Ah, the ever so coveted work-life balance. We spend most of our working adult life looking for the perfect balance in which you can earn a living but also have time to indulge in your favorite pastimes and rest. When we become parents, it becomes even harder to maintain this balance because now you have to juggle all of your child’s needs and work and personal needs.
Of course, the world is not so forgiving to the working mom. If we stay at home, we are lazy (insert eye roll here). If we choose to go to work, we are putting our own needs above our child’s.
As a working professional, I always like to leave my problems at home. I do not speak about anything personal, and that includes my children (work-life balance, remember?). This comes with the consequence that management does not always understand when I have to leave work early because my child spiked a fever at daycare or they have a doctor’s appointment.
We somehow make it work, but what happens on those particularly difficult nights where your child didn’t sleep and thus you could not sleep either?
This can make it difficult to explain that you cannot go to work because your child didn’t sleep. While this may be uncomfortable for you, here are some tips on how to explain this situation to your boss.
Don’t call out of work saying that you are sick or have a family emergency. Be open and honest. Omitting the truth only makes it more difficult for you in the long run.
If your child not sleeping is a persistent problem, you will not be as focused and concentrated, which will ultimately lead to mistakes on your part. You must explain this to your boss.
You would be surprised just how understanding they can be when you are honest. If you choose to keep the truth from them and continue making mistakes, they will most likely become angry and not try to accommodate your needs.
Express how you know you are a valuable part of the team and do not want to affect them by calling out, but that it is your responsibility to know when your head is not in the game.
Forcing yourself to go to work to simply fulfill the duty of being there but not actually being able to finish all your tasks places a great burden on your coworkers.
Showing that you care and value your family and your job will make them more receptive and open to you taking a personal day or two off to regroup and rest.
Offer a Solution
At one point in time, I was an office manager in a healthcare setting. I always appreciated it when a staff member approached me to tell me about a problem while already having a solution at hand.
Tell your boss that you cannot go to work today because you did not sleep and feel like you would not be productive at work, but offer to make up the workload once you return to the office.
You can also offer to go in to work a bit later to be able to sleep a bit more, but in return, you leave the office later to ensure everything is getting done on time.
I know it can be difficult to call out because your child didn’t sleep, but hey, como decía mi abuela, ‘más vale un rato colorado que toda la vida descolorido’.