What we all need to know about working for a family – ie, the rest of the working week

I’m sure I have not in any way prepared you. I mean, I wrote this really busy description of my working life and my thoughts on my employees and my dear mother-in-law as a means of hopefully preparing you for the new world of work being imposed upon us. Really though, I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to say the simple, everyday, common sense stuff we all need to do in the workplace, so I didn’t even bother, even for a second.

This is what most of us need to know. Having more than one kid (I, err, I know the name of this kid, at least the side-title, but the other one was obviously her own) is extremely hard on our jobs. I have yet to see a single organisation – never mind a single job, really – that offers adequate support in children under 18 being employed within the organisation, and I’m not talking babysitting arrangements either.

For some reason it never seems to come up as a subject. We have someone sit and play with our kids, feed them food, help change their diapers, teach them a few things, read us stories, for a few hours, but here at the house, you can be sure that someone will be working somewhere at any given time, and one of those people is going to get bored. Work strikes will strike out on principle. It’ll happen. We just don’t know how.

I’m sure if a society of would-be business people were to get together and share strategies of how to survive in a future world of less work hours, we might see the light. It’ll have to start somewhere, I suppose.

This is what will happen.

You’re probably expecting me to rattle on about how we’ll all be sleeping so much later, our brain will be functioning on a 24/7 basis, and how it will all be worth it because we’ll just be meeting and taking very small meetings every time, and taking our children out, only to go back inside and work harder and harder in our cubicles.

It’s not going to happen. Sure, there might be some day, but chances are, you’re going to catch yourself sneaking out a little later than normal in order to go see your parents before you set off for work the next morning.

Your kids might get a jump on you, but your body just won’t go along with it. They’re going to nag you to let them play in the empty garage or hallway that is frequently used, and you’ll be forced to make the decision to vacate the offices for a little while to allow this ineffectual bastion of home-schooling functionality time to succeed.

Never mind the fact that you will be in a state of extreme apprehension about leaving the office and returning to the yard to wait for your football to kick off for a half an hour, worrying about whether you’re going to be late to parent meeting; it’s true, you’ll be coming back from the office later than you need to, and you will need to explain your tardiness to some other sheep-like person within your organisation, and eventually you will be reprimanded for it.

The time will come for the person to be put out of the organisation, or to resign. After that, the person will slowly fade away, and a shuffle will occur to fill the position of sole mother-in-law. And you’ll wonder: What if, over the next few years, it never gets easier to be a working parent?

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that you need to understand this, but just to make it easier, I’ll tell you: It doesn’t.

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