Years ago, when I had a management position and no children, I thought I was considerate and understanding of my employees with children. While I still believe (want to believe?) that I was, I realize I did not understand . . . because I didn't have to deal with the issue myself.
When Colin was an infant, he spent time in part-time child care while I worked a regular part-time schedule. And, then, he was a year old and spent a few months in full-time care while I worked full-time. I stayed home for a couple years, and then hired a nanny one day/week in our home to watch Colin & Nate while I worked in an office one day/week and additional hours from home. That lasted a few months, too, as I recall.
Child care is hard. Part-time child care is even harder. For the last year I've been back to work on a part-time basis and have been so grateful for the 2 families that watch my kids while I teach (with pay, of course) and even happier when I found a drop-in center for those times when neither family is available. When you don't have consistent needs, it's very difficult to find care. Not many centers, or day care providers, want to watch kids 3 days one week, a half day the next, nothing the third week and then 2 days the fourth. Most want a consistent schedule so they know what to expect.
Homeschooling adds another level to all of this. Even if the boys attended school full-time, I would still need before/after school care and holiday care. Homeschooling is another time commitment for me, but I imagine that homework and school activities would be a formidable time commitment as well.
Even with child care available, I find myself limiting opportunities. I don't work in the west valley because it would add at least 2 hours to my commute each day. I don't attend meetings where I won't get paid, because they cost me money. I won't attend a meeting tomorrow because it would cost me $25 in childcare to attend a one hour meeting, and I don't know that I'll receive any value from it. I'm hoping I didn't make the wrong decision.
I balance my choices, and there are times when I do pay for childcare when I won't receive compensation. There are times when the opportunity, or future opportunity, weigh heavy enough to make it worthwhile to spend the money. I'm trying to weigh the opportunities right now for a fairly inexpensive training seminar, which would cost twice as much in child care (I told you it was inexpensive!)
It falls on a day that is surrounded by many other commitments and I'm trying to figure out why I'm hesitating. Is it the cost? Is it all the surrounding commitments? Am I afraid of the potential opportunities? If I wait much longer, the seminar will be full, and my decision will be made for me. Which is NOT how I want to live my life.
How do you decide if something is really an issue, or if you're using it as an excuse?