My daughter cried herself to sleep last night.
She was not alone. I was there rubbing her back and shifting my "I can't" to "I will really try" with each rub.
What was up? Yesterday was the first day of school. As is my new tradition (2 years does a tradition make!), I took the day off. My husband and I took pictures and watched our little girl get on the bus. I met her at the end of the day with flowers and a balloon. We went for ice cream and talked about her day. She shared about her nice teacher, new classmates, maneuvering through the lunch line, the art teacher who will come to class each day, the one kid who started along side everyone with a green card (good listener) but quickly blew right past the yellow and orange warning stages to red (call to the parents) the very first morning, and oh yes, it was library day!
Well, she wants to do this the rest of the week. Very cool. I'd love to. Problem? I can't. I can watch her get on the bus this week and get to work just a tad bit late but I can't pick her up each day. I am going to go in to see if I can possibly change a meeting or two this week but it really is more than just these few meetings. It is about the give and take of an organization and my role in it. I am so keenly aware of my responsibilities, my piece of the puzzle, and what happens when not all the pieces are there.
I am also so keenly aware that this is important to my daughter. And I am torn. This is not about my organization, it is about me. It is about my family. Yes, part of me right now is a bit resentful that I even have to make a choice but I am very clear that I am here right now because of the choices I have made. There are really good things about being "here" right now and there are things that are not so good. I am sure I would have that no matter where "here" was, it just does not make it any easier.
Things that seem to important to an over tired 6 year old in the evening are often not so "end of the world" in the morning. This too may be one of those times for her. If so, I am sure it will not be the last time she asks for something from me or her dad that we are not able to give to her. Reality? Probably but right now I am not so sure that makes me feel any better.
So, is there an HR pointer in here? Organizations, do not pass up on the opportunity to provide your employees with flexibility and alternate scheduling options or forget to recognize that they have responsibilities outside of the workplace. Those responsibilities vary and can be unique to each individual but they do exist. Choices will have to be made and employees will make them. Do what you can to be on the positive side of the equation. It can make a difference.
Time to wake up my princess . . . .