Anyone can make a perfect schedule. True time management masters know to create a resilient schedule — one that still functions when life happens.
This is especially true when it comes to childcare. Something can always come up to make the primary situation unavailable. In this episode of Best of Both Worlds, Sarah and I talk about the “layered” approach to childcare. Basically, if you have two employed parents, or you are an employed single parent, you are going to need more than one layer of childcare in order to reliably meet your work commitments. Those layers need to be more robust as the level of difficulty increases: travel, overtime, unpredictable hours, multiple small children, both parents needing to be in the office, etc.
I learned this the hard way when I chose a daycare center near my apartment for my eldest, back when he was a baby. It was absolutely wonderful…when he could go. He was also sick for approximately 30 work days that first winter. If he was really sick, that was one thing, but often this was mild stuff that just meant he didn’t meet the attendance policy. This led to a lot of marital stress over the issue of who covered what. We definitely needed more layers!
In this episode, Sarah and I talk about the various potential layers (in her case, three kids in full time school plus a nanny, to avoid needing to cancel a full day of patients when a child inevitably gets sent home from school with a cough). We talk about a few family scenarios and what childcare layers might work best. What about a high school principal plus lawyer with one toddler? What about a tech project manager plus a consultant with three elementary school aged kids? We are always happy to suggest ideas for people, so if you’ve got a scenario you’d like us to weigh in on, please feel free to send it in!
(And yes, we know even having choices on childcare is a privilege in our society. But many of our listeners do have choices. The existence of choices doesn’t mean you have zero problems or zero childcare stress. We want to help people make wise choices that support their families and their goals.)
Childcare is an important topic. However, I suspect much of the discussion coming from this episode will center on the listener question.
A woman who has been dying her hair for years is finding this process increasingly untenable. She’s wondering if going gray will affect her career in the male-dominated and fairly youth-dominated tech industry, or if there are any best practices on how to handle this. The situation is complicated by the fact that if she stopped dying her hair black it sounds like she’d be completely gray quite quickly — this isn’t going to be gradual, although maybe a good colorist could help. Sarah and I were pretty stumped on this one. Sarah does not dye her hair. I’ve been dying mine for so long (since age 15) that it’s never had anything to do with aging. That said, I dye my hair blonde, which is the color some people can go to hide grays, so I’m not facing such a stark change as our listener. We wish that hair didn’t affect perception, but on the other hand, we live in the real world, and so it’s hard to say for sure that going gray wouldn’t affect anything. So anyone who has thoughts…please weigh in!