Social Question

Supacase's avatar

What would you do - child v job?

Asked by Supacase (14543points) August 12th, 2011

My daughter starts Kindergarten this year and I was offered a job as a substitute after being a stay at home mom for 6 years.

Problem: I just found out my job orientation is the same time as her Kindergarten orientation.

We have talked about orientation a lot because she is very nervous. She expects me to be there. After three months of reassuring her I will go and six years of her knowing she can count on me, I need to be there. This isn’t hula day at preschool; Kindergarten is a major milestone!

My husband says I need to go to my orientation and miss hers. It isn’t a big deal to him since he misses some things because of his career. I am taking a job that will pay $10k/yr max. We do not need the extra income and, according to our agreement, I am not even expected to look for a job until she has already started school.

He says I’ll “get over it.” He will get over me missing my orientation long before I get over missing hers. We’re heading for an argument.

I woke up this morning as a stay-at-home mom and am going to bed as a parent who misses her child’s events because of work. I am heartbroken.

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30 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

When I had to make that choice, if you can call it that, I couldn’t afford to pass up the job. Looking back, it was a mistake.

linguaphile's avatar

In your situation, I would pick my child’s orientation. It’s her first orientation and she’s been with you for 6 years. It would be too sudden a change if you weren’t there for her orientation.

I would talk to my new boss and request that my orientation be made up at a different time. I know you just got a job and are probably excited about the job, but this is a good time to find out what kind of job climate your boss will be expecting you to work under. If the boss, at this point, and in this circumstance, would expect you to not go to your child’s orientation, I’d take a serious look at whether this is the climate I wanted to commit to for the long-term.

I was in a ‘very important’ job position where I didn’t see my 2 year old daughter for 3 days. I went up to my boss and said… “I’ve worked 70 hours this week and haven’t seen my daughter for 3 days, I’d like to go home.” He asked me if my tasks were done- they weren’t- and he told me to get back to work. I quit a month later- the best effin decision I ever made, hands down.

Boogabooga1's avatar

My first thought after reading the main part of your question was.. you must Always be there for your baby, but I was comparing yours to my experiences of my 2 year old attending kindergarten with her mother/teacher..
After finishing reading the question I can see that you are an awesome mother, the proof is in not just what you have written but in the fact you are asking and stressing over this issue. It shows you give a damn.
Don’t be afraid to tell your new employers how important this is to you. If they really give a damn about childcare then they will respect your stance.

Bellatrix's avatar

I think I would go to my child’s orientation. At least speak to the people at the new job and see if you can reschedule things. That first day at kinder or school… it is so precious. I worked but I went to every first day of school with my children and I am so glad I did.

martianspringtime's avatar

If I were in your place and felt the way you seem to about the situation, I’d go to the school orientation. You and your child both seem to see the school orientation as very important, and it sounds like it would weigh very heavily for a longer time on your mind if you passed it up.
You might check with the job to see if there could be a way around the scheduling conflict, but if not, go with what is more important to you.

augustlan's avatar

If at all possible, I like the idea of trying to reschedule your orientation. If that’s out of the question, perhaps your husband could attend the kindergarten orientation?

Supacase's avatar

I have emailed the HR Director – that is her preferred method of communication – to see if I can make up orientation at another time. It is an all day thing for all incoming subs. It isn’t an individual thing.

@augustlan My husband says he’ll take her and she won’t care or even notice that I’m not there. That is utter bullshit. I am always there and she knows it. Daddy shows up sometimes and that is a bonus, but I am always there. Now, will him taking her be okay in the long run? Yes. But I still feel like I’m ditching her at the last minute and I do believe it will change our relationship.

Supacase's avatar

@Boogabooga1 Thanks. I needed to hear that today.

linguaphile's avatar

What I’m seeing is that all your comments show that you strongly prefer to be with your daughter but you seem to be questioning that based on variations of what you should do. Do what you feel you should do, and you’ll feel better at the end of the day.

I feel for your situation; I hope you can find peace with this and sleep well tonight.

Boogabooga1's avatar

@Supacase . Your welcome, but I was not trying to be nice, just honest.
You yourself know that you are a very good Mum and you shouldn’t need approval for what you already know.

ps. If your employers dont allow you that time off, then your wee girl will be just fine without you for a few hours considering how many times you have been there for her.
And you will have the moral superiority over your employers if they block you.

Hibernate's avatar

If you can’t make the choice yourself how do you expect us to be able to do it. We are non related to the issue and some can go for career while others for the kid. Well I don’t know. I’d stick to family and reschedule the career one if possible.

augustlan's avatar

@Supacase If you really feel it will change your relationship, then I’d definitely go to her orientation. I would hate to have to disappoint my own kids at that age, so I completely understand. You might casually mention to her that you might not be able to go, and see how she reacts, though. Sometimes, kids can surprise us with how flexible they can be.

JLeslie's avatar

That sucks. I can’t believe they schedule these things at the same time? Is it within the same school? School district? There probably are other sub orientations during the year I would think? This is a lesson for me, if I ever have kids, don’t promise specifics too far in advance of a circumstance or event. My inclination would be to prepare my children also for what is going to happen, how the whole thing will role out.

I would definitely talk to your employer, I would hope they would be understanding. When I am hired to a new job there is almost always some prior planned something or other I need them to acdomodate and they always do. A vacation, a wedding, I don’t see how your situation is different.

Another thought: If you change how it is going to happen, and talk it up the next couple of weeks, not saying, mommy won’t be at orientation, but just the new way it will happen, will she take on the new idea and forget the old way it was supposed to happen? I don’t think your daughter will even understand she is in orientation will she? She will just know she is at school.

Here’s the thing, I think you want to be at her orientation, it might be more for you than her? Which is ok. Most mommies are more freaked out than their kids on the first day of school, with some exceptions of course.

JLeslie's avatar

Maybe @augustlan is right. Maybe mention the possibility and see if she just says, “ok mommy.”

Supacase's avatar

@Boogabooga1 Saying it to be nice wouldn’t make me feel any better. It’s the fact that it seemed like you meant it.

@linguaphile Yes, I do know what I want to do. I tend to doubt myself, plus I know my husband’s opinion is completely opposite mine. And I have been known to make some remarkably bad decisions in the past. It’s 5:30am here.

@augustlan I do think it would, but you are right that it very well may not. Several teachers and doctors (some who have worked with her and some who are friends of the family) people have noted that she really tests me. Every one of them is certain it is because she trusts me so implicitly. No matter what she does, she knows I will still be here and still love her.

@JLeslie Sure, I want to be there. That is definitely part of it and I am going to be weepy as hell on her first day of school. I’m not really a clingy mom in that sense, though. Her Pre-K teacher was actually talking about that today. I give her a pretty free rein – in fact, i have some friends who are pretty judgy about just how much freedom I give her and how much I let her do on her own.

Neighboring school systems, btw. Not that it would matter. Every school schedules their own orientation date and time so someone is bound to overlap.

The whole thing about me going with her started as me trying to explain how it will go. She needs to see to believe, so I didn’t promise so much as say, “you’ll see what I mean when we go to orientation.” An implied promise, I guess.

@Hibernate I was looking for outside opinions. That is kind of the point of these types of questions in general.

JLeslie's avatar

@Supacase oh, I was not trying to imply you are overly clingy or overprotective. I think it is completely normal to worry if your daughter will be ok on the first day of school, and try to prepare her, and for you to cry on that day. All seems very normal to me.

Still, from your answer, it seems it is more about the expectation you have in your head, more than probably what her expectation is. She will probably only know something is not as originally planned if you tell her. Maybe? You know better what has been said, and how she usually thinks.

Meanwhile, you are going to be working for a school. Aren’t they always complaining about parental involvement? Or, lack therof? I would think if any employer would understand they should. Have you even asked when the next orientation is, and if you can attend that one instead? That you have a conflict?

flutherother's avatar

What are the odds? You ask what I would do; I would go to my daughter’s orientation. Maybe you can come to some other arrangement regarding the job?

Kayak8's avatar

It sounds like you know what you want to do and, perhaps because your husband is in disagreement, are trying to solicit support for the choice it sounds like you have already made in your head. For me, it is easier to make a decision and then say to myself, “Now, how can I make this work.” Those above have given suggestions for how you can make it work and you seem aware of the cost-benefits of your choice.

I don’t know enough about childhood development to know if a conversation with a kindergarten age child about “Daddy is going to take you” will be meaningful to the child or not. Maybe some with parenting experience can weigh in on that side of the cost-benefit analysis.

CWOTUS's avatar

I quit an entire job in 1991 – a high-paying job with no risk of layoff or cut hours – just so I wouldn’t have to keep moving from one construction site to another, working short term jobs (and night shifts, or ‘booming out’ and traveling far from home for weeks and months at a time) as the kids started school and we could no longer easily pick up and move whenever a new assignment opened up. I was unemployed – but ‘at home’ – for the next six months (since that was a recession time in the US), while I looked for the next job, a job that I liked much less than the one I left. I worked lower-paying jobs for the next ten years, while running soccer leagues and coaching teams, attending school functions and plays and all the things that “dads” do – when they can.

I have never regretted it. (And I’m back with the company I left in 1991, too.)

Skip your daughter’s orientation after the promise you made to her? Come on, it’s a no-brainer. You can orient yourself – or get a better job – any time.

john65pennington's avatar

You actually answered your own question. “We do not need the money”. If that is the case, then what is to decide?

Be a stay at home mom and take care of your child. You are very fortunate to not need a second income to survive life.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Okay, so I have a bit different of an opinion. Since your husband can take her, I think you should go to your work orientation If you can’t reschedule it. If you can reschedule it, then it’s not an issue. I totally understanding wanting to always be there for your daughter and I understand the importance of starting Kindergarten, but it might not be so bad for your husband to take her and for her to see that if mommy isn’t available, daddy will be there for her. While majority of us want to always be there for a children, there are things that come up from time to time that prevent that. It doesn’t make us bad parents, it’s part of life.

Obviously the decision is ultimately yours to make. Good luck!

Supacase's avatar

@Kayak8 My question does come across like that and it probably is what I wanted. I also want to know if I seem to be overreacting. I don’t think I am, he does, and there is no one to break the tie, so to speak.

@augustlan and @JLeslie Guess what. My daughter got teary and sad, but said it was ok. So, it turns out I am more worried about it than she is. So that got me thinking and the fact is, I do want to be there. I want to see her room and meet her teacher and see for myself how she feels about it. Not going with her feels like not finishing what I started. There will be 13 years ahead where he can step up, but I want to do this.

So, all this for nothing. The HR Director emailed me back and told me I absolutely CANNOT miss my daughter’s orientation. I can either attend the next orientation, whenever it is, or come by to go through the things one-on-one. Why oh why do I get myself so worked up? Waiting for a resolution is so hard for me.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Supacase I’m glad it all worked out for you!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Oh breaks my heart. I’d make sure someone else could go like my mom or aunt or someone else he’s used to and explain the situation to him but I’d be miserable. My oldest is starting kindergarten too this Fall!

Aethelwine's avatar

I’m so glad everything worked out for you @Supacase. I missed several events when my oldest was in kindergarten because I was working. This is one of the reasons why I am home now with my youngest. They are young only once in you life. Enjoy as much as you can!

Pandora's avatar

Either tell him to go or have her miss her first day of school and you take her the next day, or if she has a best friend who is going to the same school, have her mom take them both.
If you can get in to meet her teacher, explain to her what has occurred and ask her if she would mind meeting your daughter for a few minutes before orientation so she will be comfortable knowing the teacher without you needing to be present.
Best deal is have your husband miss one day of work. Have him take a personal day or a vacation day or a sick day. He is her dad too. She will probably feel fine showing up with dad.

JLeslie's avatar

@Supacase Yay! Great that you will be working for an understanding group of people. I don’t know how old you are, I do know you have not worked in several years. When I was younger I pushed and pushed and pushed myself at work, and never asked for anything. I realize now that sometimes I should have asked.

linguaphile's avatar

@Supacase That’s the first sign that you are working for a great boss!! I’m thrilled it worked out!!

Bellatrix's avatar

Sounds like you have a fabulous boss to start working for @Supacase. Go and enjoy your daughter’s orientation. All’s well that ends well. Great news.

augustlan's avatar

How wonderful! I’m so glad this worked out. :D

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