Monday, October 13, 2014

ALL Moms Are "Working Moms", Regardless Of Where They Spend Their Day

Dear Tazi:

Like you, I am a work-from-home professional. I have a very busy schedule, from the moment I start work around 8:30 AM until I clock out after 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. It took me a long time to get my clients to accept my disciplined schedule, but they now respect the fact that I will not work overtime or weekends "just for them"; and they accept the reasonable time estimates that I give them for their projects.

I am also the mother of two elementary school aged twin boys, and the parents of their friends and classmates assume that because I am "home" during the day that I am available to chaperone field trips; or be the after-school host to all of my children's friends. One of my neighbors actually asked me to pick up her sick child from school (and watch him until her husband got home from work). Tazi-Kat, I have a very busy schedule and am not about to let people take advantage of me! I politely explain to people that I work from home, and am not a full-time homemaker. I do offer to chaperone the children's field trips at least once a quarter, and host play-dates once a week, and on weekends.

My problem is that this schedule-sharing is not enough for the President of the school PTA, "Sheila", who called me at home (during the work day) and left a scathing message on my answering machine, demanding that I pick up the phone because she "knew" that I was home. Apparently, the school was hosting a bake sale that I did not know about because my sons forgot to bring home the flyer that asked parents to bake something. I called Sheila the first chance I was able, and politely explained to her that I did not get the memo about baking, and she made some very rude comments to me about how I must "sit on my ass eating bon bons while other people have to go to work". After that comment, I politely ended the conversation.

I have heard through the grapevine that a lot of parents did not receive a flyer about a bake sale, and it turns out that only the children of women that Sheila considers to be "stay at home moms" received one! Now, I am curious if my sons honestly forgot to bring home the flyer or if they never received one to bring home. There is a PTA meeting coming up soon, and I would like to address this matter during the open forum part of the meeting, but I am not certain what to say. Any advice, Tazi-Kat?

A Working Mom (At Home During The Day)

Dear Working Mom:

You are in a bit of a quandary, aren't you? I assume your sons will say that they never received a flyer regardless of whether they did or not, so I will put that question into suspension and present the scenario as-is: If you go to the PTA meeting assuming that Sheila did not have a flyer sent home with your sons, it means that she is of the understanding that you work professionally from home; and that she owes you an apology for her rude, crude message. If you go into the meeting assuming that Sheila did send a flyer home with your sons, then Sheila needs to be corrected of the mistaken assumption that you are a "stay-at-home mom" in addition to apologizing to you for her rude and crude message. While I am on the subject of apologies, I would like to add that Sheila owes all "stay at home moms" an apology for not only assuming that they have the time in their schedules to sit around eating bon bons, but for also putting the responsibility of baking solely upon their collective shoulders!

I would find it hard to believe that you were the only woman Sheila singled out for such harsh treatment, so you will probably have supporters at the PTA meeting who will join you in discussing this matter during the open forum portion of the meeting - if the meeting gets that far before this issue is addressed. I am not certain that even Robert's Rules of Order will be able to keep things under control, so I would suggest you do your best to keep control of your temper, and lead by example. Please write back to let me know how this situation ends. I hope all turns out well.


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