The Washington Post recently ran an article about a lawyer who brought her child to court because she didn’t have an appropriate care option and the judge wouldn’t issue a continuance. When the baby became fussy, the judge let the attorney know his displeasure with having a baby in his courtroom.
Although we’re not all lawyers, nearly every working parent has faced work family conflict — and one of these terrible choices:
- Should I miss that important presentation that may result in me making quota this year, or should I stay home with my child who is recovering from strep throat?
- My nanny just quit with no notice and I don’t have a replacement. Do I stay home for a few days until I find a replacement or should I ask the neighbor I just met who lives across the street?
- I just returned to work after my daughter was born and I feel so guilty not seeing her all day. Should I take a much longer leave of absence?
Work Family Conflict: Making Productivity an Impossibility
I would venture to guess that nine times out of ten, parents choose to be with their child. And the one time parents do go to work, they’re so distracted and preoccupied with what’s going on with their son or daughter, they might as well have taken the time off.
Work or family is a terrible choice. UNLESS… they have access to high quality, affordable dependent-care solutions that meet their work demands. In the case of the lawyer from the Washington Post story, an accessible high-quality back-up care solution would have solved her problem. It sounded like she needed to secure a full-time care solution as well. Depending on where you live, finding such resources can be like searching for a needle in the haystack – if the needle exists at all.
A Case Study in Why Dependent Care Matters
This is why employers need to invest in customized child care solutions. Bright Horizons has partnered with many employers to successfully provide:
- Infant Transition Care for young mothers or fathers who are on family leave, but need to attend a specific meeting.
- Back-up care when the parent’s regular child care provider is not available.
- Full-service child care solution so working parents can be fully present and focused while on the job.
Creating an Effective Safety Net
These supports provide a ready-made solution with the operating hours, days of care, and affordable costs that employees need. Without these supports, parents are faced with terrible choices between family and work. If these choices are faced often enough, the next step is the ultimate choice of whether to switch employers or to leave the workforce all together.
All of that doesn’t even brush the huge challenges associated with caring for a parent or elderly relative. All it takes is one phone call in the middle of the night: “Mom has fallen, broke her hip, and can’t be left along any longer…”
And that becomes yet another terrible choice to make.