I was messaging with a friend this morning who is suffering from a migraine. She has had it since yesterday morning and still went into work and accomplished a full day. Last night it was at a point where she was considering going to get something stronger from the hospital to help her manage the pain. But like a lot of people that I know (myself included) she pushed through it, ignoring the brutal throbbing in her head. After a full day she went home and made dinner for her children and got ready for today.
We spoke for a little while last evening and she did manage to lay down for a bit but that did nothing to ease the pain. I am assuming that she thought that this morning it would either be gone or have subsided.
Fast forward to my waking up at 3:58 a.m. and ready to start my day. I made myself coffee and as it brewed sat on the couch sending my good morning texts and gif’s to my circle. I do this every day for those of you who may not have read the previous blog. Well within minutes of sending the good morning gif to her, my friend was messaging. She feels awful. Her neck and back and shoulders are all stiff. Her head is not any better. Maybe on the way to work she will stop at urgent care for something.
First I suggested that she take the day off and allow herself the time needed to get through this migraine. Well nope that was not going to work because she could not afford to miss a day of work. I did point out to her that only a few months ago she was getting by just fine on less, one day would not make or break her. She agreed but than messaged back ‘But Jay, as single moms we have to work.’ First I asked her who she sounded like right there? And than I sent her a message saying that I had something really important to tell her so I was sending it all in capital letters, not yelling at her. I am going to put it here word for word in capital letters because this is something that all mothers not just single moms need to hear/read and realize:
IF AS (SINGLE) MOTHERS WE DO NOT TEND TO OUR PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL/MENTAL WELLBEING FIRST WE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO USE TO THOSE AROUND US. (I copied it word for word although I added in the mental for this post.)
Really what use are we? Cringing in pain. Near tears. Short tempered with our children and loved ones. We are useless. I am worried that working in front of a computer will only exacerbate her pain. And finally because she has told me her boss is a fairly decent guy I said he would not have any issues and if he did the Wicked Witch of the North (a.k.a. me) would fly down on her broom and have words with him. Takes too long to drive and besides my passport has lapsed so broom it will have to be. And she said that he most definitely would have a problem.
This lead to me thinking about the differences between a boss and a leader. When one works their butt off, getting everything reorganized and up to date, fixing the errors of others, a leader will see the benefits in allowing a worker to stay home to recuperate. They realize one day in the grand scheme of things is better than having them end up taking off a week or more if the illness continues. . But if he/she makes you feel guilt, as though you must come in when you are clearly ill and/or in pain that does not a good leader make. Making people overextend themselves and push through illness/pain is the sign of someone lacking in compassion and empathy.
Bosses who lack in compassion and empathy, they are people who are looking at the bottom line and not putting their employees well being first. Happy employees are efficent employees and generally long term employees who can be counted on to be reliable and willing to work hard at their position.
I use to be that boss. I myself would push through illness or a bout of depression because my bosses have made me feel that I needed to be there. That it was my responsibility come hell or highwater to make my shift and do a good job. This despite having six to seven supervisors on my team who could easily cover for me. So when my staff would call in sick I would get a little tense and snappish about it. (I do have a policy that staff are can call in 3 hours before their shift if feeling under the weather. I have had people try to call me at 7 a.m. for a shift at 6 p.m. and ask them to call back because sleep sometimes does wonders.)
Now though, and I started doing this prior to my latest bout of depression, I do not sweat it when someone calls in sick. I have more than enough people who can and want to pick up extra shifts. If they are scheduled to work the next day, I will call and check on them. Urging them to stay at home if they still are feeling under the weather. I do not want to be that person that is considered callous and insensitive. And reality is all it took was a simple shift in how I thought and priorities. Happier staff I have discovered leads to more productivity and people who want to do a good job for you.
As moms I think our focus is generally outside of ourselves. Children. Parents. Spouses. Friends. Being a good employee. We fall through the cracks because we believe that we are Supermom and can manage everything and anything. Truth is even Supermom can be felled by the flu or a cold or an injury. The list goes on and on. We need to learn how to take the time to recuperate. There is no one else who will insist on in.