New Airport Rules, Different DUI Demo, Working Parent Debate

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Good morning. Hopefully Blogger will let us put some pics up this morning with the news. Here it is:

We led off with new airport rules for you frequent flyers. Here they are. Put all the travel size toiletries into a clear quart sized bag. Nothing more than 3oz. The TSA website has a better explanation.

Congress is debating two big bills this week. One deals with how we treat terrorism suspects and the other deals with building a border fence. Anyone remember how ridiculous this idea sounded months ago when Iowa congressman Steve King floated it. Well that”crazy” idea is now a reality. Don’t ever underestimate King’s ability to convince someone he’s right.

Des Moines City Councilman Tom Vlassis says he won’t resign. Vlassis was on the CIETC Board when the scandal about inflated salaries broke. Looks like he’s said what he’s going to say about this. Time to move on and maybe concentrate on who knew about this and was responsible at the state level?

The City Council also heard it from people in the neighborhood surrounding the proposed site of a homeless shelter. I understand the neighbor’s concerns and I would be madder than you know what if I wasn’t consulted on the location before it was announced. That said, this shelter provides a valuable service and the commission looking into this identified proximity to the bus station as a major factor in choosing a site. There aren’t too many places closer to the bus station that you could build.

Gov George Pataki says he’ll set up a campaign office in Des Moines for the 2008 Caucuses. It seems the men and women just dipping a toe to test the presidential waters now have their wetsuits on and are ready to jump in with both feet.

It’s Trisha now!
I wanted to weigh in on a couple of things this morning.
First – No more ear and sinus infections? Researchers say they’ve found a vaccine that can fight the bacteria that cause most of these awful problems in kids! Miraculous, I say! We have been VERY VERY lucky in the ears department – no ear infections so far in either kid! But Calvin and I are both prone to sinus infections, which are a major pain to deal with. I’m interested in reading more about this vaccine…

I had some thoughts in response to the anonymous Principal employee who wrote comments in yesterday’s blog. (check it out in the comments below yesterday’s entry). He or she says that some parents he works with abuse the family-friendly policy, spending too much time away from work, and leaving him or her with extra workload.
Here’s what I think:
A – Prove yourself on the job.
This applies to all employees, not just working parents! To be respected and successful, you must do a good job at work. Period! If you take time away for whatever reason, make sure to cover your work somehow! There are time-wasters and slackers in every profession, and probably, as the writer observed, some working parents who don’t put quite enough effort in at work to make up for the time they spend doing parenting-related things. That’s too bad for the rest of us who do our best to balance it all and be good employees and good parents!

B – Don’t take on more than you can handle.
If your job is demanding too much of you, and sucking you away from parenting duties too often for your comfort, do whatever you can to renegotiate better/fewer hours, or look for other work! The catch is, of course, it’s not easy to find good-paying jobs that offer fewer or more flexible hours. but it’s worth trying if you feel overwhelmed by a job you can’t really manage while being as involved as you want to be with your family.
I’ll add to that that IF you’re lucky enough to find a great gig with an employer who’s flexible, and nice about letting you fit in parenting duties, DON’T LET THE SNARKINESS OF COWORKERS GET TO YOU! Stand proud. If you feel you’re doing a good job AND your boss is cool with your schedule AND you’re fitting in family duties, BE HAPPY! Don’t dwell on the inevitible cold shoulder you’ll occasionally feel from co-workers around you who aren’t in the same boat.

C – Worry about yourself, not everyone else

I always say unless you’re DIRECTLY affected by someone else’s work ethic, don’t drive yourself crazy tallying up all the things they’re getting away with that you’re not! If you believe in karma or something like it, what goes around comes around, and you will ultimately be rewarded for your hard work, while they may be sacrificing their career advancement by putting less effort into their job.

D – If something negatively affects you, take action
I would say to the writer of the comment that if he or she is really taking on an unfair burden because of his or her co-workers, he/she needs to speak up. It seems to me to be much healtheir to try to change an unfair situation, than to stew about it, and a bit unfair to complain without being willing to take action.

Finally – a little empathy goes a long way!!! Of course until you have kids there’s no way to understand how much of your heart and soul is wrapped up in them, and how far you’d go to protect your time with them. But I’d hope that workers without kids would at least try to offer support, and realize that involved parents create solid families, and well-adjusted kids who are society’s next generation of leaders! You may find yourself in need of some support and understanding from co-workers someday too, if a family member of yours has a crisis, a health emergency comes up, or some once-in-a-lifetime vacation opportunity arises at an inconvenient time at work! If you offer working parents a little bit of your understanding, they’re hopefully going to offer you support as well if you ever need it!

I could go on about this topic forever, but I do have kids to get home to today (teehee) so I’d better get the rest of my work done so no one gets bent out of shape! See you tomorrow morning!

Pat’s turn :
I’m going to weigh in on this too.
My first response is: Great reply to the blog. It is a critical comment that is made with a thoughtful and respectful tone.
Second, not having kids, I admit to being a part of these conversations at times in my career. Someone calls in with a sick kid. Yep…The rest of us who don’t have kids can’t miss work for a sick pet. Yes, sometimes that means more work.
I started thinking about it though and here’s the thing; What do we want parents to be? It isn’t possible for the majority of parents to have one of the two stay home. Sometimes that’s a choice, sometimes that’s a necessity. These parents made a choice to have a child. They are acting responsibly, taking care of that child, acting as a good role model or giving the child the time he/she deserves. Should we be complaining about that?
There will always be people who abuse the system. I think I should get my sick time back in the form of vacation if I don’t use it. I don’t take sick time, and I think I should be rewarded for that. Other people I’ve worked with look at sick time as a right…Time they’re owed. They’ll take “mental health days”. Just because some people abuse the privilege doesn’t mean you throw out a good benefit.
If our society values parents who are involved in, responsible for and in tune with their kids; then one of the costs is a workforce where parents are allowed a little slack with regard to taking care of those kids.
We may be thanking them for staying home, going to a play, parent teacher conference or lunch on a random day; when that kid turns out to be a well adjusted productive member of society.

Just our opinions, folks – feel free to disagree! Thanks again for the civilized feedback – we love it!
Trish and Pat


  • Heather R.

    I definatley need that vaccine or any medicine that would discourage the infection. I have an ear infection or sinus issue at least every month. I have had 8 sets of tubes since I was a baby, and I’m now 22! Crazy ness!!! Good blog today folks!Also, I work at a local refrigeration company here in DSM and its hard sometimes working with 4 women. I’ll admit it, were all so petty that we drive each other nuts. I think the tips you gise gave, hit home! Thanks alot :)Have a good day!Heather.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Heather it takes sometimes all you have in you to try and ignore the pettiness and then not get caught up in the daily office drama.You have to say to yourself is this really worth it, in my situation, 90% mostly NO. This topic couldn’t come at a more perfect time because tomorrow morning will feel like monday morning… a co workers spouse for some reason or another can’t take their kids in to day care. I’m a dental assistant in a very small office and we need every “BODY” we can get. On the flip side I like Pat and Trisha your positive points of views to this, and how to approach the situation. . And most importantly Trisha I respect women like you who work hard and can be a parent at the same time. I think of women like you when I start to whine about “The Little Things!” and instantly change my tune. I commend you.-Brenda E.

  • Trisha Shepherd

    Heather and Brenda, Thank you for the positive feedback! Brenda – it’s good to hear your encouragement! Balancing what I consider 2 full time jobs isn’t easy, but support from coworkers, family, and friends really helps keep me going when my energy gets low!Hope you survive your staff shortage at work!Trisha

  • Anonymous

    If anyone is interested, there was a really good article in the business section of the Des Moines Register this morning (10/2/06) regarding the issue of single workers and family friendly policies in the workplace. I commend all of the working parents out there who strive to keep a balance in their lives. As a single person with no children, I often marvel at how my friends and co-workers manage to keep everything on an even keel and maintain their sanity and a sense of humor. They definitely deserve our respect. Having said that, I must admit it was nice to read an article which provided a different perspective on this important issue.Jackie S.

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