Stay-at-home moms and dads probably know the feeling. … With being a single mom, it's not easy and I'd have to say hats off to all the parents who …
Halfway through the summer and I’m already thinking about winter vacation. As most single, working moms we are counting down how many sick days or PTO (Personal Time Off – ideally paid) that we have left for the year. Yesterday I was feeling sick. It was the kind of sick where I experienced migraines, and nausea and it was difficult to concentrate. I more than likely should not have been at work but I “muscled” through. And why not? One hour after giving birth to my son, I was on the computer sharing baby photos and at that time I was a single mom doing it alone. Nobody in the delivery room and I asked my sister to make sure my laptop was there and charged while she took my other children home to care for while I stayed the mandatory days in the hospital. Honestly I was probably fooling myself and the stress of all of that is something I think about now that I am older and wiser. Who was I trying to kid?
So as I pondered about whether I would actually take a sick day or not, I began to panic. Well what if I need the PTO for a sick child? PTO is granted in case you need a day off for being sick, running an errand, car repair etc. I’ve used it for kid’s school functions etc. When you have a sick child as a single mom it can be difficult. No licensed day care will take them and I’d rather not infect another child. I get upset when parents will drop off obviously sick children in daycare but I know why they do it. Mainly because they probably don’t want to take a sick day OR they have none left and can’t afford to get a dock in hourly pay because they got bills to pay. So as parents we try to assess the situation to see if it’s real or not and end up trying to figure out on a weekday morning if the child is going to school.
The Itching eyeball
My daughter woke up one morning and her eye was red and crusted over. It was obvious that she was sick or about to be sick even if she didn’t have a fever. I tried putting a compress on it. My mom put a tea bag on it and it seemed to help but since Grandma was visiting, she could watch my daughter while I went to work and she was fine. The next day my daughter complained about her eye again. I spent 15 minutes trying to figure out if she was really sick or just wanted to stay home. It can be frustrating because all of these thoughts are going through your head – go to work? Stay Home? I figured it was a bluff and she ended up going to school.
The PTO dilemma
Now comes the tough part, do I take PTO or save it for some impending sick child later? The facts remain that kids get sick. Some get sick more than others. My son got sick and needed a nebulizer and a lot of breathing treatments. Managing things via co-parenting can be a challenge as well when they are sick and you are trying to talk to a health insurance provider that the other parent provides. You spend a lot of time on the phone calling doctors, making appointments, calling the health insurance company, calling the pharmacy and sometimes a specialist. It takes up a lot of time. A lot of time of signing paperwork, verifying who you are, signing privacy statements and signing over your life towards medical bills that you have no idea how high they will go or how you will pay for them. That is all part of my worries if I take a sick day for myself. I’d rather spend it on the kids when they are sick. And yes sometimes I take a PTO just to spend time with them and take them to a movie. You would think that I could do this on a weekend but it’s impossible with house cleaning and errands to do. So is the American Work Life.
I honestly don’t have one. There are many blogs and advice about spending ME time. Just today in my weight watchers meeting they asked us to make a goal of creating 15 minutes of time for myself doing things to escape, to relax and to create. One of the ways I escape is to take a relaxing bath. Also going for a walk is an escape and drinking a nice cup of coffee and staring out into my backyard is also relaxing to me. Someone in the group said sweeping or mopping is also relaxing. I can see that. I can’t function and calm my mind unless the house is sorta clean. Anyway I know that enjoying a healthier lifestyle just means that as a family we may spend less time sick so our PTO can be used for vacation and family fun.
Do you use sick days for when you are sick or try to save them for when the kids are sick?
Dear Dallas Single Mom: I graduated from a nursing program after ten years in the legal department of a large multi-national corporation. I am now working as a weekend nurse as this was something I wanted to do in order to give back to the community. I just started my work as a nurse and as a new nurse I have a senior nurse showing me the ropes. This senior nurse has a specific way of doing things and likes them done in a very prescribed manner. I try my best to express appreciation and to reciprocate understanding with her. On a recent review, the director advised that this senior nurse said I was not very receptive to her instructions. I’m not sure what the problem is because I’ve always felt like I am a good communicator. I often wondered if it is because I’m a male and she is a female and so do we communicate differently?At times I know that I’m so worried about messing up that sometimes I am multi-tasking while she is giving me instructions. The environment in the healthcare field is very much responsive and minutes count – very different from a corporate environment. How can I be more receptive to her?
Sincerely, Un-receptive Weekend Nurse
Dear Un-receptive Weekend Nurse,
Communication has and CAN always be an issue irrespective of genders, seniority, titles, generations etc. While they say Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus that is just one issue in what seems like a host of many communication, work relationship and engagement issues that you and this senior nurse are facing. It seems that you are carrying the communication style you used in the corporate environment into an on the field, healthcare environment. Recognizing that those are two totally different environments, you may need to adjust your communication approach. Try to challenge yourself to recognize your communication comfort zones and how they would apply to the new environment and get rid of what doesn’t work. The parts that are uncomfortable, learn to put them in practice to expand your communication skill level. In the healthcare field, any mistake can be life and death so it is important that you try not to take care of everything yourself and learn to trust your team of doctors, nurses and senior nurses that are there to not just manage you but to teach you and care for patients. Take the time to not multi-task and engage and listen to the senior nurse, acknowledging what she is saying. If you are still not sure how you can be more responsive, just ask. This is a learning process for everyone involved and a career change is more than just a change in vocation, it promotes life and spiritual growth.
To ask me a question, just contact me and let me know this is for reader advice
This is a post By Samantha Zagurski, Dallas mom, student and administrative clerk
*I had the opportunity to interview Samantha over the phone and she is an inspiration to young single moms. Her tenacity and love for technology should inspire others. Here is a post from Samantha about Microsoft and her experiences in getting certified, making it through college, finding a job and supporting herself and her daughter.
As a single mom, I know firsthand the challenges that come with providing for a child on your own. And continuing your education on top of being a full-time working mom is definitely a struggle. Fortunately, there are those of us who live every day as proof that we can be great students, hardworking employees and caring parents – all at the same time.
It wasn’t always that way for me. When I was in high school, I was barely getting Cs in most of my classes. I graduated and became a mom, but I was working two to three jobs to make ends meet for my daughter and me. Determined to make a better life for us, I started taking classes at Richland College, including a computer course that offered training and certifications in Microsoft Office programs like Access, Excel, Word and PowerPoint. This provided me a leg up on the competition while searching for a better job.
After becoming certified in Microsoft Access, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, I was able to leave a server/hostess position and was offered a new job at as an administrative clerk, where I was told by my employer that my certifications were one of the reasons I was hired given all the computer work the position required. Since then I’ve made many valuable, professional contacts who’ve seen my progress and want to invest in my future. My income increased significantly and, more importantly, so did the amount of time I’m able spend with my 4-year-old daughter Camille.
I’m proud to be an example of the possibilities and opportunities that exist for girls everywhere, including my daughter. I encourage others to take advantage of similar opportunities not just for themselves but for their children. To learn more about the Certiport and Microsoft IT Academy partnership, please visit the Microsoft IT Academy. And for more information on how school administrators, educators, teachers and students can leverage technology for success, please check out the Microsoft YouthSpark hub for local resources and information.
I was sent the below infographic from a friend of mine who has an extensive tenure in PR and technology. We quickly became friends because she has an eye for my wicked humor. LOL! Anyway, we have often talked about the topic of toxic workplace environments. Life as a working parent is hard. Add on being a single parent trying to juggle life and bills the last thing you need is another addition to the avalanche of worries. However many of us work in a toxic environment. It can be a toxic boss, coworker, project etc. Even if you are not a working parent, you can be in a toxic church group, community organization, relationship etc. It is inevitable that you will work or be in a toxic environment. Amanda adds how to survive this chaos with her post on LinkedIn called,
Producer and Talent Manager, Mark Holder has been involved in many film projects such as She Wants Me, Bad Karma and I Will Follow You Into the Dark. As a father of four – three boys and one girl; Holder talks about pets. They currently have four dogs and one of his sons wanted a puppy. So Holder talked about rescuing a puppy. In the interview, his son didn’t take care of the puppy and they ended up giving the puppy away. They talked about this valuable lesson of taking care of pets and the responsibility associated with that. The latter part of this interview is about work life balance.
Many working women and mothers have a struggle as it is to maintain a healthy balance of the needs of their home life and work life. With CEO's such as Yahoo's Marissa Mayer tightening restrictions and…