Now, I was never a fan or a viewer of the show Married WITH children, I just needed a catchy title to lead us into talking about something that most married couples without children get asked frequently: when are you going to start a family?
Um, I already have a family? My family just happens to consist of my wife, 3 dogs, 3 cats and some animals with fins and gills. “But are you going to have children?” Does my answer make my family less of a family? Does my answer change what type of co-worker I am? I want to focus on what having a “traditional” family in the workplace means and what that seems to get you.
Should more be expected of you at work if you don’t have kids or even if you are single? Should less be expected of you at work when you have kids? Should you expect less or more of your co-workers depending on if or how many children they have? Good questions, right? Let the frustrating answers ensue.
YOU ARE NO LESS OF A PERSON IF YOU DON’T HAVE CHILDREN. You are also no less of a person if you do, but that’s not the moral of the story here. At my job, I am one of the only people who doesn’t have children. Currently, I am the only manager that doesn’t have any slobbering bundles of joy. Can we all take a stab at what’s expected of me since I have no child to take to school or no kids to tuck in? Not by the company itself but other co-workers and subordinates.
I have heard, “She doesn’t deserve day shift hours because she doesn’t have a family.” “Call Lindsey to cover because I don’t have a babysitter.” “I have to leave early so I can pick my kids up from school.” Now, I understand emergencies happen with children sometimes- I’m not heartless. But what about my dentist or doctors appointments I’d like to leave early for? What about all the therapy appointments I can’t go to because I can’t leave work to make them? What about the time I want to spend with my wife or just being lazy af, eating pizza and watching The Masked Singer?
These aren’t acceptable reasons for some people. My personal time away from work or the amount of hours I’m expected to work is no less important because I’m not filling my free time taking care of children. Fight me on that bruh.
Work-life balance is often equated to balancing work and taking care of your family or children. Workplace culture puts an emphasis on caring for ones children as being the most valued things their employees do outside of work. What childless employees do in their personal time is not considered as important as keeping a living, breathing human alive, i.e being a parent. So when I’m asked to pick up the slack of “parent” co-workers, it becomes an expectation to do so.
JUST LET ME LIVE MY LIFE IN MY SWEATS if I want. Let me go to my Dek Hockey games. Let me take my coffee tours, write my blog posts and spend time with my friends trying to figure out how to make an impact on the world. Let me enjoy my pets, clean my house or host a game night. I’m trying to squeeze in all of the peace and quiet and adventure that I can before bringing a screaming naked being into this world. Appreciate my time and see me as an equal.
Really where my brain goes when I think about the worst part of being a parent, is not just being able to easily leave to go get my coffee 🤷🏻♀️ Golf clap to all you moms out there rocking it at home or work each day. We are all important.