parenting babble

Every Day Should Be “Bring Your Baby to Work Day”

After four years of working from home as a freelance writer, I recently started working full-time in the social media department of a big company. This pleases me. In addition to the insurance, I’m saving about a grand a month on health care-related expenses, so while it’s difficult to not be with my kids all day, every day … it was impossible to pass up this gig. The constant struggle of needing to work to support your kids, but having that same job keeping you from your kids? It’s the irony-laced ugly underbelly that is the American dream, I suppose. And while it’s the same for most working parents, there are still so few resources for us to manage the juggling. My kids are 5, 3, and 4 months old and, while I understand why my older two can’t come to work with me on a daily basis, I have a harder time understanding why new parents (especially nursing moms) can’t bring their babies to work with them. If corporations want to keep turnover down and invest in loyal employees, why not enable us to pursue careers in the company without having to sacrifice our very important roles as parents? We know how to leave the room if the baby causes a problem. But having your newborn sleeping in the corner of your office while you get your work done — that shouldn’t be a problem. Giving your baby a bottle during a meeting isn’t more distracting than Claudia from human resources slurping down her coffee. Or Rich from accounting who clips his fingernails with his keychain clippers during morning meetings. Thankfully for some lucky employees, one CEO is way ahead of the game as far as family-friendly policies are concerned. As Gwen Moran writes on Fast Company, an Oregon-based software company has declared that every day is “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.” CEO and mom of three boys ages 10, 7, and 4, Sabrina Parsons, has enacted some uber family-friendly policies and says taking care of babies shouldn’t derail anyone’s career.  As Moran reports, “Parsons says that the juggling work and parenting is tough for all parents, but the physical and societal demands placed on women hold particular challenges. From getting pregnant and giving birth to the disparity in many caregiving situations, she says parenting puts women’s careers at risk more than men’s.”
Parsons tells Fast Company, “You’re in the prime of your career with all of this experience, when you get mommy-tracked. They get ‘concerned’ that you can’t do your job. That’s a huge reason why we’re not seeing women in leadership roles across Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies and in politics.”
So, Parsons, who also blogs about her challenges at her popular blog, Mommy CEO, is leading the charge when it comes to family-friendly policies. As a matter of fact, Parsons led by example, wearing each of her babies on a sling around her neck while at work until they were four months old. How about them apples? But if trouble comes up with childcare or your kids have a week off from school, the company policies offer many options (with some limits). The days of parents having to choose between staying at home or leaving their babies behind should be a thing of the past. Employers should welcome women and men who are driven enough to want to work but also value being with their families and trust that we know how to deal with our children being in our workplace. Just like in any other instance in life, if the kid becomes a problem, the parent removes him from the environment and handles it. Parsons says some think they’re great and others think children in the workplace is an absurd concept.  Parsons’ company has very little turnover and one-third of her development team is women versus Silicon Valley’s average of 7%. Why is it unprofessional? We need to find a way to make work and family work for everyone.”

Image source: Monica Bielanko

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