Maintaining a work/life balance is one of the most uphill battles anyone can face.
It’s particularly hard for working parents, who want to be as present for their children as possible, while also making every effort to do their best in their respective professions.
But finding a healthy work/life balance is equally difficult for those without children, something a recent Redditor felt her colleagues didn’t fully appreciate.
But after being called out by multiple colleagues, as well as friends, the original poster (OP), took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), asking fellow Redditors:
“AITA for telling my coworker that my personal out-of-work activities are as important as her kids’?”
The OP began her post by informing readers of both her current situation and future life plans, and a recent incident at work which put her somewhat at odds with her colleagues.
“Trying to keep this short -“
“I am a married 36 year old woman with no plans to have kids.”
“I recently had an issue with a coworker where our boss emailed her/I to ask if one of us could cover an evening call (it’s a 9-5 job but we occasionally have evening calls due to collaborators in different time zones).”
“The coworker asked me to do it because her son had a soccer game, but I said that I can’t do it because I had a volleyball game.”
“She said that I should do it because the soccer game is for her kid and my volleyball game is just for me.”
“I said that respectfully my outside-of-work commitments are not less important than hers because I don’t have children, and that she should take the call because I had taken the last two.”
“She scoffed at me, and I know that other people around the office have been gossiping about me since and saying that it was super messed up that I made her miss her kid’s soccer game.”
The OP went on to clarify that it is not in her nature to make life more difficult for her colleagues with children.
“I think that it’s incredibly important to support working mothers.”
“I am always more than happy to accommodate the schedules of the mothers I work with when it doesn’t cause a significant inconvenience to me.”
“For example, some coworkers leave early to pick up their kids (our company is great about that), and I’m happy to work project schedules around that.”
“I also would have taken that call if I hadn’t had a conflict as long as it wasn’t a pattern of me taking significantly more evening calls.”
The OP did begin to question how she handled the situation, however, after a friend outside of work seemed to side with her colleagues.
“I talked to a friend about this (who is a mother), and she said that I should have just done it because people who don’t have kids really should have more empathy for working parents and we don’t understand how hard it is.”
“I said respectfully that I do understand that working mothers have much more stressful lives than I do, which is why I decided not to be a mother.”
“I also said that I can have respect and empathy for working mothers and also value my time/ choices equally.”
“She similarly scoffed and said that I don’t understand.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
The Reddit community all but wholeheartedly took the side of the OP, believing she was in no way the a**hole in this particular situation.
Several agreed that the OP shouldn’t have been put in this situation in the first place, as she took the two previous evening shifts, which her supervisor should have noted.
“NTA – it should be a rotation.”
“Having kids is not a get out of crummy work free card.”-laughingsbetter.
“NTA AT ALL.”
“You took the last two calls, that is reason enough to say no.”
“Look at you with the shiny spine.”- mdsnbelle.
“Working late should be a shared chore, just as you lay out.”
“Ignore the whiners.”-moondoggie1960.
“‘She should take the call because I had taken the last two.'”
“Is there anything more to be said?”
Others felt that while the OP had every right to say no, she could have done so in a more articulate manner.
“But your mistake here is telling her what your personal business was.”
“That’s private, because once you put it out there, it’s up for community judgment.”
“Next time, less said, the better.”-sugarintheboots.
“But it wasn’t smart to say what your conflict was.”
“You didn’t have to justify it.”
“All you had to say was ‘sorry, I really can’t. I have a prior commitment.'”-Time-U-1
“NTA, and no is a full sentence.”
“Stop explaining yourself.”-Tricky_Dog1465.
“This is why it’s best to refer to a ‘commitment’ or ‘obligation’ when it comes to plans you’ve made outside of work hours.”
“That way you don’t have to justify, argue, defend, and explain why you’re entitled to do whatever you have planned for your time off, even if what you have planned is watching a show you like or taking a bath or getting extra sleep.”
“‘Jackson has a soccer game? Oh that’s too bad, unfortunately I also have a commitment after 5pm so looks like we have to reschedule.'”
“None of their business what that commitment you have is.”
“You can have a commitment to yourself to recharge however you want!”
“Not blaming you for this situation at all though.”
“It’s total bullsh*t.”
“We all make choices about how to spend our time and energy and hers are no more valid than yours, full stop.”-ChaosStoplessCool.
“A coworker choosing to have children should not become your burden to bear.”
“Your personal life is your own and next time you shouldn’t feel a need to verbalize an excuse.”
“‘No, I did the last two, it’s your turn’ should suffice.
But most Redditors stood firmly on the side of the OP, that having children shouldn’t always trump the plans of those without children.
“NTA I love it when people say ‘but you don’t have a family’ as tho people were hatched from pods.”
“Having children isn’t a free pass to get out of things you’d prefer not to do.”-Slugdirt.
“This isn’t like her kid was hit by a car and in the hospital, so she can’t come in.”
“It’s hobby vs hobby, and clearly her turn to pick up the shift.”
“Enjoy your volleyball game.”-Opagea.
“NTA, that empathy for working parents extends to things like Dr appointments, emergencies, major life events etc.”
“A random soccer game is not it and your time is just as valuable as hers.”
“If this causes any issues go to HR and explain what happened.”- kitty-cat24.
“NTA, as you know.”
“In fact, if there were something like anti-NTA, that’s you, because you willingly take more of your share of evening calls so that others can enjoy their activities, and instead of being thanked for that you’re being vilified for refusing your place as a useless childfree adult whose needs are never as important as a parent’s.”
“(last bit was sarcasm, should be obvious)”- OkCaterpillar7770.
“I would also bet that, until she said what she did about her son being more important, there was a chance you may have done her a favor.”
“Also, no is all you had to say, you don’t need to waste your time defending your life, doesn’t need defending.”-40101695.
“So what if you don’t ‘understand’.”
“You aren’t a second class citizen.”
“The mother also doesn’t understand what it’s like to be the employee everyone assumes should take on all the long hours, extra tasks etc. because it’s ‘just them’.”
“You had a team activity where others were counting on your attendance.”
“It’s fine if someone (kids or not) has a conflict and asks if someone else can handle something.”
“As long as they accept the answer is sometimes no.”
“But we all have to take turns doing the stuff we don’t want to sometimes.”-angel2hi.
“NTA – just because you don’t have children, doesn’t make your time less valuable.”-mizfit0416.
“NTA in the slightest.”
“Keep a log of all the times you stay for coverage.”
“Your time is just as valuable as a parents.”
“Even if all you wanted to do after work was get high and lay in bed, you have every right to say no.”-pluginfembot.
“Employees in the same position have the same responsibilities regardless of their choices outside of work.”
“Her having kids is not your responsibility to juggle, it’s her’s.”
“Your time IS as equally valid as her.”
“Honestly if she’s making work hard, I’d approach HR.”
“The entitlement some parents have simply because they chose to become parents is ridiculous.”-pizzaisapie69.
The OP even received a considerable amount of support from working parents.
“NTA at all.”
“I’m a mother and agree that whatever anyone does or doesn’t do outside of work is just as important as everyone else’s.”
“It was clearly her turn and pulling the mum card is a real a**hole move.”-CarryingCargo.
“I am a mom.”
“If your boss wants someone available during that time they need to schedule it.”
“You need to be allowed a life outside work.”- jadepumpkin1984.
The OP was particularly touched by the support she received from working mothers, and took a moment to thank them in a follow up, while also emphasizing that she supports working mothers right back.
“Thanks everyone for the support! “
“I’d like to acknowledge that a lot of the support is coming from working mothers, which I appreciate.”
“Almost all of this has been respectful, but for anyone bashing mothers generally/ using misogynistic terms I don’t need your ‘support’.”
It does seem rather unfair that the OP was put in this position in the first place, as she seemed to have clearly earned a break after working two previous evening shifts.
One only hopes she doesn’t remain at odds with her colleagues, and everyone in her place of work will soon realize that everyone has a life outside the office, which needs to be respected.