I was recently asked to work longer hours at my job despite the fact that I need to leave on time every day to pick up my kids from school. I feel like my company is trying to push me out as a working mom. How do I explain to my manager that I simply can’t stay longer than we previously agreed upon? – Kelsey in Greensboro, North Carolina
You should be mindful that your manager has a lot going on and is focused on tasks at hand. He/she could easily have forgotten that you have a drop-dead end time at work. Or, maybe he/she has no experience dealing with this situation, so does not fully comprehend the impact.
This is key: don’t make a big deal about this, be defensive, or go into attack mode. Be matter-of-fact and succinct; no expansive explanations are needed. Try: “Unfortunately, I have a commitment that cannot be moved or adjusted.” If your manager pushes back, add a brief statement of your responsibilities. Such as: “We previously agreed to a hard leave time so I can pick up my children from school.”
As a working mother, you may be feeling insecure or stressed about your work, or work-life balance, and are projecting those feelings onto your company. Companies are made up of people, many of whom share similar situations and daily requirements. Take a few minutes to think about this and sort through your thoughts. Don’t automatically assume worst-case scenarios. It will help you avoid the negative and be more proactive in your life.
This is vital for every working mom, and for all parents for that matter: Be sure to have a backup plan in place. This is vital for all working parents. Things happen, like a family emergency or other unforeseen work situations that will prevent you picking up your children. Have at least three people on your backup chain you can contact to help with your children. This will give you tremendous peace of mind and provide the resilience to face the inevitable circumstances and conflicts that will arise.
Lynn Whitbeck is the co-founder and President of Petite2Queen. She is focused on identifying and evaluating opportunities for women at work, helping them define their personal roadmap. She dedicates herself to delivering tools and insights, embracing visualization of the big picture, and identifying and implementing the minutiae of detail. Lynn aims to share lessons learned along her journey and enable positive uplift for women.