check out this article
it's an issue that doesn't really affect me at work, but i think it probably will someday. and it recently affected my life outside work.
the comments at the bottom are interesting:
Posted by WAYNE
October 11, 2007
Abusing the child-as-excuse flexibility is awful -- it obviously shouldn't be done -- but as today's families increasingly have two working parents, there's not the same safety net of the stay-at-home mom that most of you here probably had as kids.
One hint for you singles: take up a charity. If you honestly work for the charity even HALF as much as the time raising a child takes, you'll have more than enough excuses why you can't "cover" for your colleagues with kids.
Posted by Em
October 11, 2007
I shouldn't need an "excuse" as to why I can't cover for my colleagues with kids. My time is my own and nobody, not my boss and not my co-workers, gets to decide that somebody else's personal time takes precedence over mine just because they have children. As a single person at work, I have been told that I'm expected to work harder and longer hours because I don't have other obligations (ie spouse and kids). I take offense to the idea that I repeatedly have to justify wanting to maintain a work-life balance just because I don't have kids, while those with children don't appear to be questioned.
Maybe I'm saving the world. Maybe I'm sitting on the couch. Maybe I'm dealing with family or personal issues that I don't want to share at work. The point is that it's MY life and just because I don't have kids doesn't mean I have to spend that life at work.
emily rocks. in short, whatever i'm doing in my single life, whatever plans i have made, are just as important to me as your obligations to family and kids are to you.