | April 3, 2007 5:39 PM

Bye CBC.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 5:39 PM

"CONGRATS, Emily! Hooray hooray! Is it Father of 4's?"

No, no, no. It's a real pregnancy. Not a cyber pregnancy.

I hope I can come back and cry later if I miscarry.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 5:41 PM

"I hope I can come back and cry later if I miscarry."

Of course you can, we'll all be right here.

Unless anon signing off convinces the Wa Po to shut down one of their most popular blogs due to our patheticness, har har.

Seriously, I'm so happy for you and I hope everything goes smoothly.

Posted by: Megan | April 3, 2007 5:43 PM

Thank you everyone,
I think we now have some clues as to what went wrong (thrombophilia), so hopefully, we can adjust for that. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 5:47 PM

I thought it was the SOHM's that were supposedly the boozers. Not that I'm complaining.

Posted by: just another mom | April 3, 2007 5:48 PM

Congratulations, Emily. I think you're about a week or so ahead of me...

Posted by: John L | April 3, 2007 5:50 PM

Is your wife pregnant? If so, congrats!!!!!

Posted by: John L | April 3, 2007 5:52 PM

Oops, that was me a minute ago. I meant to say,
John L, is your wife pregnant? If so, congrats.

I am probably not ahead of you by much. I just found out today, which means I am just over 4 weeks. How far along is your wife?

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 5:54 PM

Signing off. Will not be back. I'm sure all you regulars will miss me, anonymously.

Ciao

Posted by: Anon signing off | April 3, 2007 05:36 PM

So long
Farewell
Aufwiedersehn
Goodnight
I hate to go and leave this pretty sight

So long
Farewell
Aufwiedersehn
Adeiu
Adeiu Adeiu
To yieu and yieu and yieu

So long
Farewell
Au 'voire
Aufwiedersehn
I'd like to stay and taste my first champagne

So long
Farewell
Aufwiedersehn
Goodbye
I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye

Goodbye!

I'm glad to go I cannot tell a lie
I flit I float
I fleetly flee I fly

The sun has gone to bed and so must I
So long Farewell
Aufwiedersehn
Goodbye--

Goodbye...
Goodbye...
Goodbye...
Goodbye...

Posted by: Anon scolding adults on way out the door | April 3, 2007 5:56 PM

Of course, a point was made...this has turned into a chat room.

Posted by: bob | April 3, 2007 6:01 PM

anon signing off,
Good riddance! Obviously no sense of humanity or humor.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 6:02 PM

To John L: I'll have an extra scoop of ice cream in honor of you and Mrs. L. with tomorrow night's dinner, OK?

Posted by: catlady | April 3, 2007 6:14 PM

Emily,

Are you still out there today?

Posted by: Fred | April 3, 2007 6:17 PM

emily, John L! Alright! Great! congradulations!

I don't know why I'm so happy for you It's not like I know you all or anything, but for some reason, I find myself caring. It's like I might have feelings or something. Strange, but at the same time, logical.

Good luck!

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 3, 2007 6:18 PM

Yup. I'm sooooo pathetic.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 6:18 PM

OK,
If you can hold on a second, I have something for you!

Posted by: Fred | April 3, 2007 6:19 PM

Some people cruise the Internet the way they live their lives: they read what they like, turn away from what they don't like, and move on. If they don't want to play in a particular sandbox, they find another in which to play.

Others, like anon at 5:36, have a compelling need to voice their dismay on every blog they encounter which is not entirely to their liking. Anon at 5:36 could have opted to post an on-topic comment from which everyone would have benefited, but contributing positively evidently wasn't her / his goal. Her point was, "I'm not happy and I don't like this blog and I'm leaving now. See? I'm leaving. I really, really am. Watch me leave. Now. And I speak a foreign language." That's neither instructive nor constructive.

bob's point is different. Ignore the submissions of posters from whose posts you gain nothing. I do.

Posted by: anon for today | April 3, 2007 6:20 PM

Thank you, Fo4. I care about all my blog friends here too. I get a good vibe from you all. I know that you are all great people.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 6:21 PM

Thanks, Fred. I'll wait.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 6:22 PM

Ode to Emily

Oh Emily! Oh Emily!

What can I do
to truly woo you?

If I take you for a ride
Will you swell and swell with pride?

If I give you the creepy van
Will you hit me with a frying pan?

If I propose in a blog
would you rather kiss a golden frog?

If you give your love back
I would stop being a hack

If this has gone from bad to worse
I would always write more verse

If you give me your heart
never, never shall we part

Oh Emily, Oh Emily

What can I do
to eternally woo and woo you?

Posted by: Fred | April 3, 2007 6:26 PM

John L - Thanks for sharing your good news! and, hey, since it's your wife who is pregnant and not you, you can still enjoy Two Buck Chuck with us, LOL.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 3, 2007 6:27 PM

Oh Fred,
I could never resist a poet. My heart is yours. Totally and completely. You are the only man on earth who has ever wooed me with poetry.

You don't mind sharing me with Fo4 do you?

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 6:29 PM

Fred Fred Fred,
This is so sad - Emily is taken. Please, you must get over her. If you need help you can always count on one of the many anons for support.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 6:29 PM

Official start of the on balance happy hour?
Champagne to John L.
Ginger ale to Emily.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 6:30 PM

Fred, In honor of their respective, pending family expansions, what say we give John L and Emily $5000 gift certificates to Cave Depot so they can update and remodel their respective caves?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 3, 2007 6:30 PM

I am not taken. They can share me. There is plenty to go around.

An embarrassment of riches.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 6:30 PM

MN,
Hilarious!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 6:32 PM

Now I am truly signing off. Thanks for the chuckles and the poem.

Posted by: Emily | April 3, 2007 6:33 PM

Emily,

No, I cannot share you, I am a monogamous cheater.

KLB, hush! you never even offered to toss me any panties.

Posted by: Fred | April 3, 2007 6:34 PM

Congrats Emily! :-D

Boo, I made the "hate" list! I sound so negative! Especially because I hate the word "hate"! Crap, I'm upping my "hate" count as we speak! LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Posted by: Mona | April 3, 2007 6:34 PM

We heart you, Laura / Mona. (Blog Stats lacks an appreciation for context.)

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 3, 2007 6:35 PM

Emily, et. al,

My wife is usually as regular as a clock, monthly-wise.

Not this time. We'll wait another week to make sure, which is why I said the way I said it.

(Crossing my fingers and hoping very, very hard...)

Posted by: John L | April 3, 2007 6:43 PM

I have just switched to an almost full-time telecommuting job, and it has saved my sanity.

In my opinion, physical presence in an office does not equal productivity. I've worked in a 9-5 office environment, and my co-workers wasted more of my time with idle chatter and distractions than my child could on his worst day.

While all of my co-workers don't enjoy this situation, I know that it is better for my company that I do telecommute. I don't abuse it - in fact I'm more productive and a better employee because of it!

If you are a quality employee, work ethic transcends work environment.

Posted by: new momma | April 3, 2007 6:59 PM

"Others, like anon at 5:36, have a compelling need to voice their dismay on every blog they encounter which is not entirely to their liking. Anon at 5:36 could have opted to post an on-topic comment from which everyone would have benefited, but contributing positively evidently wasn't her / his goal. Her point was, "I'm not happy and I don't like this blog and I'm leaving now. See? I'm leaving. I really, really am. Watch me leave. Now. And I speak a foreign language." That's neither instructive nor constructive. "

I agree that announcing ones leaving and doing the "I'm taking my cookies and going home" thing is rarely productive. But the happy hour chat has been addressed pretty much every day it happens in one form or another, and anyone who dares say anything about it is met with sarcasm, comments that the poster is obnoxious, or just general nastiness. Even people who are generally nice turn into sarcastic meanies (see Megan's post at 5:38 above.)

This is not a chat room. Chat rooms are meant for casual conversation that aren't recorded for all time. Blogs and boards, on the other hand, record conversations for all time. The happy hour conversations that go on here are great for those who want that kind of thing, but those people are indeed treating a WaPo blog like a chat room for no apparent reason other than they like to have their words recorded for all time.

Why does it matter? Well, consider the blog reader/poster who comes here AFTER work (because they're actually working during the day) and wants to contribute to the discussion. By that time, everyone else is done with it, which can't be helped of course. But how would you feel if you came in and made a well-thought out post and it wasn't even acknowledged because the clique that's left is talking about cocktails?

So perhaps anon at 5:36 does have a point that could be actually listened to instead of scathing comments posted back chastizing him/her for feeling that way.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 7:07 PM

Emily,

You are an unknown person on a silly blog. I couldn't care less that you are pregnant, and if you miscarry, don't come crying here.

Posted by: another anon | April 3, 2007 7:14 PM

So perhaps anon at 5:36 does have a point that could be actually listened to instead of scathing comments posted back chastizing him/her for feeling that way.


Posted by: | April 3, 2007 07:07 PM

in contrast to anon at 7:07's off-topoic diatribe, see new momma's post at 6:59 for a constructive, on-topic post from which we all benefit.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 7:14 PM

So perhaps anon at 5:36 does have a point that could be actually listened to instead of scathing comments posted back chastizing him/her for feeling that way.


Posted by: | April 3, 2007 07:07 PM

Or that so wonderful comment posted at 7:14 pm

Posted by: Fred | April 3, 2007 7:19 PM

"But how would you feel if you came in and made a well-thought out post and it wasn't even acknowledged because the clique that's left is talking about cocktails?"

Post on a blog expecting acknowledgement is akin to seeking a locally-grown pineapple in Iceland. If you have feelings about your blog participation, consider the possibility that you may be too sensitive a soul for the Internet.

Posted by: anon for tomorrow | April 3, 2007 7:19 PM

"But how would you feel if you came in and made a well-thought out post and it wasn't even acknowledged because the clique that's left is talking about cocktails? "

How would you feel if you came and left a well-thought out post and it wasn't even ackowledged because there's no one left to read it?

The cocktail discussion is not stopping anyone from responding to a well-thought out post; there's just no one still reading who cares to respond.

And Emily, I, for one, am very sorry that someone would choose to write such a nasty comment. Although I do not know you, you are another human being, and I am therefore happy for you that you are pregnant with a baby that you want, and would certainly offer sympathy if you had the misfortune to miscarry.

And being pregant and at risk for miscarriage clearly relates to balance.

Posted by: Kathrina | April 3, 2007 7:31 PM

I didn't have a chance to read until now 'cause I was - gasp - working from home. Which is where I work. :)

In my field it doesn't really matter what you do as long as you a) answer your phone and email regularly and b) get your stuff in on deadline and well done - at least to keep your job.

So this kind of parents-vs.non-parents thing doesn't come up much. The times that it's come up is when there's a crisis and people suddenly can't manage their time because something's gone totally wrong.

But my experience, which is only anecdotal, is that the people who are your rocks - who will get it done no matter what - are the same people before and after parenthood. They call their in-laws, babysitter, or have the right bribes. And those who aren't always have something urgent to do whether they have kids or not.

However, in a creative field like that you ALSO pretty much learn that some people take 8 hrs to create a quality piece and some people take 4, and that's not fair. Also some people are brilliant at one thing and then struggle on another. Life is not fair that way. That's one reason the question of balance is so personal.

Posted by: Shandra | April 3, 2007 7:33 PM

Oops I meant to note that is true for -keepig- a job. For getting promoted, it is a different ball of wax. :)

Posted by: Shandra | April 3, 2007 7:34 PM

Emily,

You are an unknown person on a silly blog. I couldn't care less that you are pregnant, and if you miscarry, don't come crying here.

Posted by: another anon | April 3, 2007 07:14 PM

another anon, May you walk the earth and leave no trace!

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 3, 2007 7:35 PM

But how would you feel if you came in and made a well-thought out post and it wasn't even acknowledged because the clique that's left is talking about cocktails?

_____________________________________________

How would you feel if someone called you stupid just because that person saw your name without even reading the contents of your post?

But I guess being called stupid is some sort of acknowledgement.

Posted by: A regular | April 3, 2007 7:38 PM

"In my opinion, physical presence in an office does not equal productivity. I've worked in a 9-5 office environment, and my co-workers wasted more of my time with idle chatter and distractions than my child could on his worst day."

I've seen this happen in offices too. Corporate culture is so dependent on leadership/lack of leadership. In most places I've worked, I was lucky to work with people who had pretty strong work ethics. If co-workers were wasting new momma's time, there is something broken. The company isn't hiring well or the manager has checked out.

Posted by: Marian | April 3, 2007 7:46 PM

Kathrina,
Amen.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 3, 2007 7:47 PM

Best Comment of the Day:

Chris for his song to On Balance.

Best Saying of the Day:

Anon for saying "seeking a locally-grown pineapple in Iceland."

Worst Saying of the Day:

Fred, because he did not get the girl!

Posted by: Not Blog Stats | April 3, 2007 7:50 PM

So perhaps anon at 5:36 does have a point that could be actually listened to instead of scathing comments posted back chastizing him/her for feeling that way.

Posted by: | April 3, 2007 07:07 PM

You agree with 5:36. Others disagree. The canvas of your tent appears to be insufficiently large to allow for occupancy by both groups. That is a shame, Kemo Sabi.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 7:53 PM

Here, here (I think)

Posted by: AWRootBeer | April 3, 2007 8:22 PM

"I worked 90+ hour weeks on full-time travel for YEARS before having children."

That brings up an interesting point. How did you find the time to find someone to have those children with?

Is a workplace family-friendly if the workers who don't have nuclear families have to spend so much time covering for the workers who do have nuclear families that the only way they can form nuclear families themselves is having their extended families arrange their marriages (since they don't have time left for any other method)?

"If you are claiming to be 'at work', somebody else needs to be taking care of Jr. Daycare, Daddy, nanny, Grampa, the neighbor's kid, a German Shepard, or whomever else you entrust with your children's wellbeing."

I once heard of a large dog teaching a small human to walk, but I think she was surpervised by a larger human at the time.

"...about how sorry your life is that you feel the need to have birth control so you can have casual sex with one stranger after the other!"

Birth control isn't only for casual anonymous sex. My parents used it for marital sex because they wanted 2 of us, not 1 of us per 9 months between the wedding and Mom's menopause. ;)

"The fact that you unfairly state that all 20- early 30 year olds displays an awful bias on your part. A lot of us desire to pay our dues and work very hard. And believe it or not, some of us aren't looking to'breed' anytime soon."

...and some probably *can't* even if they want to. Imagine how much it must suck to be too ugly to even get a date let alone get a sex partner (especially if the problem with your looks is something else instead of extra weight and you can't just diet it off) *and* be rejected when you apply for jobs because the interviewers assume you'll get pregnant soon. :(

"Emily,
You don't let any grass grow under your feet, do you? :-)"

If she *did* let grass grow under her feet then wouldn't she have transparent feet? :)

Posted by: Anonymous | April 3, 2007 8:37 PM

Congratulations, Emily! Have an ice cream sundae on me! (on on the cyber-me. I don't know exactly how this works. . .) Keep us posted.
So. . .best post of the day goes to Chris, definitely.
Best news of the day goes to Emily.
And back to the original essay that started it all: I think many of us are struggling with how to respond because we can't quite figure out what the author's exact point is, due to some inelegant writing. Is she annoyed by all the mommy talk? Does she feel like she's picking up the slack for slackers, and not being compensated properly? Does she feel somehow that she's considered to be of lower social status than working mothers, causing her feelings to be hurt? Did her employers reneg on earlier promises? Has she found that the mothers she's working with have too many balls in the air, and their attention divided too much, to be effective co-workers or supervisors? Did she simply have a scatterbrained boss who happened to be a mother? I'm not sure that any of these are her complaints; I'm just guessing.
Many blog correspondents have made a good effort, and a good-faith effort, at trying to figure out exactly what MustangsII is saying. But it's hard, because she's kind of vague.
(p.s. - I'm back! couldn't resist today's topic.)

Posted by: anon mom | April 3, 2007 9:26 PM

"So perhaps anon at 5:36 does have a point that could be actually listened to instead of scathing comments posted back chastizing him/her for feeling that way.

Posted by: | April 3, 2007 07:07 PM"

Sorry you think this turns me into a meanie, but I think that anonymously announcing your departure by chastising everyone as being pathetic is a little bit ridiculous, and it does make me giggle. And I say this full well knowing that I once announced my departure and then came back, so some of that giggling is remembering that I once did the same thing. But in the end a blog is whatever people make it, and if by the end of the day and 300+ comments later, there's not a lot of people left who are still interested in the topic that's just kind of the way it is.

Posted by: Megan | April 3, 2007 9:44 PM

I've telecommuted, and not when I had kids. I put in several productive years at a large NoVA consulting firm, and paid my dues. When I moved away my boss encouraged me to stay on and telecommute. She was very supportive (she was a mom herself who worked part time). It was another full time mom that resented me and punished me for working remotely. She became my project manager and often, when she was in a poor mood, would try to make my life hell. I had worked with her before and had always towed the line with her. We had a great working relationship when I worked in the office. At the same time the company was starting to encourage a telecommunting policy to reduce overhead costs. But that policy shift didn't matter to this woman. I think she thought that if she couldn't get me on the phone or IM immediately she thought "Ah ha! Caught ya watching TV and eating bon bons!!" So I was chained to the phone and computer, but also terribly lonely and often worried about my job. I pretty much went out of my mind with stress about it. There were others that were telecommuting for years and did abuse it terribly. I always made sure I had a project to work on/bill to/ and was productive on the project. Other telecommuters did not and they gave telecommunting a bad rep in our group. People knew that I was different, but I had to work twice as hard to get that positive reputation as a telecommuter. In the end it wasn't worth the stress. AND more importantly, it stalled my career. I did it for personal reasons and was much to far from the office to drive in, but given the choice I would always prefer to drive in. The office politics and networking conversations that only take place when you are in the office are invaluable to anyone's career. If you don't have to telecommute, I don't see how it is a perk (except for rare occasions, such as snow days). I think that the blogger could have stuck it out, stayed in the office, worked her way up, and then appreciated an understanding workplace when she herself wanted to have a more flexible schedule.

People who are serious about their careers don't really want to work from home, though sometimes they might need to for a few years. It likely won't help them get promoted, and that is an unfortunate reality that is evident partly from this blog. But that is a personal decision that we all make at different times in our lives.

Posted by: PLS | April 4, 2007 12:49 AM

Emily,

You are an unknown person on a silly blog. I couldn't care less that you are pregnant, and if you miscarry, don't come crying here.


You are an unkown a-hole on a blog. The only cry baby is you and people like you

Whaaa the cool kids don't like me. Grow up, we talk to everyone and if you don't want to get in on the chats then don't complain about them.

At least Emily is nice. Congrat Emily, you and I can discuss morning sickness and cravings together.

John L, I have my fingers crossed for ya.

Posted by: scarry | April 4, 2007 8:42 AM

I am sorry but it is HARD being a working parent and if you are not a parent you should help to pick up the slack for the parents of the world. That's your role to serve those of us who breed.

My wife is lucky she is allowed to work from home and raise our twin daughters. She is a senior girl with an escort service and is on out call three days a week. I have a full time job but my coworkers and boss understand. So when my wife has an out call during the day my boss lets me work from home. It is a blessing to be able to have conference calls and watch Barbie and Trixie play and feed them. And usually the outcall is only for a couple hours so when my wife comes home we can both parent. And her boss lets her do phone chats and online video work from home as well. We are so lucky.

You may ask why my boss and co-workers are supportive. Well my wife throws my boss a freebie now and then, but it so makes my working and parenting so much better. The girls have full time parenting! So you childless adults shut up and help us all raise the next generation right.

Posted by: NYC | April 4, 2007 10:00 AM

To MustangII: I'm a bit late to the party but just wanted to say that if you wrote this piece looking for some advice here's something tangible...Ask the Headhunter. Not every work environment is like the one you described; my experience with my company is completely different than what you described. The fact that you found yourself in the same situation at another job after so obviously disliking the first environment is interesting. I find that Nick (the Headhunter) has incredibly straightforward and practical advice on how to land a job that is right for you - and that includes having the right environment. Just google Ask the Headhunter and you'll find his stuff.

Posted by: a reader | April 4, 2007 10:58 AM

More on telecommuting -- it's not just about mothers. There's an increasing acceptance of telecommuting for environmental reasons. In fact, there's a bill pending in Congress that would allow many more government workers to telecommute several days a week simply with the goal of keeping their cars off the road and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
I telecommute (it's overall, a big cost savings for my employer) and there are some days when I don't have to drive my car at all.
(and to NYC, thanks for the laugh this a.m.!)

Posted by: enviromom | April 4, 2007 2:49 PM

Wow - you people are harsh. Parent or not, telecommuter or not - you should be expected to do your work thoroughly and in a timely manner. I have 2 kids and work full time. On occasion, I work from home and am always avialable via email or phone. During working hours, your work should be the priority. If I have to stay home because one of my kids is sik, I take time off of work. I don't say I will work from home and then do a half assed job. MustangsII has very valid points. The moms she worked with give working moms a very bad name.

Posted by: a working mom | April 5, 2007 12:25 PM

hi
i am a mom with 2 kids and work full time, telecommuting 2 days a week. this really hit home. there are other colleagues in my office who abuse this privilege and have kids screaming in the background whenever you call them. I am extra careful to be ALWAYS available when out of the office and actually be working, in order to avoid guilt by association.

our workplace has resolved these issues in the following ways:

--working from home is an option only open to staff above a certain level, parents or not
--everyone is allowed to telecommute only on certain set days
--parents MUST have childcare during work from home days
--our 360 degree annual reviews have a specific question about how accessible we are during work from home days, and we are either allowed to keep the schedule or lose it based on this and our overall productivity.

it is a privilege people, don't abuse it and spoil it for everyone.

Posted by: rockville mama | April 16, 2007 8:30 PM

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