Three things I often wanted my employer and colleagues to understand about me as a working parent:
1. By the time the official working day starts around 9am, I am likely to have been up since 6.30, getting children up and dressed and ready for school/nursery, dropping them off on an extended journey and then getting in to work myself. So yes, i do need that coffee at the 9am meeting;
2. After lunch, on days when I do the school run, I start to get panicky because my time is running out. I always try to cram too much in and am invariable late for pick-up. Please don’t try to stop me if you see me running down the stairs at 3.10pm;
3. After I have finally got the kids to bed (and mine were actually pretty good at this), the last thing I can face doing is to switch on my laptop. Pretty much the only thing I can face at that point is my pillow. please don’t send me the papers for tomorrow morning’s meeting at 9pm today.
As schools in the UK go back, working parents lives change. For some it gets easier, for others harder. Depends on the parent, child, school and childcare arrangements.
If you manage working parents, please check in with them over the next few weeks to see how they are and whether they or you need to change anything to be most effective.
If you are a working parent, please consider your boundaries, and let go of a) perfection and b) being able to do everything. It isn’t going to happen, and that’s ok. You are enough.