I’m a mother of three young children. I work full time, as does my husband alongside part-time farming.
Prior to the pandemic my job was completely office based. While my husband has still been going out to his workplace, I’ve been working from home since March 2020.
I’m supposed to be going back to the office from next month and to be honest Miriam, I’m dreading it.
So much so, that I’m actually considering quitting my job. The only thing is, it would put a lot of pressure on our finances, so not working really isn’t an option.
I will be racing home to get a glimpse of my younger children before they go to bed
We’ve been told that we’re going back into the office five days a week from the end of October. My commute is roughly an hour each way – that will mean losing nearly two hours out of my day.
On a practical, family level, that means I will be racing home to get a glimpse of my younger children before they go to bed.
I could look for a new job, but it would take some time to find one
The idea of going back to this life makes me feel sick and I really don’t feel like I’m up to it. Being unemployed isn’t an option. I could look for a new job, but it would take some time to find one.
I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place.
What do you think I should do, Miriam?
Dear Confused Commuter,
Thank you very much for your letter. I’m sure there are many parents (and indeed non-parents) mourning the loss of their working-from-home life.
I know it may seem obvious, but you haven’t mentioned it in your letter, I think the very first thing you need to do is sit down and have a honest and frank conversation with your line manager.
Tell them that having extra time with your children due to working from home has improved your quality of life dramatically
Explain to them the difference working at home has made to your life. Tell them that having extra time with your children due to working from home has improved your quality of life dramatically and that this in turn has made you happier and more productive in work.
All you can do is explain your side of things. Hopefully your employer will see the benefit of this and allow you to work from home or put a hybrid working agreement in place, where you do some days in the office and some days at home.
Having done some research into the rules around this, at present it is still quite a grey area. And really, at the moment all you can do is work things out yourself with your employer.
That is your first port of call. If that doesn’t work out, hang in there while looking for a more flexible role. Something will come up. Many employers are now seeing the benefit of allowing their employees more flexibility with regard to working from home.
Either you will work out an arrangement with your current employer or something will come up somewhere else in time. But remember, a dumb priest never got a parish, so make sure you ask for what you want.
Wishing you all the best,
The letter in the edition of Irish Country Living dated 9 September, about the young lad not taking the Leaving Cert seriously, is a reflection of myself. I am a dairy farmer and on my next birthday, I will be 72.
When I was going to secondary school I had no interest in the books. I was the second-eldest of five. The other four were all university educated. I didn’t know it at the time, but my mother was always very worried what would become of me.
I had no farming experience. My grandfather was a dairy farmer, his advice was always to milk cows.
At 24, I met the right girl who loved cows and I inherited a farm. After we got married, I gave up the job, started dairying and the rest is history.
My sister said: “Ma was always worried about you, what would become of you, and the way things turned out you turned out to be the happiest one of the whole lot of us.”