by Elizabeth Horn
Being a parent means not all of your workplace phone calls are business related.
For some people, getting a call from your kids is an issue while you're at work, for others, it's not a big deal.
However, I venture to say most every parent at one time or another has been at least conscious of how they're speaking on the calls from home during the work day.
In my own situation, it's not a problem if I get calls from home, though I do try to keep them at a minimum. I've got nothing to hide, but I make somewhat of an effort not to advertise it when I'm talking to the kids.
I just don't want to be "that person" who's always on the phone with someone at home and I'm sure people within earshot of me really don't want to hear it.
Heck, sometimes I don't want to hear me, either.
However, my efforts to remain business-like with my kids don't always translate well, and not every conversation lends itself to non-specific one word answers.
But, then again, not letting on that fighting children have called me while I'm at work has it's advantages.
Me: "Hello? This is Elizabeth."
Kid: "Moooooommmm...he just (insert offense here). Tell him to quit!"
Me: "I see, and when did this occur?"
"Kid: Just now, why does that matter?"
Me: "I believe we discussed this conflict yesterday. I'm wondering why it wasn't resolved then."
Other kid: (In background) "She started it!"
Kid: "I. DID. NOT!"
Me: "Can this situation be handled by someone else on site?"
Kid: "What 'site'? What are you talking about? Oh. Dad is working outside or something."
Me: "OK then, may I speak to the other party, please?"
Kid: "What? Oh, JOHNNNNN, Mom wants to talk to you and boy, is she mad!"
Me: "Hello, can you please describe the problem?"
Other kid: "She is SUCH a tattle tale, I didn't do it!!"
Me: "What's the nature of the problem?"
Other kid: "What?! Huh? Nothing. I gotta go watch Spongebob now, I'm giving the phone back to her."
Kid: "He is is such a liar. He (insert offense with much more emphasis than before)."
Me: "OK, then we'll have to discuss it the next time we meet."
Kid: "'Meet'? Huh?"
Me: "Is there anything else I can help you with?"
Kid: "You are so weird. I'm hanging up now."
Me: "Is there still a difficulty?"
Kid: "No, what-ever."
Me: "OK, then, thank you for calling."
Smugly satisfied with my abilities to balance work and home, I resume my work tasks at hand.
Co-worker: "Kids fighting again?"
Me: "Um, the caller did have a situation, but it was resolved."
Co-worker: "I could hear them all the way over here."
Me: "OK, they're about to kill each other."