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Would you want to work with a baby in the next cubicle?

By April 28, 2008 - 9:02pm
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I read an article in The Arizona Republic about how there's a rise in companies that allow moms to bring their babies to work. The article includes a photo of a mom working in her cubicle with her baby in a tiny crib next to her. Maternity programs like this are touted as keeping employees who have babies much happier and emotionally/mentally healthier.

From the perspective of a mom, it sounds great, but as an employee in the cubicle next door, I'm wondering if a baby would be disruptive and have a negative mental health effect.

What do you think? Would you want to have babies at your work?

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HERWriter Guide

Some job environments are great for kids - say working on a farm (but watch the machinery) or working in a daycare - you can care for your own kids!

But an office? No. Not only because it's not fair to your co-workers but also because it's unfair to the children. The workplace is an adult environment and we cannot expect our children to live up to the expectations of the corporate world. Heck, sometimes the adults don't live up to it.

I like the thought of on-site care. The internet company Google provides that, I believe.

April 30, 2008 - 12:34pm
EmpowHER Guest

I saw that story--with the kid in the crib next to the desk. I don't like it when the little ones start the screaming in IHOP! That high-pitched shriek they love to emit. I can see a daycare center in the workplace--but not next to the desk. Ridiculous! I started working at home 26 yrs ago when my kid was born and she still went in all-day daycare when she was two. You have to be able to concentrate.

April 30, 2008 - 8:30am
EmpowHER Guest

Good call on the prison piece!

I really have not found Mom and business woman to be difficult overall, but rewarding just like you say. My greatest struggle came when I was confronted by a friend when I was pregnant. Not having children herself and being my 10 year hiking buddy, she really grilled me about what I would choose after coaching families to their own goal lines. Would this child have a higher priority than my career or would she be in daycare while I did my thing? Trust me she wasn't gentle with me. Although I was challenged, I thank her today for what she did. Kind of like the auto mechanic with the car that is always broke down, I was just humming along before this last child, mostly selfish in my motives and I didn't even consider it. But she did. I never would have thought to strategize the way I do now without her help. The wounds of a "true" friend are faithful. So being intentional in my actions has freed me of alot of the struggle that is common to the parenting/professional "juggle". I have chosen to adapt to each one of her growth stages during these formative years especially.

When I have a meeting I almost always balance it by giving her time for something she'll enjoy afterward. The thing I notice alot is how groups of children are herded through museums, acquariums and other activities whether they are inspired by a particular exhibit or not. There is no room for them to go deeper in their observations because the group is the focus and not the child. So my daughter has stared at something of interest to her for over 30 minutes and come away with questions that last for days afterwards, even making some of the most curious analogies from her own observation of creation as she encounters it. It is a contrast that I had being in the herb as a child and feeling frustrated that I either couldn't see what the ones in front could, or that there was no one interested in answering my questions once I finally got a turn to look. So for the time being I choose to keep her social encounters just that. Social only. Again this is based on the child that I've been blessed with. I see the balance that her special needs require and respond accordingly. My husband says I am heeled through loving them my way. I believe he's on to something cause I'm feeling more fulfilled in my ultimate purpose in life than ever before. I pray the same is true for you too Kristin. Take care. :)

There's a fearless parent in all of us. Seen yours lately?

Adelaide Zindler, FP (Fearless Parent)

April 30, 2008 - 5:26am
EmpowHER Guest

Adelaide, I love your running to the potty story! That's truly classic.

I've had similar embarrassing experiences during the 12 years I spent as a mompreneur, but like you, I really cherished the time I was able to work and be with my kids at the same time. During my recent 5-year stint as a freelance journalist, I often took my kids along for interviews and photo shoots as long as they were at kid friendly (needless to say, they didn't accompany me on my Florence State Prison story, but they loved it when I covered a story about a Phoenix Zoo Monkey Village volunteer!) I think my kids really grew from some of those experiences of tagging along with their working mom.

Compared to when your daughter was a baby, do you find the Mompreneur juggle easier to manage as she's getting older?

Kristin Park

April 29, 2008 - 9:51pm
EmpowHER Guest

Being a Mompreneur for me is like a dream come true. My daughter and I get to enjoy new stages in our lives together. When I attend meetings I get all kinds of comments from employees who are working full-time while their children are with someone else. In fact one woman started crying just watching me nurse during a high level roundtable discussion. I chose the career that would work well for our family based on watching clients who've made choices they now regret. So I don't ask permission to be a mom and only go where we are invited. This is reflected in my choice of speaking venues that bow to parents needs. Have there been mishaps along the way?

I choose meeting sites where we can combine my business and hers. One time I was meeting the audio engineer in a children's museum and forgot to take my daughter to the potty first. So when she pee peed right in front of us I was so embarrassed that I grabbed her up running to the restroom to handle our business. When I got back the man was gone. When I called him I found out that in my haste i had gotten urine on him and his computer. Needless to say we only meet by phone and email now. On the other hand the last time I was on Fox the associate producer watched my daughter while I did the segmnet and kept saying how well mannered she was. She's been doing this with her mom since she was about 2-weeks old. My publicists keeps reminding me how powerful it will be for her to grow up learning first hand how to be a Mompreneur from her own mom. I now choose to work with people who either like or can tolerate this Mompreneur and her daugher. I also make sure we go potty before our meetings start too. The power of parental choice has changed my clients lives and in watching them has done wonders for my own family too!

There's a fearless parent in all of us. Seen yours lately?

Adelaide Zindler, FP (Fearless Parent)

April 29, 2008 - 5:18pm

When my kids were very young, and I was still in the corporate rat race, I looked for company-sponsored child care. At the time, the notion of on-site care centers was new, but catching on in certain forward-thinking cities.

But, knowing how distracting a child can be, and how disruptive to the typical workplace, I wouldn't appreciate a crib in the cubicle next door. I agree with the suggestion that the company allow the mom to work from home.

I had to take my kids to the office a couple of times, when I had meetings and my hubby wasn't available. I wouldn't wish that experience on anyone! My kids were never bratty, but - they were still kids, LOL!

April 29, 2008 - 4:16pm

My daughter was very colicky. If I had her at the office, people would have gone insane. I wonder what businesses do in that scenario? I guess they would also have to let these mothers work from home or give them a private office. I have a friend who actually was able to bring her baby into work like that. She says it really was hard to get any work done & was actually very tough for her.

April 29, 2008 - 10:22am

Babies are cute, aren't they? But any parent will tell you that these little bundles of joy take a lot of time and attention and you need to have an adult designated to watching them. I think an on-site daycare program would be a great idea and can see why mothers would be more faithful to an employer who provided these types of services.

A baby in the next cubicle, however, seems like another story entirely. I've had many mothers tell me it's next to impossible to get any work done (from home) with their little one in the background. And I can see how it would make for a disruptive work environment. Also, what about meetings, would mom and baby attend? Would someone else in the office watch the child while the mother is in the meeting? Food for thought.

April 29, 2008 - 8:48am
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