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Feeling overwhelmed again.  Keeping my options open.

Jun 24, 2011 - 12 comments
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overwhelmed

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my kids

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therapy

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Autism

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PDD

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Work



Well, I think I might be back to looking for a new job.  Or maybe a second job.  After months of talking to my boss about the situation with Lexi hoping that she would face reality and either work with me or be honest and tell me to find another job...finally I received some kind of concrete answer from her yesterday.

I work in a 3 person agency that is owned by an insurance company.  Technically I work for the company.  Either way, the total # of employees is less than 50.

Basically, what I was told is that since there are less than 50 employees, they do not participate in the NJFLA or the FMLA.  So, then I was "offered" to use my PTO time for the times I would need to be away for Lexi's therapy or work part time or work adjusted hours.  While this all sounds good, if you think it out logistically, it isn't that great of an offer.  

Let's break it down.  I work an hour away.  So...best case scenario Lexi gets a 9 a.m. therapy time.  Her therapy is over by 10 a.m. and I can be in work by 11 a.m.  (My usual start time is 7:45 a.m.).  If I don't get in until 11 a.m., I would need to work until 7:45 p.m. in order to work a full day (with 45 minutes for dinner break).  Again, sounds ok until you break it down further.  I work in a VERY VERY bad CITY.  I shared my concerns of leaving at such a later hour, by myself, especially in winter time when it is dark.  I received a response of:  "yeah, but it's dark at 5 when we leave here in the winter".  I responded that I understand that, however at 5 in the winter, I am not leaving here alone.  That makes a big difference in a city with a lot of crime, drugs and shootings.  Plus, with Lexi needing therapy 3 days a week...UGH, I just don't know.  Even if I could work those hours, getting home at 9 p.m. just isn't fair to my kids and family.  They would both be in bed and would never see me.

Plus, remember, this above scenario is based on a best case scenario.  What do I do if Lexi gets, say, a 12 o'clock appointment time.  Then what?????

I could consider the "part-time" (32 hours a week).  I would need to keep 32 hours in order to keep my benefits but then I would have to find a 2nd job to make up the hours and money I am missing by being part time.

After discussing these options a little, I asked about working part of my hours from home.  I've done it in the past at my previous job.  I was told this wasn't an option as there is no way to monitor my work.  But isn't the same true if I were to stay late and no one was here?  I understand the reservation in letting me do so but I was hoping it would be more of a discussion and I was hoping my boss would go to bat for me in order to keep me as an employee.  She has 3 youngs boys and her sister has a daughter with autism.  I thought there would have been a little more understanding of my situation.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I understand that as a boss, she is just doing her job and that I cannot expect that they will or should work with me on any of this.  I just feel though, that if you want to keep a good quality employee (knowing you have a hard time finding employees) that they would be a little more flexible.  I took this job because they were supposedly a family environment and were flexible.  I also understand that in trying to find a new job, I will have a hard time finding flexibility.  But, if someone finds my skills and my work ethic worth it, then it should be mutually beneficial and not seem like its an imposition.

I also understand that Lexi hasn't started therapy yet and the outsiders in my life view that I shouldn't have to be there for every session.  Our sitter/nanny/best friend should be the one to take care of it all.  For those, I say, if it were your child wouldn't you want to be there for as many sessions as you can?  Part of her sessions will be about teaching us techniques to use with her as well as some will be interactive with Rory, Lexi and us parents.  There will also be sessions where Rory will be asked to leave for a while, especially in the beginning so that Lexi can acclimate to her therapists.  I'm not sure what to expect from her therapy and how much is reasonable to expect Dawn to take on.  I do understand that feasibly, I cannot be there for every single one but at the same time it isn't right or fair of me to ask Dawn to take it ALL on either.  It isn't fair to her, Rory or Lexi.  I am Lexi's mother and as her mother, I have a duty and a want to be there.

I would love to hear thoughts about what I should do.  What's reasonable to expect?  Has anyone out there been in this same position?  How do you work out therapies with your children?



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by MrsPincince, Jun 24, 2011
I completely understand your frustration..I've had to deal with an uncooperative boss. Employers usually look at what's "best for the business". I'm not surprised that your boss did not work better with you on the situation. It's tough but IMO I would take the 32hrs and see how that works out. At least you won't have the stress of not being at all of the sessions and you won't have to worry about your safety at night. I mean I understand it will be less money in your pocket but do you currently pay your sitter/nanny/best friend for watching her? If so maybe you can tweak the amount being that you'd be working less..It's a tough spot to be in but you do have to do what's best for your daughter and your family.. I understand the feeling of having to be at all of her therapy sessions. I would DEFINITELY want to be there as a parent myself. I really hope you find a solution that works all around. Just try to hang in there and really think about all options available to you...Good luck girl!

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by jb41799, Jun 24, 2011
Thanks so much!  It really helps to hear that I'm not crazy for wanting to be there for her therapy as much as I can.  I think I will lean towards the 32 hours too so long as I can work that around her therapy sessions.  Keep your fingers crossed that someone gives me a call soon.  I hate this waiting, I think that is the worst.

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by Angxo, Jun 24, 2011
I do not yet have children so I can only imagine the yearning in your heart to be there. I'm sure it is overwhelming which shows that you are an amazing mother. I have had a rough situation with an employer....I will email you about it as it is a bit private. I would also take the 32 hours. You could also look for another job immediately or a part time job, but that may also be overwhelming schedule/time wise. If you could work from home in your own time briefly just to prove yourself, make a report or a power point showing what you have accomplished at home and again ask to have the remaining FT hours at home, this may possibly convince them. I wish they would be a bit more understanding :( Good luck and keep your chin up! xo

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by specialmom, Jun 24, 2011
Hi.  You know that I have a son with a developmental delay/ sensory integration disorder.  We've been working with an occupational therapist since he was 4.  I don't know what kind of therapy your daughter is going to get.  We have our sessions broken into two parts----------  half is gym time in which they work on his nervous system and the other half is therapy for things like fine motor development, social skills, behavior modification.  I'm a stay at home mom currently, so can go to every session.  I bring my younger son.  I have to also watch my younger son-----------  so some of the time, I wait in the waiting room during his therapy!!  

I would think if you went to at least one of the the three sessions that would be good.  

Yes, ideally-------------- it would be awesome for you to go to each session and be there to observe and learn the techniques that they use.  

But you do have to consider how it will overall impact your family.  I think getting home at 9 at night in order to attend her therapy would not be a great idea.  One day a week------------ doable.  But if you work the hours of 11 to 9 on a regular basis----------- you won't be home much to use the techniques you've learned!!  

The first few weeks will be the most important to be there and maybe you can work around the schedule for a short time.  In the summer when it is light and back to your other hours by winter.  Just brain storming for you.

And you can float your resume around to places close to you in case there is a better option.  

good luck-----------  !!!!  It is hard, I know.

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by jb41799, Jun 24, 2011
Thank you Angxo and I wrote you back.  Sorry it was so short.  Was in between calls trying to write you.

Thanks specialmom!  It always helps to hear from someone who is living it too.  Even though not the same situation exactly, you still know and understand.  The beauty of Lexi's therapy is that it is provided by the state so they come to our house.  And actually, not long after writing this journal I got a call from one of the hospitals who has a therapist availabe for Developmental Interventon Monday's and Thursday's at 2:30.  Of course I jumped on it!

My boss has already left for the day but I am considering talking to her one more time again on Monday about working some hours from home.  With a 2:30 therapy time I will only be missing out on 3 hours of work.  An ever growing part of my job is making calls out to our current customers to review their coverages and try to pick up new business.  Attempting to call these people during the day just isn't working.  It would be better to call them in the evening.  Instead of driving back after her therapy (4 hours total on the road) for missing 3 hours of work, I think it would be beneficial for us all to atleast let me try to make these calls from home.  I already have the setup.

If that doesn't work, I may look at going to part-time (34 hours) and pick up a part-time job.  I'm still not sure but feeling good simply because Lexi has finally been picked up for the therapy she so very much needs.  And feeling good with the support you all show.  I found this site 4 years ago because of my thyroid and am so glad I have!

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by MrsPincince, Jun 24, 2011
That's FANTASTIC the Lexi was picked up!!!!! I'll keep my fingers crossed that your boss works with you somehow:) Good luck!

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by margypops, Jun 24, 2011
I agree with your decision jb you would be fed up not being there for her , and part time work is okay if not better .I am glad she is to get the therapy she needs.At home would be good, is the boss so inflexible ?  

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by jb41799, Jun 24, 2011
I think what it is, is that she is going off the decision our VP made several years ago regarding someone else needing to work from home and just hasn't even tried to consider my request now.  It's not the she is inflexible but I think she is afraid to approach the idea with her superiors about it.  Because otherwise she is really great to work with and for.

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by nola0805, Jun 25, 2011
As a mom I completely understand you wanting to be there for every therapy session, especially in the beginning, and if there is a way to make that happen, then you will feel better doing that.  As a professional in the field, I can reassure you that attending one therapy session a week or every other week is more than enough to see what they are doing and learn so that you can work with her on your own.  Also you have the advantage of having a wonderful care provider there who can also fill you in on any things you missed in a session.

If you can get your boss to agree to working from home, then this solves many problems.  If you go this route, I suggest providing your boss with a solution to their concerns about monitoring your work such as listing exactly what you will be doing and a way that they can check it - I think providing solutions is the best way to change a boss's mind - at least this has worked for me.  If not, then you may want to consider attending fewer therapy sessions and this way you have less hours to make up at work. You can then see how this goes and if it is not working for your family, then you can look for another job in the meantime or another part time job and move to part-time.  I think a lot of this also depends on your family's financial situation and now much stress you might add to yourself trying to juggle two jobs or moving to part-time.  Things are never easy are they?  The great news is that therapy will be starting and that Lexi will be getting the help she needs.

And to answer your other question - I see kids move off the spectrum every day!!  They may have never really been on the spectrum in the first place (these diagnoses can be hard to make and it is far from a perfect science) and sometimes the symptoms are mild enough that intensive intervention makes a huge difference.  

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by jb41799, Jun 29, 2011
Thanks nola!  I approached the situation one more time with my boss now that I have a time and day.  I explained to her that based on the project she is handing over to me completely (we had split) and their desire to have these customers called in the evening if possible, it would be a win win on both our ends.  The 2 days a week I go home for Lexi's therapy, once that is done, I can start calling customers.  I can log my calls into our system and provide them with a phone bill if necessary as well to track my work.  She said she would approach it with her boss so I'm just waiting for an answer now.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

And thank you for the reassurance.  I'm impressed with Lexi's progress everyday and everyone is hopeful she will move off the spectrum in a short period of time.  At the same time, I don't want to fool myself.  I'm keeping an open mind both ways.

It did make my face light up to hear her try to say her sister's name, Rory, over and over again just the other day.  She was able to get both r's in there, kept repeating it very slowly so that she could get it out correctly.

Well all, keep your fingers crossed that they approve my working from home, 6 hours a week and I'll post soon about Lexi's first therapy session.  Thank you all for your support!!!

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by margypops, Jun 29, 2011
Well today is the day Lexi starts therapy..am keeping fingers crossed it goes well aww I can imagine how it felt to hear her speak out her sister's name ..I am sure she is going to make great strides forward from now on ...good luck

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by ANewLife4Me, Jun 29, 2011
Fingers crossed!!!!!!!

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