Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Time is on my side...

The job I'm in now was my first career job post-college.  Starting at age 16, I worked a lot of part-time jobs (often more than one at the same time) in order to scrape together enough money for a car payment and gas.  I received my first promotion when I was only 17 years old while working in a little girl's clothing store (in a time where I could actually still fit into some of the clothes.)  From there, I began a long line of successful part-time employments in which I was named "Employee of the Month" (or whatever its variation) at each different job I held.  If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm kind of a big deal.


But, I do take pride in my work.  I am not the kind of employee who receives disciplinary action.  I'm the kind of employee who receives gold stars and my picture on the wall and failing that - I'm the person people like to have work for them.

The first time I ever received any kind of correction from an employer was because I was singing along to Christmas music on the radio while we were closing up shop at a bank I worked at.  No customers were present at the time - everything except for the drive thru was closed.  But, I still got a phone call from my boss and a stern "talking to" about maintaining professional behavior.  A month later, I wrote my very first letter of resignation and told him exactly where he could stick his "professional behavior."


My current job is fabulous.  I am doing a job in which I'm actually using the knowledge I gained in college and I have a true passion for the type of work I'm doing.  Being a working mom, as I've said before, was always a no-brainer for me because I couldn't possibly imagine not coming back to the work place I have come to love so much.

That being said, being a working mom is hard.  I mean, being a mom in general is hard, don't get me wrong.  Being a stay at home mom?  I'd surely die, it's so stressful.  But, getting out the door with you, your husband, and the baby completely ready to go for the day?  Difficult. Getting out the door on time?  Damn near impossible.  I try to get systems in place so that I don't spend the entire morning scrambling to walk out the door with both me and the baby fully clothed, but no one can plan for the chaos that inevitably happens three seconds before we get in the car.  The baby spits up or I suddenly lose my one and only set of keys.  Or, I make it out the door and realize half way to the baby sitter's house that I've completely forgotten The Incredible Hulk's food for the day.  And we all know, TIH does NOT like to go without food.

Even barring any major crisises (crises? crisi?), you can't expect to make it to work on time when a tornado literally makes its path through your commute.

Not kidding.

My facility recently revised policy to deal with a widespread timeliness problem we've been having.  It's hard to make one policy fit for every different discipline and specific job duty for such a large facility.  And it's even harder to write 100 different policies for every individual person or even every individual department - so they're just doing the best they can.  The revised policy states that you cannot be even just one minute late to clock in. 

Before I had a kid, I probably wouldn't have even noticed that they changed this policy.  I was almost always on time, if not early for work.  I am kind of an overachiever in that way.  Not surprisingly, my tardies have become more frequent since I had TIH, but last week, my supervisor alerted to me to just how frequent they had become.

Turns out?  I'm basically late (even if by just one minute) every. damn. day.

I mean, I was late for 8 consecutive days following the tornado due to detours, highway closure, and rubber necking.  But, the days leading up to and following that were really nothing more than just a general difficulty of getting out of the house.

I knew motherhood would change me.  I knew my priorities would realign.  I did not know that it would make me feel like the world's worst employee.  But, there it was - in yellow highlighter on my time sheet.  Day after day after day of changed priorities.  Of poor performance.

You should know, my supervisor at work is awesome.  He's great with positive feedback.  He never micromanages.  And, as someone with a family and a long commute himself, he completely understands that sometimes it's hard to get to work on time.  He was careful to point out that he was only showing me my time sheet to make me aware for when this new policy goes into effect.  He was very validating that never being just one minute late is impossible.  He made sure I knew this wasn't a warning of any kind. 
Not a disciplinary action or even a slap on the wrist.  It was just to help me.  But, you guys - this kind of stuff does not happen to me.  I never get called out on mistakes at work because they just don't happen.  I'm an overachiever in that way and I know it's obnoxious, but it's just how I am.  Staring at my time sheet, long after my supervisor had left my office, I realized a little part of the perfectionist in me died when I became a mom.

And to tell the truth?  I'm not so sure that's a bad thing.

I've been on time every day since I saw the glaring highlighted reality of my tardiness (save the day where there were 3 different major accidents along my commute.)  But, I'm trying to give myself a break.  Moms make mistakes.  And sometimes they're not just the parenting fails this entire blog is devoted to.

Just another lesson in the balancing act that is motherhood.
Some day I'll get it right.


  1. I hear ya...I hate getting bad feedback at work so I strive to always follow the rules and do what's asked. BUT if it makes you feel any better I've spent part of the morning on the phone with the Court of Appeals to find out I filed a reply brief 5 days past the deadline (I thought it was timely) bc I read a statute wrong. It can be fixed...but sucks having to say I screwed up.

    PS - good to see you back.

  2. @ Dawn - I spent my entire lunch talking to people about late reports (I work in a forensic psych facility.) You crazy lawyers. (Kidding. We were talking about late reports from OUR end.) Hope the judge went easy on you :)

    It's good to be back.

  3. I think God robbed me of my perfectionism when I became pregnant and my coworkers were shocked that it was possible for Type-A workaholic me to chill and take things easy. Now that I'm back to work, I'm finding it's even worse. But for the most part, I think it's been good for my health, my sanity and my relationship with my coworkers.

  4. I hope the management will see your renewed effort to make it work. And don't worry about getting it right. Sometimes we will, sometimes we won't, and often we won't know until we're looking back on it bc things move fast around here!

  5. @ T - If I think back, I think I started to change a bit during my pregnancy as well. People tell me I was still as overly independent as always, but I remember stepping back and just allowing myself to be pregnant at times.

    I agree with you about the sanity. If I continued to "sweat the small stuff" in the way I used to as well as worry about all of the baby stuff, I would surely be checked into the first padded room available.

  6. @ Christine - My supervisor did say something (even after just a few days of being on time) about my improvement. I'm grateful for that. It makes it worth the extra effort.

    I like what you said about "getting it right." What is right, anyway?


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