Dear Aunty B,
The holiday mummy battles have started early and I just made it worse.
I now have two mums at each other’s throats. Both get six weeks a year, which I introduced to try and assist them (partly to stop them taking sick days and stuff.)
The problem is we are too small for them to take the six weeks at the same time but they both want to take the school holidays. I have made it worse by being ambushed by Single Mum who asked for the two weeks off in September and the week between Christmas and New Year.
Single mum has two boys and no help so after she begged me I told her we would manage and then felt like a saint because she was so grateful. And if you met her boys you would know I am doing society a great favour by giving her the time off so the young thugs in the making are supervised!
Then Mum with Help (husband and mother) comes in and berates me, saying I am discriminating in favour of Single Mum just because she is single when she is a mother too and needs some of the holidays off with her kids.
I can see her point but what about me? I own the business and although I haven’t got children I will be working the whole time so the two of them can have some time off and they get six weeks AND they still make my life hell.
We are a small team and having them ignoring each other and bristling when the other speaks when we all work side by side all day is really irritating to the office.
Meat in the mummy sandwich
Dear Meat in the mummy sandwich,
Yeah, no one thinks about you. And why would they? You are the boss and can nick off when you like outside peak school holiday season. You get lower prices for your holiday, no kids waking you up on the banana lounge with shrieks and dive bombs AND you get to work through lovely quiet times when you can nick off early.
As for these two women? They are just stressed off their heads juggling families and work and have lost their senses. Call them in one by one and explain that you understand their dilemma and that you want to sort it out with them. Then call them in together with a calendar and work out who can work when. It will involve you all compromising. For example, Mum with Help may be able to take Thursday and Friday of the second week and Single Mum will just have to cover somehow. Is there any work that the young lads can do in the office for a few days?
And then maybe consider the period between Christmas and New Year when it is extremely difficult for mums to find any sort of help whatsoever (at least bottle shops are now open Boxing Day.) What can you do to cover that period? The bad news is that this problem will exist until the blighters grow up, so you are going to need to consider your staff mix going into next year. The good news is that technology is your friend. Is there anything you can automate/change to assist you through the holidays?
Finally once that is solved, make them feel ashamed of themselves. Bring up their behaviour and tell them there is no place for unprofessional conduct.
Your Aunty B
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