This is a flawed thought process.
Let's talk about why. If I were to disappear from work, say by spontaneous combustion because wouldn't that be an interesting way to go, what would happen? Well, any good business should have a contingency plan in place and really, no one employee should be considered irreplaceable. If you are irreplaceable, than someone is doing something wrong. Sure, my co-workers would bear the burden of my workload until another took over my responsibilities but no one would cry out, "We simply cannot go on without her!"
What would happen at home? How would my children cope with the sudden loss of their mother? I think we all agree that it would be a different story.
What I provide to my family is completely different from my responsibilities as a employee. What happens on a day when both require my attention? I'm left to choose family over work or work over family.
So what happened last week? Well, first there was the walking field trip. At the beginning of each school year, the teachers send home a permission slip explaining that during the year, the class may embark on a walking field trip to the library, fire station or other town municipal buildings. It's sort of a blanket permission slip so the teachers can plan trips quickly and not have to wait to receive permission slips back from parents. Over the past three years, Emily's class has been the only one to take such a field trip and it wasn't met with much success. Remember how there was a runaway tire from a passing truck and one of the moms injured her wrist when she stopped the tire from plowing into the kids?
Two weeks ago, we learned that Allie's class, Anna's class and Emily's class would all be heading out for a walking field trip on the same day to a town building. I later learned from Allie's teacher that the three classrooms were going to split up into two groups. One group would go first and as they were heading back, the second group would begin walking from the school. Half of Emily's class would go with Allie's class and half would go with Anna's class. Emily was placed in the group going with Allie. That left Anna on her own, which she was perfectly content with.
Parents were invited to accompany their children but Rich and I quickly determined that work commitments would prevent us from doing so. I had scheduled a meeting for that morning with 10+ other people, many with an outside accounting firm, and I felt that it would have been rude of me to ask for a schedule change on such short notice. Coordinating schedules for larger groups is not an easy task, especially on short notice, and the meeting needed to be held that week.
Allie had a meltdown.
Emily and Anna didn't seem to care that they wouldn't have parental representation.
And let's not forget that fact that I wanted to go.
I should mention that Allie's been in some sort of "phase" for the past six months or so. The best way to describe it is a clingy phase.
"Can Grammy just drop you off at gymnastics?"
"NOOOOOOO! SHE NEEDS TO STAAAAY"
She had a rough time at school last year. A girl (who is the most manipulative child I've ever come across) befriended her and then spent a good portion of the school year breaking up every other friendship Allie had or tried to have. Allie was not as street smart as this kid and didn't know what was going on and ended up in trouble with this girl on multiple occasions. It was a parenting challenge to say the least. I shouldn't have a second grader making herself sick because she's afraid to go to school or crying in the school bathroom. At the end of it, Allie's self-esteem and confidence were rattled and we're still dealing with the aftereffects.
It takes a village and after several emails with Allie's teacher, Grammy became the substitute parent for the field trip.
Problem solved? Well, almost. "Walking field trip" and "Anna" aren't two things that go together very well. All of the adults involved, including the school nurses, were concerned with Anna's ability, safety and comfort. There was going to be about a mile of walking when all was said and done. We knew that she would be able to do it but we needed to make sure she wouldn't become too worn out as she needed to get through the rest of the school day. Hopefully, without tripping and falling.
- Have Anna join Allie's class so Grammy would be able to assist her if needed. Allie's teacher did offer this option to us.
- Have Grammy not walk back with Allie's class and meet Anna's class when they arrive. Grammy can then help Anna on the walk back if she is tired.
- Have Anna's teacher bring the wheelchair (just in case) offered by the school nurses. We were told that there was another student who may also fatigue from the walk and they were debating on bringing the wheelchair.
- Anna doesn't want to be separated from her classmates. Okay. Fair enough.
- Allie. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
- A possibility but Anna says she doesn't need it. My guess is that she doesn't want a million questions from classmates.
And she was.
Afterwards, I did ask her if she would have ridden in the wagon if I had been able to go. The school nurses last year had thrown that out there as a suggestion. A wagon with kids is less likely to raise questions. She said, yes, she would have ridden in the wagon. So now we know.
The second conundrum of the week was read in day that Friday for Allie's class. (Of course, it would be Allie too.) Hey, guess what? Mommy has a meeting that morning and she thinks she'll look like a jerk if she misses the meeting so Mommy can't go to your read in. Okay?
Mommy also feels like a jerk because she can't go to the read in.
What's a read in? The kids read to a parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, someone during class time. In this case, it was scheduled from 8:30 to 9:00. The best solution/compromise I could come up with was to leave the read in a few minutes early to catch a train that would land me at my meeting 15 minutes late. IF the train was on time.
Allie's response: "NOOOOOOOOOOO."
Finally, she decided that it would be okay if Grammy went but only if Grammy didn't leave early.
Mommy still feels like a jerk.
[Items to note: People at work are pretty flexible but at what point does it cross the line? When do you become that person? There has been a significant increase in medical appointments for Anna this year with all the kidney stuff and those are days or mornings where I need to be out.]