At 10 pm I was at my computer, reviewing my presentation for an early morning meeting, when an e-mail from the client came through. He had forgotten about an event at his kid’s school and needed to reschedule. Seriously?!
Now, I never want to disappoint a child and think parents should support as many events as possible. However. Four other people had cleared their schedules to be at this meeting. We all made sacrifices, both personal and professional, to be in attendance. I’d been prepping for days, and I’d turned down other work to get started on the project (lost money for a freelancer). Had I been in bed instead of in my office that night, I would not have seen the last-minute e-mail and would have shown up at the meeting location as scheduled, thus losing another day of work. What pissed me off the most was this guy never even apologized for inconveniencing the rest of us, he just requested that we “reschedule as soon as possible.”
It got me thinking about all the times I’ve heard parents use their kids as excuses:
- I can’t work late tonight/this weekend/over the holiday because of the kids. (Which leaves me, the childfree person, to pick up the slack.)
- I missed the deadline/didn’t finish the name tags/couldn’t bake the cupcakes I promised because my kid kept me awake last night. (So now I have to scramble to get it done and cover your butt at the eleventh hour?)
- I have to leave early (and leave all the extra work with you) to pick up my kid/go to my kid’s soccer game/get groceries for the kids’ dinner. (I have a life too, dangnabbit!)
- I’m late because of my kid.
- I’m tired because of my kid.
- I’m cranky because of my kid.
I get it. Being a parent is exhausting, time-consuming, and crazy work. But I want to say to the people who overuse this excuse: SUCK IT UP! You chose this life, so take responsibility for your responsibilities. Either that or be ready to accept without complaint my excuse that “I just don’t feel like covering for you this weekend because you missed the deadline and it’s made me cranky.”
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She desperately needs a vacation, preferably one involving sunny beaches and fruity cocktails.