Among the countless challenges of the past year or so, parenting obligations are certainly high on the list. It’s not as if things were simple before the lockdowns. But the last 15 months have certainly raised the stakes. There’s a good chance you’ve been working from home. Then you have the possibility of either having to transition back to the office or keep the remote thing going.
If this sounds familiar, you’re far from alone. Studies find more men and women reporting higher levels of stress when it comes to juggling work and parenting. So, how do you discuss your parenting obligations with your bosses?
Parenting Challenges in the Age of Covid
- Both schooling and work switched to in-home
- Financial stressors
- Health fears
- Conflicting information and mitigation approaches
- Political division
- Social unrest
- Feeling overwhelmed by obligations and responsibilities
Something’s got to give. It probably won’t give, though, unless and until you take the initiative and talk to your supervisors.
A Few Ways to Discuss Your Obligations at Work
You don’t have to look at it “groveling” to your boss. Rather, you’re enlisting their support in the name of maintaining your productivity. It’s a win-win — if you approach the discussion prudently and strategically. Here are some basic tips to get your practical muscles warmed up:
Prepare in Advance
Rehearse with a friend if you have to. Make a list of precisely what you’re looking for, e.g.
- Are you seeking to work fewer hours or is it more about getting more flexible with your hours?
- Depending on your current situation, would like to switch to more or less remote days?
- Come in with a detailed idea of how your requested changes would impact tour co-workers and how any issues can be nipped in the bud.
Do Your Homework
As part of your preparations, find out everything you can about your company’s policies in these areas. Consult with human resources, if possible. Your advanced knowledge will give you confidence and it will demonstrate to your boss that you must be taken seriously.
Let’s face it, most workplaces aren’t very open or creative when it comes to topics like this. So, enter into the meeting with an upbeat mindset. You’re not looking for a “break.” You simply need their problem-solving skills to help resolve this vexing situation.
Be Prepared For Questions
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll just get a quick “yes.” So, again, rehearse. Think of what questions may come your way and practice answering them calmly and clearly. You can prepare for everything but this is no harm in trying.
Be Prepared to Compromise
If you are met with resistance, suggest a trial period of a few months. Let them see what your proposal looks like in action. This is less than ideal, sure, but it is better than nothing — to start. And you do not have to take no for an answer. Of course, you don’t want to overplay your hand in the first meeting. But think about how much has changed since March 2020. Encourage your boss to stay open and request a follow-up meeting in the very near future.
The Work-Boss Scenario Can Be Triggering
Besides your parenting issues, you may also be dealing with a history of work-related stress or even trauma. Particularly for women, it can be very challenging to stand up for yourself and your parental needs in a workplace environment. Why not get the professional support you need?
Working with a therapist can go a long way in helping you manage your parenting duties and fulfill your work obligations. Read more about parent counseling and reach out today to set up a free and confidential consultation.