In our county it is the second week of the schools Easter break and it is my week to take time away from work to cover the childcare duties for our three little darlings.
Both Mrs G and I have to work (albeit that she works on a part time basis) so we try to carve up the requirements for child care cave between us.
So over the last few days at work I have been informing my staff and others with whom I am working at the moment that I was going to be on holiday next week.
What surprised me was how many came up with a variant of the ‘Oh you’ll be glad to come back to work for a rest then!’ Or in a couple of instances comments that came close to saying that maybe, considering the position that some of the projects were in, I should have found some alternative childcare provision so I could be at work.
To which my response naturally was ‘ Of course I would rather be spending time with needy idiots like you here than spending time at home with my children. I live to answer your inane questions and do your basic thinking for you. Naturally I’m polite normally but that’s merely because I’m paid to be or out of some pretence of professional courtesy.
Well no actually I didn’t say that I went with ‘ Hum, something like that’ or apologetically that ‘I was sorry and that I didn’t have much of a choice’ and carried on answering the inane questions and doing the basic thinking for them as before.
But a couple of things struck me afterwards.
Firstly that no one ever makes similar comments about holidays in general.
‘Oh you’ll be needing a break having spent all that time on the beach’ or ‘That cruise must have been really exhausting I’m sure you’ll want to kick back and do the filing’
But what really annoyed me were the implications that I was being ever so slightly derelict in my duty by having the temerity to want to look after my children. Should I be sending them to a ‘Surestart’ centre so they can learn to love Labour? Paying additional money to a child minder when I have the facility to do the job myself?
Maybe I was just feeling a little chippy. The last few days before a break can always be a little hectic and my even my legendary levels of tolerance towards my fellow man can dip a little.
But even the potentially ‘well intentioned’ comments grated a little.
Ask a parent, there are enough of us or indeed anyone with a slight degree of empathy where they would rather be and the answer should be obvious. We’re only here doing this job for the cash guys! Don’t delude yourselves that we would rather be anywhere else than at home. We just have to pay for it somehow and for the time being the somehow just happens to be here.
Children are a joy and should be cherished. Our time with them when we are the focus of their attention and affection is short enough as it is. To waste any more of it than is absolutely necessary to maintain financial stability really would be a dereliction of duty.
I’m sure whatever the problem that may arise at work will wait for a week until I have the pleasure of returning. Until then I don’t care (assuming I did overmuch anyway) about the projects, the meeting of targets, the banalities of the workaday world. We’re off to the park!