Do the Childless Get Ripped Off at Work?

Childless employees, especially women, get the shaft in the workplace. Right? How many times have you watched a co-worker run off to watch a soccer game or take her child to the dentist while you had to cover her hours or finish her work because hey, you don’t have any kids to worry about?

Jody Day, speaking at the NotMom Summit earlier this month, described five areas of dissension:

1) The dominance of mom talk and mom activities. People who just want to do their jobs are subjected to baby showers, mothers bringing their babies to work, baby pictures, and co-workers conversing about subjects the childless don’t feel comfortable joining in.

2) Unfair holiday allocations. Who gets to work on Christmas? Not the moms and dads.

3) Lack of consideration for any real-life needs besides children.

4) Caring for parents, pets, spouses, etc., does not get the same consideration as caring for children.

5) Unfair work load distribution. Give it to her; she doesn’t have kids.

Does any of this sound familiar? I have certainly felt left out when the moms at work all gathered to talk about their kids. But I haven’t experienced discrimination in the same ways that others have. During my years in the newspaper business, we all worked nights, weekends, and holidays, lucky if we got time for lunch. I suspect my co-workers’ kids were fending for themselves.

I think we have to understand that it’s not easy balancing work and family. Children require a lot of maintenance. Somebody has to take them to doctor and dentist appointments, pick them up when the school calls, or accompany them to sports activities or lessons. Somebody has to take care of them when they’re not in school. Parents would tell you that’s more important than any job.

But how is that our problem, you might ask? It’s bad enough that we don’t get to have kids and now we get extra work dumped on us because of it? It’s definitely not fair. Employers need to understand that we have lives, too, and that includes taking care of our homes, spouses, pets, and aging parents. And ourselves. We need time for doctor and dentist appointments, too.

I’m rambling. There’s a situation going on at my church job that has me totally distracted. It has nothing to do with the fact that three out of four of us employees never had children, more to do with working for a crazy person. I’ll bet you can identify with that, too.

So I turn the discussion over to you. Have you experienced discrimination in the workplace because you are the one without children? Are you constantly forced to deal with baby pictures, baby showers, and baby talk that just makes you feel worse about your own situation. Let ‘er rip. I want to know.

Here are just a few of many articles on the subject of workplace discrimination against employees without kids.

“Discrimination Against Childfree Adults”  by Ellen Walker, Psychology Today, May 2, 2011

“Family-Friendly Workplaces are Great, Unless You Don’t Have Kids”  by Amanda Marcotte, Slate, June 21, 2013

“Do Childless Employees Get the Shaft at Work?”  by Aaron Guerrero, U.S. News & World Report, July 17, 2013

I await your comments.

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9 thoughts on “Do the Childless Get Ripped Off at Work?

  1. Maybe I’m too young to know, but I don’t see the childless getting ripped off, unless you live in Canada where they get 1 year 50% paid salary for maternity leave. Of course I am saying this when I just came back from maternity leave. (Not ready to give up my not-mom card yet!) At my job we had no less than three people having children within 4 months of each other. So I went on maternity leave as well as my coworker who became a father, and he took 6 weeks off too. We work shifts at my job and the other workers did have to work overtime to cover our shifts. But they have the option to refuse a shift, and they did some other rearranging so as to have minimum staffing for summer hours, and there was a couple of people who want to take as much overtime as possible, because the money is so good.

    In other jobs I have had, where I was the childless one, I didn’t feel taken advantage of at all. The vast majority of people I knew who were working with children were very hard workers and I didn’t notice them ever skipping out of work because of children’s activities. I mean, we all take vacations, not just the parents. I would also like to point something else out, more than a couple of people my age chose to leave the workforce when they became a mom. Of course, a lot of this happened prior to the 2008 financial crisis. However, there are a lot of millennials that are choosing to raise their children much the same way as our grandparents did, with one parent staying home.

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    • Crystal, it sounds like some people are starting to understand and try to be fair to everyone. And yes, maybe millennials have learned from my try-to-do-everything generation that it doesn’t work very well. Now, did you have a baby? It’s okay to share the good news, if you did.

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      • Yes, I did have a baby! Thank you. Everything is great! I had this whole thing written out, but then the internet went down. Ok, and now the place I had it written down, I can’t get to. Stay tuned.

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  2. Hi Sue,
    I recently saw this post of an acquaintance on Facebook and it was the perfect set up for what I have been wanting to express for my life. I would be ok with you posting this on your Facebook page for me as I am not wanting to put this out there under my name for fear of being ostracized by my friends.

    People have said to me having a kid changes your life. Not having a baby and wanting one changes us as well. Life is always changing. Be kind to those not-moms out there a lot of them are hurting and have to go through life knowing exactly what they are missing out on every day. They are true survivors. I would like to give them the credit they are due.

    Here is a quote from a fellow mom on Facebook:

    Before I was a mom… I never learned the words to a single lullaby. 🙉 I never thought about immunizations. 💉 I had never been puked on, pooped on, drooled on, chewed on, or peed on. 😷 I had complete control of my mind, my thoughts, and my life. 👸💅 I slept all night.🙏 I never looked into teary eyes and cried. 😭 I never got gloriously happy over a simple little grin. 😍 I never sat up for hours watching someone sleep 🌜😔… I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when i couldn’t stop the hurt.😵 I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much in a great way 🙌🌏. I never knew that I could love someone so much before ever meeting them. 💗Before i was a mom… I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart walking around outside of my body .👶💖re-post if you’re proud to be a mom!!! 🙈🙈

    I would like to re-post this for all the not-moms out there……

    Before I was a mom… I never learned the words to a single lullaby.

    I couldn’t wait to sing my baby a sweet lullaby…I had several of them on my iTunes account that I memorized the words to.

    🙉 I never thought about immunizations. 💉

    I researched both sides of the vaccine debate and studied epidemiology, biology and immunology as well as heavy metal toxicology in order to make the best decision for you (future kiddo).

    I had never been puked on, pooped on, drooled on, chewed on, or peed on. 😷

    Of course the huge void in my life was a very real loss so I got a dog from a shelter. It didn’t take too long to get potty training down. And I loved Fido as my child. Of course I have always loved dogs so even if I had a child still would’ve had a dog just FYI.

    I had complete control of my mind, my thoughts, and my life. 👸💅

    There were many times the hurt was just too much, I broke down and wept missing the baby I didn’t have. The family I didn’t have. At least two times a year I would have lunch with coworkers who were moms and all they talked about was their ultrasounds birth stories big sister/ brother moments taking home baby etc. I would go back to my office, close the door, and cry for 30 minutes straight.

    I slept all night.🙏

    I stayed awake at night wondering why not me?

    I never looked into teary eyes and cried. 😭

    I watched people at the mall and admired their beautiful children and hoped for one of my own someday.

    I never got gloriously happy over a simple little grin. 😍

    This one is kind of obnoxious but yes children do make their moms smile, again no surprise here. And again Fido brought us many smiles.

    I never sat up for hours watching someone sleep 🌜😔…

    I watched my husband sleep. The same husband who wouldn’t allow me a child. The one who said he wanted children … someday…but no idea when!!!!!!! I also stayed up all night looking for medical information and reading medical journals trying to find out what my cure was for (insert disease/symptoms here). Finally found a specialist on the other side of the country who could do (insert surgery name/ medical treatment here).

    I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when i couldn’t stop the hurt.😵

    I could never explain how much this happened. If Facebook didn’t exist…and when I first wanted to have children Facebook wasn’t around and this did happen. Nevertheless I saw all my friends’ cute Facebook photos and announcements, how happy they looked and my heart did break.

    I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much in a great way 🙌🌏.

    I knew. At this point all the not-moms are rolling their eyes.

    I never knew that I could love someone so much before ever meeting them. 💗

    I knew. I started taking folic acid supplements in college in preparation. Some of us took parenting classes and childhood psychology classes in preparation. We worked on our careers so that we could provide a safe loving home for our future babies. We were responsible so we could provide a stable family life for our children. We DID EVERYTHING RIGHT.

    Before i was a mom… I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart walking around outside of my body .👶💖re-post if you’re proud to be a mom!!! 🙈🙈

    All not-moms know the feeling of another mom who is totally clueless. Like if you are proud to be a mom or a not-mom!

    Like

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