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Mum sparks debate after asking child-free colleague to work her Christmas Day shift

Jess Hardiman

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| Last updated 

Mum sparks debate after asking child-free colleague to work her Christmas Day shift

Featured Image Credit: Jacek Makowicz / Oleg Elkov / Alamy Stock Photo

A mum has sparked a debate online after revealing she asked her child-free colleague to work her Christmas Day shift, saying she felt she had ‘no choice’.

The topic was brought up in the ‘Am I Being Unreasonable’ forum on Mumsnet, where the mum admitted she felt ‘terrible’ asking her co-worker to work Christmas.

She explained how she is a single parent and would struggle to find childcare on 25 December, when nurseries and schools tend to be shut, whereas the other staff member has no children.

Normally, their work would allow them to both have the day off, but said that they needed one of them to step up this year and called on the pair to arrange things between themselves.

For many people, Christmas is just a normal working day. Credit: Penchan Pumila/Alamy Stock Photo
For many people, Christmas is just a normal working day. Credit: Penchan Pumila/Alamy Stock Photo

She wrote: "Ok I feel terrible about this but me and my colleague who I get on with quite well normally have both requested Christmas day off but our manager has said that only one of us can have it off and that we need to sort it out.

"I have asked her to withdraw her request as she and her husband who have no kids normally go to her husband's parents on Christmas day but they also go every week so it's not like they never see them whereas I, on the other hand, have a four-year-old Autistic son.

"He normally goes to nursery but his nursery closes 1 week before Christmas and doesn't open until next year the shift in question is a three hour shift between 7 and 10 in the morning so she and her husband could still be at his parents for lunchtime whereas because I am a single mama and the nurseries are closed I have no one to watch my son.”

The mum added: "Yes I could pay someone but it would be extremely expensive and he would most likely be very distressed with having someone he is unfamiliar with in his home, plus it would be difficult for the said person as my son is non-verbal.

"I do feel bad asking her to do this but if she won't then I am going to have no choice but to leave my job."

The mum said she would struggle to find childcare. Credit: Tony Tallec/Alamy Stock Photo
The mum said she would struggle to find childcare. Credit: Tony Tallec/Alamy Stock Photo

The response to the post was divided, with many other parents saying they could 'sympathise' with her position, while some felt she was being 'close minded'.

One commented sarcastically: "Oh yeah I forgot! If you don’t have children then Christmas and family means absolutely nothing to you!"

Someone else agreed: "Whoever requested it off first should have it. You can’t just say people with children have a right to Christmas over people without. It’s not her fault you have childcare issues, sorry. You can ask her nicely but she’s not bound to agree."

Another added diplomatically: "I think it is okay to ask because you are in a very difficult situation, however it is not ok to minimise her Christmas just because she has no child."

One mum said she could see the other woman's situation 'seems more in need of the time off', but said she was 'very wrong' to dismiss the colleague's request just because they didn't have kids.

"How closed minded are you, her family are just as important, Christmas isn’t just for children," the user said.

"If she works this year then you need to do next year or new year etc. I’m future you perhaps need to make alternate arrangements well in advance of have a back up. You can’t assume you’ll have Christmas off every year forever."

One person rightfully pointed out that the issue should be directed at their workplace: "Your manager really needs to deal with this - both of your requests ought to be put in and they should consider each, lazy management to ask you to decide amongst yourselves. As you have a dependent can you take this as dependents leave? I guess your colleague won't have the same reason for wanting it off..."

Topics: Life, Christmas, Parenting

Jess Hardiman
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