Don’t Expect Me To Work Late Just Because I’m Single And Childless

by Yvonne Chase on February 24, 2014

Way Underneath My Skin
I had a conversation on Twitter recently with one of my followers that got way underneath my skin.  Here’s how it all went down:

Him: The best women to go on dates with are Single Mothers who need a BREAK! TRUST ME FELLAS…TRUST ME!

Me: Really? Explain please..

Him: Sometimes women w/out kids have more PLAY TIME & SUITORS! You just may be one of her MANY FELLAS.  Single Mothers only have time for REAL MEN (Side note: what is a real man? I hate that term.  What does it mean? A real man…aren’t we all real?) Back to the story

Me: That’s like saying women without kids can work late because women with kids have responsibilities. Hog wash!

Him: But who do supervisors ask to work late though? Is it really all hogwash?

Me: It is in my book. That sounds like a personal problem to me. So I get penalized? Hog wash!

Him: Why is that a penalty towards you to work more? So if the tables were turned and you had the kid and had to stay late and the single lady would have to go home, how would that make you feel?

Me: It’s a penalty because it’s based on the fact that I’m not a mom and I’m single as if I don’t have things to do outside of work.  Whether I have a kid or not should have nothing to do with it.  Like I don’t feel sorry for you because you’re a single mom.

Him: But it’s not even about feeling sorry for her though Ms Yvonne, it’s the principal to the whole matter.  It’s about the kids.

Me: Not for me it ain’t. I’m not staying late because I’m single and childless. I have things to do just like the single mom.  Her time is not more valuable than mine just because she has a kid.

You Can Work Late
Does that sound as crazy to you as it does to me? A few years ago, I was at work and we were about to embark on a major project.  My immediate supervisors boss said to me, “Monique is a single mom and her baby daddy lives 3,000 miles away.  He doesn’t really help out and their relationship is messy.  Her hands are full with her ten year old son so she can’t work late.  You’re single and childless.  You can work late!”

Not My Problem
If I could’ve given her a good chunk of my mind without losing my job, I would have.  First of all, her messy relationship, loser baby daddy and single motherhood are not my problem.  She was completely out of line for sharing that with me then expecting me to work late because of it.  I will work late when I see a need.  I will not be burning the midnight oil just because I’m single and you think I have no life.

I Matter!
While she has to run home to take care of her kid, I have to run home to take care of me.  I matter! My life matters! I have to workout, shower, stop at the grocery store or pick up take out, check on my parents, maybe go on a date or not, pick up dry cleaning, wash a load of clothes then get myself ready for the next day.  Maybe I want to run home and zone out on reality TV after a hard days work.  Maybe I want to go home and do absolutely nothing! All of that matters just as much as her running home to fix dinner, do homework, give her son a bath and put him to bed then get herself ready for the next day.

Workplace Discrimination
Marie Claire magazine tackled this topic in an article titled The Single Girl’s Second Shift.  The article cites an August 2011 survey by the Center for Talent Innovation which found that 61 percent of women ages 33 to 47 without kids believe that their parent colleagues receive more flexibility at work.  It’s the newest form of workplace discrimination: single women who carry an undue burden at the office, batting cleanup for their married-with-kids coworkers.” I’ve seen married women use their kids and husband as an excuse to leave work early or come in late.  Not cool!

Pisses Me Off
The notion that I don’t have responsibilities or a life because I don’t have a kid or husband pisses me off.  Are you kidding me? A single woman’s life matters just as much as a single mother, a married woman and any other woman.  Our lives matter in spite of our relationship status.  We are not our relationship status and neither are you.

Something to think about…

What say you? Should a woman’s relationship status factor in to whether she works late or not? Have you ever been expected to work late because you’re single and childless? Do you think mothers get more leniency at work? Should mothers get more leniency at work? Should single women expect to work late and be okay with it?

Here are two things I’d like you to do now:

1.  Leave a comment below

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Teedra Lewis February 24, 2014

Work is about work! A woman’s relationship status and whether she’s a mother/wife should have nothing to do with it period! When I was single, I worked late when there was a need. The same holds true now that I’m married.

Your boss really had no business sharing the details of another co-workers life. Its none of your business and it has nothing to do with you. Shame on her!

Yvonne Chase February 25, 2014

Exactly Teedra. Work is about work. Most career books tell you to keep your personal life out of the office. My boss was so wrong for sharing those details. It made me understand why my immediate boss was always so frazzled and never knew whether she was coming or going. Perhaps she needed to find a job better suited to her single motherhood.

Speterjr February 25, 2014

I used to work a job where I, as a single man, and the single women in my department were expected to work long hours, sometimes 7 days a week, while the two mothers in our department did a half day 5 days a week no matter what. It is understandable that mothers have to take care of their kids – we were all kids once – but it is wrong to assume that just because one has no spouse or kids that one has nothing important to do outside of work. Yvonne ‘ s supervisor should have at least had the courtesy to ask her if she could fill in for the single mother. Her baby daddy drama is not an appropriate subject for work.

As for dating single mothers, that’s a silly reason to choose one. They may not have time to date a lot of men, but they will barely have time for this one man also. Not to mention there’s a kid in the equation, so dating a single mother in many cases means dating the kid also. Is this guy ready to deal with all that comes with dating a single mother? He sounds irresponsible and desperate, so I would guess not.

Yvonne Chase February 25, 2014

I love it when men chime in. The male perspective is mui importante!

You’re right, we were all kids once – but it is wrong to assume that just because one has no spouse or kids that one has nothing important to do outside of work. While I understand mothers have to take care of their kids, I also have to take care of me.

About that guy, he’s a single father who sounds quite desperate to be liked. I get the feeling he wants women to have a soft spot for him just because he cares about their plight of single motherhood. I’m not interested nor do I have a soft spot for that sort of irresponsible conversation. Its ridiculous and a turn off to me.

Bonnie @ Love, Marriage and Sex February 25, 2014

I can see different aspects to this, as a married woman with two children under 3. Personally, I don’t think that anyone should be overworked, childless or not. I have the work to live attitude, not live to work. That being said, in some, very limited situations, I think that personal lives should be considered. For example we had a massive snow here in the South recently. I work at a place where closing is not an option, so we had to be open. I live 1.5 hours away. The suggestion of the supervisor was to have one nurse and one counselor sleep in the clinic to assure we were able to open. My husband works late and I am the only one who can pick up the kids from day care, so I had to go home. That left me having to drive in solid ice (in my Prius, no less) the next morning. The solution was to have the people who worked closer come in early and I came in a little late to give me time to drive safely. That weekend, a counselor agreed to work both weekend days because he does not have young kids and said “If it were my wife, I’d want someone to do it for me.” Of course, he volunteered and was not forced to do so.

I rarely use my family as a reason to get out of working certain hours, but sometimes (rarely) I feel like it needs consideration! The same way someone with a chronic illness may need certain considerations at times. Or any other personal reasons.

Yvonne Chase February 25, 2014

Personal reasons are personal. The example you gave is completely different. Even in your case, the fact that your husband works late and you are the only one who can pick up the kids has nothing to do with your co-workers. That’s what babysitters, friends, neighbors and other family members are for. I’m sure a quick phone call could’ve possibly found someone you trust to pick up your kids and make sure they’re safe.

Everyone needs an extension of grace from time to time however, to say that I can work late because I’m single and you’re married with kids is completely unacceptable to me. That’s not grace. That’s discrimination. How about considering me as a human being and asking me if I can work late instead of assuming I can?

Consideration works for married people with families and it also works for single women with lives outside of work. I can volunteer my time. You can’t especially when you’re doing so based on my relationship status.

Savvy Working Gal March 1, 2014

This has caused problems in my office. Yes, the employees who have kids get more flexibility. They are also more likely to leave early to pick up a sick kid requiring others to finish their work. There are also numerous studies that say employees who have kids are the first to be passed over for promotion. This is why.

Yvonne Chase March 1, 2014

I guess you ought to passed over for a promotion if your work isn’t up to standard especially those parents who use their kids as a reason to get out of work.

I worked with a woman who constantly had to leave work early because of her kids. I remember our boss who is married with kids and an Executive Vice President saying to me one day, “I’m glad you don’t have kids. I’m SO tired of hearing about her kids. When is she going to shut up about them? My kids get sick too and no one here knows about it!” I was tired of hearing about her kids too.

Avil Beckford March 1, 2014


Thanks for saying what most single, childless women are thinking, but do not have the courage to say! Avil

Yvonne Chase March 1, 2014


You are welcome and my pleasure!

Jen March 1, 2014

This doesn’t even need to be about kids, think about people with elderly parents. Work-life balance is important for everyone. Do I think it’s a whole heck of a lot easier for someone without another person depending on them to budget a few extra unexpected hours into their day -yes. Do I think it should be assumed – no.

I’ve done both. I’ve worked both with kids and without kids. I’ve been asked to stay late in both scenarios. Having someone else depend on you for life made these scenarios completely different…at least for me. It’s no longer just about me.

So I agree with you – it should never be assumed those without dependents are “available”…. but I also think it’s much easier for someone without dependents to keep that flexibility that’s often required to execute on last-minute changes to the schedule.

Yvonne Chase March 1, 2014

“Work-life balance is important for everyone.” AMEN!

Mel @ brokeGIRLrich March 1, 2014

I agree that you shouldn’t have to do the “second shift” all the time because you’re single and other co-workers aren’t. And it’s definitely discrimination if they’re more lenient with her than you, but there’s also a chance that they would be that lenient with you if similar issues arose (needing to come in a little later or leave a little earlier sometimes), they just don’t in a single persons life.

Yvonne Chase March 20, 2014


We all have lives whether single or married. Singling out a married person and making their life and circumstances more important than a single persons is unacceptable.

I remember a time back in the day when I had to come in late and leave early quite a bit because of an unfortunate circumstance. My boss threatened to fire me meanwhile the married receptionist was always coming in late and leaving early because of her husband or kid. I don’t want to hear it!

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