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Moms make a lot of sacrifices for their kids. Should they expect all the people around them (co-workers, friends, family) without kids to do the same for their family?
This debate came up in a forum thread when a full-out argument occurred between two co-workers about taking a holiday off (Easter in this case), one a mom and the other without kids. The woman without kids asked the community if she was being a jerk for refusing to work the holiday.
The original poster (OP), a 23-year-old woman without kids, was been caught in a heated debate with a co-worker after she refused to work on Easter to allow her colleague with children to spend time with her family.
According to the OP, she had already worked during Christmas and Thanksgiving to allow her colleagues to be with their families, and she wasn’t going to be guilted into working on Easter too. When the mom that had been scheduled to work Easter asked the OP to cover, she politely said no thank you and that she had plans. This infuriated the mom and led to a heated argument.
Many Hurtful Words Were Said
Both ladies got quite angry and said some hurtful words. The mom said she makes many sacrifices for her kids and just wants to spend the holiday with her kids. The OP said she’d already worked all of the other holidays for this reason without even a thank you. The mom then yelled that the OP shouldn’t need to be thanked for doing “what’s right.”
This was the final straw for the OP, to which she told her co-worker it’s not her problem that the mom has kids and that she should have thought about that before she had them.
The situation escalated, and the incident was reported to the Human Resources (HR) department. The woman’s colleagues suggested she was too harsh in her delivery, even though she had a right to refuse.
The OP started to feel bad about how she spoke to the woman out of anger. She talked to her mom and sister about it- they both agreed she had a right to refuse. But her mom still noted that she won’t understand how it feels to sacrifice a lot until she becomes a mother herself.
This got the OP thinking if she approached the situation wrong, but she still feels strongly that she deserves a holiday off. She shares that she did apologize to her coworkers for getting angry and will simply say “no” politely in the future.
The Big Debate
The debate that ensued was centered on whether or not the woman had a right to refuse to work on Easter. The community unanimously supported the OP in her right to say no. Some commenters felt the OP was too harsh, but others applauded her for standing her ground.
The top comment summarizes the situation perfectly, “OP, you have been very generous in taking on shifts for the previous major holidays- you’ve pulled your weight in being courteous, now you’re being walked on. They expect it of you going forward. Hold your ground. It’s unfortunate this lady pushed your buttons until you had such a strong reaction instead of trying to find another solution. But that’s on her. No is a complete sentence.”
Another user told the OP that her mom’s snarky comment about “not understanding” wasn’t helpful, “You do not owe your co-workers with kids your holidays. You do not owe them your evenings. You do not owe them your weekends. They chose to have children, and that choice is not your responsibility. Period. End of story. And if and when this argument comes up again, that right there is what you say to them.”
Other users were quick to point out that Easter is a religious holiday, not a “kids” holiday. Thus, they found it strange that the mom would be surprised that people without kids also want the day off.
One mom came to the OP’s support, too, saying, “I’m a parent and I’m saying this as a parent. You don’t need to have kids to understand what it’s like to sacrifice something. Parents aren’t the only people alive who sacrifice stuff for others.” (Many pointed out that Jesus Christ, the reason for celebrating Easter in the first place, was a man with no kids and made lots of sacrifices.)
Conclusion: You Can Say No
In conclusion, the situation surrounding the woman’s refusal to work on Easter highlights the challenges of balancing work and family responsibilities. While it is important to be understanding and accommodating of colleagues with children, it is also essential to recognize the needs and rights of those without children. Ultimately, the situation could have been handled better if both parties had communicated effectively and treated each other with respect.