{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "My work partner has a toddler and frequently misses meetings or goes on mute due to kid-related things. They also have to disappear around 6pm for a few hours bc of kid. Even if/when they can chat later in the evening, they’re usually pretty checked out or I just don’t feel like brainstorming at 10pm. Long story short, I feel like I’m picking up a lot of the slack due to their inability to be around, but I also feel bad because obviously parenting is hard. Can anyone relate?", "post_id": "602d51deb8cbe000218c382d", "reply_count": 121, "vote_count": 12, "bowl_id": "5565cfca8b2b9a03009acf57", "bowl_name": "Advertising", "feed_type": "crowd" }

My work partner has a toddler and frequently misses meetings or goes on mute due to kid-related things. They also have to disappear around 6pm for a few hours bc of kid. Even if/when they can chat later in the evening, they’re usually pretty checked out or I just don’t feel like brainstorming at 10pm. Long story short, I feel like I’m picking up a lot of the slack due to their inability to be around, but I also feel bad because obviously parenting is hard. Can anyone relate?

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Agree with all re: being understanding and flexible. But flexibility by definition does allow for limits. If it’s constantly creating issues for you and the team to get work done / the person in question is unable to get what they need to done then a discussion is necessary - first with them and if it can’t improve with higher ups.

Having said that, unless you have a special work schedule or I am missing something, it’s not generally acceptable to fault anyone for stopping work at 5 or 6 if they did what they needed to do that day / worked what they had agreed to work in terms of hours. Forgetting these special times, our industry is terrible about normalizing work outside of the standard 9-5pm (8hrs) work day. Granted a lot can adjust schedules and shifts to meet their needs and we have our fair share of extra efforts outside of these times when there are important deadlines or new business, but this pandemic is a reminder of what matters most and establishing better work boundaries to be respectful of our own time. So if your team “needs” to work past 6pm regularly, then I suggest not focusing on the parent who isn’t able to but instead on the team/work/etc and fixing that first.


CD7, my partner isn’t handling those duties responsibly is the point. Debriefs, client calls, and internal creative reviews are being missed across three projects. And we don’t have lots of teams. One dedicated junior team, 50% of another junior team. Many revisions made every step of the way. We have to do lots of the work. I’d be totally fine if every morning and every night the deck for Project 1 looked polished and team A on Project 2 was totally clear on what needed to be done for Friday. But my partner is checked out half of the time. Not just actual missed meetings but when they’re actually present, they’re often not present. So from your POV, I’m the one working inefficiently because I have to spend an extra half an hour a day reminding my partner what needs to get done and explaining again why a certain idea died and explaining again what the media buy is, and then hopping on the phone with one of our junior teams and realizing that they weren’t given proper direction from my partner so I have to do it even though my partner and I are supposed to be dividing and conquering.

I’ve done triple dipping. And I double dipped for months at a time as a freelancer. Triple dipping is harder than my current situation. Double dipping is probably easier than my current situation. But at least in both double triple dipping and double dipping cases I had a partner who was always there. If my workload was this crazy but my partner was present and available, it would be less painful.


Reading through all these comments reminds me of a post someone made a few months back on how Fishbowl reminds them of how terrible the people in our industry can be. I feel that way in this thread.

SVP1 nailed it, and in reading OP's responses I think my flag here is: you don't sound like you're taking ownership of what IS in your control. Have a frank convo with your work partner, and get some plan together to make things work.

Stop waiting around for your agency/leads/whatever to swoop in and solve your problems. You're a CD for goodness sakes - act like it. Take charge and fix it. I'm quite amazed at how many Director+ people on here are posting responses that don't involve accountability or initiating dialogues.

The reason agencies have a rep for a shitty culture is exactly this scenario: people projecting issues on others, not stepping up to own a solution, and complaining about it.

Maybe I'm just at the end of a really long day - but this post and it's myriad of replies is just fucking exhausting.

Secondly: people managing families during lockdowns and whatnot are not coasting or freeloading. All this talk about your partner riding on your coattails is horse-shit (statistically speaking, obv. there'll be exceptions). Partnership isn't about spreading the load evenly every day. **That is a child's understanding of work management** Partnership is about working together and, sometimes, helping each other out.

Seriously OP - just have an honest conversation with a genuine intent to find a mutually beneficial outcome. Anything less is petty nonsense.

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I totally get the frustration but I also think we need to stop normalizing this expectation of this job being all consuming.


Yes. It’s just advertising.


Let’s look at the root of the real problem here. You feel this way because your agency has worked you to the brink of exhaustion and you’re taking the blame for it. Talk to your leadership about not taking on more than 2-3 projects at a time. Understand that when you’re stretched thin, you’re useless and the work suffers (regardless of having a partner or not). And don’t be afraid to say no when you’re asked to take on more projects. Life is more important. Having a toddler is more important. Work-life balance is a real thing and the sooner you have time to enjoy yourself, the better your ideas will be.


At the end of the day if you don’t have kids you’ll never understanding what your partner is going through. It might be best to request working with someone else.


Sorry to be the dick but you are picking up their slack and most likely have every right to be pissed especially if the are paid the same amount or more than you. Reality is it is impossible to balance an even work/life balance where the work or the life doesn’t suffer. The people who end up affected the most are the innocent who ended up with a selfish person they are stuck with. That is correct I said selfish because parents who have kids without a strong support structure and choose to focus on work short change the kid. Those who choose to have a kid while maintaining a high demand job and focus more on the kid end up screwing over the company and their work fam. It should be one or the other. Having kids is a choice that requires true sacrifices to be made. Those who try to mitigate them rather than accept them hurt others in the process. Yes, I do have kids. I chose to be in advertising so that I could provide a good life for them in a career that wouldn’t drive me crazy from boredom. I sacrificed birthdays, vacations and other cushy moments to give them a very comfortable happy life. Yes my wife was pretty much a single parent for a decade. I then chose to sacrifice my career somewhat by switching to digital so I wasn’t on production 9 months out of the year. Turned out to be a good decision considering where the business went. We need less super parents and more workers who have kids or parents who have a job not a career. FYI I stayed at home with my oldest until he was three. So I do know and understand the life of a stay at home parent.


I’m picturing Pepper Brooks from Dodgeball, minus the fame.


My partner is at home with his two kid toddlers, trying to keep up with the work and keep his little ones happy while homeschooling. You can tell he's struggling. His wife is a nurse so she's working even longer hours, but he gets time to focus when she gets home.

I've been spending this time trying to find ways to make it work for both of us as a team to help as much as possible. The best thing was to work on his schedule. If he can't be online I'll take my breaks then or keep pushing.

This isn't a regular my partner is slacking story, he's doing more than me someone without kids will even realise rn. This won't be forever.


Have a toddler. My mantra is “this won’t be forever.”


I have a toddler. I think the more understanding you are, the better. It’s hard. And between a job and a kid, the job is less important. See if you can talk to the person for any other ways you could help that might be a bit more suitable to you? If it just doesn’t work for you, that’s another thing. Maybe you just need to go out on your own?

Just a few ideas.


No it’s a covid issue. The whole works is having This problem .


Thank you, everyone for the posts, most of which have been encouraging. Just want to make it clear that I get that parenting is super difficult. My work partner is having a tough go at this with the pandemic. Just wanted to vent because some weeks have been absolutely brutal trying to manage what feels like an impossible workload. Ultimately I have to do what most everyone has to do: find a way to make it work while staying sane or figure out a viable exit strategy. Regardless, thanks again.


You know, you two should plan some walks together.. you live near to each other? The stroller is a great containment device for the small human and walking is great to get the blood flowing and the ideas rolling.

What are the expectations of the job? Leaving at 6pm to tend to a toddler seems pretty reasonable to me if you’re starting work at 8 or 9. My advice: don’t pick up the slack if you feel resentment about it.


They said that their partner is checked out of meetings and everything. Maybe if we all re-read what was originally posted we’d be able to understand the stress they’re under when it’s beyond someone just going offline at 6p, which I agree is reasonable. But being checked out all day, every day because you’ve decided your partner can pick up the slack is unacceptable this far in the pandemic. At this point everyone is mentally destroyed from all the extra that’s been needed to carry our accounts and responsibilities at home and work.


Trust me when I say your partner wishes they could focus more on work as well. I have two kids, and honestly can’t imagine how difficult it must be for those with little ones.


I “disappear” around 6pm until the next day because I don’t get paid overtime. And I don’t have a toddler. 🤷‍♂️


It’s a partnership, work together, be understanding.


As much stress as you’re feeling, your partner is probably feeling it threes times worse. Not only are they under the same deadlines as you, they’re aware that they’re missing meetings and deadlines and they’re trying their hardest to parent - which is an impossible thankless task. It’s understandable that you’re frustrated but keep in mind the unrealistic deadlines, difficulties of working remotely and decisions made by your agency (decisions they made in order to keep the doors open) are as much to blame as your parent having a toddler. Sounds like many of these answers helped. We’re all in tough times and we’ll get enough this!


I love reading all these understanding comments. I have a toddler and feel like I'm constantly being pulled apart, in two opposing directions. I can't speak for your partner, but I try to give it my all, every day, as a good worker and as a dad. Some days are better than others, but the exhaustion is real. These are incredibly trying times, but as others have pointed out, normal will soon return. Until then, let's please be patient and understanding with each other's unique and challenging situations.


I got 3 kids and even before Corona I was on the cusp of losing my mind. Imagine the worst client in the world. Now imagine that they have zero control over their mood. And that if they’re hungry it’s your fault. Now imagine they have a grand total of 50 words in their vocabulary. Half of them being different ways of saying poop. Imagine also that they require your assistance to go to the toilet. And that they never ever leave your side, apart from sleep; always there, lurking. If you can imagine this, then you are at the edge of understanding. Now fold in lack of sleep, pressure of work and worry of Corona, and you’ll start to be swimming in the murky waters your partner inhabits. All I can say is know that your partner is fighting a war. But there is no winner. It’s a war of survival.


I don’t think people without kids at home understand how difficult the past year/this year has been. By far the hardest, toughest thing I’ve ever done. Maybe find a way to divvy up the work and responsibilities in a way that doesn’t require so much zoom. And perhaps agree in advance un-missable meetings like a client presentation.

It shall pass but it still sucks, and will keep sucking until it’s safe again to fully reopen childcare centers and schools.


Have you asked her if she’s ok?
Maybe she feels the same way you do and it’s something you can solve as a team so it’s working for everyone.
Trust me when I say, we feel guilty for dropping balls everywhere so have a bit of empathy... right now moms feel like we fail at work, with our kids, our partners, ourselves. It’s freaking awful.

(And if she’s a single mom it’s even worse).


How much do you care about your partner? How much do you care about your job? In reality, the toddler situation is a year, at worst, of interruptions. Your partner is multiple years. The dividends of being a good, supportive partner pay out bigger than being a good holding company peon.

Also. Kids (anyone’s kids) vs. advertising. Sorry, but it’s just fucking advertising.


The problem is not your partner, it's your workload.


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