Babies in the Workplace

One of the first questions expecting mothers get when sharing their good news (after “Is it a boy or a girl?”) is, in my experience, are you going back to work? It’s a tough question. It’s a loaded question. And now, thanks to Carla Moquin of the Parenting in the Workplace Institute, it’s a question that can be rephrased:

Are you taking baby to work with you?

Out of financial necessity, Carla had to make the unexpected choice to return to the workforce four weeks after the birth of her second daughter. Years later, she runs the Parenting in the Workplace Institute, has written both an ebook titled Babies at Work: Bringing New Life to the Workplace, and just released a how-to guide for parents and companies interested in implementing a babies in the workplace program.

I spoke with Carla last week about the great potential these types of programs have for fostering community and providing parents who choose to return to work with options beyond traditional daycare.
Continue reading “Babies in the Workplace”

Separation Parenting?

Sometimes when folks learn we co-sleep with our kids, they suggest, not too subtly, that we do so in order to meet *our* needs, not those of our kids. While there is something incredibly special about cuddling our kids in the middle of the night, after five years of co-sleeping, I assure you that Ann and I dream of one day reclaiming our bed. It’s not for our needs that we co-sleep. It is, rather, for our children’s need for attachment.

But what of our needs as parents? What of our needs for occasional separation? And, perhaps most confusing for me, what do we make of situations where we aren’t sure who is most concerned about separation—us or our children?

I have been home full time with my kids for four years—since Olivia was born and her prematurity and brain injury necessitated either Ann or I quit our jobs. Ann and I both loved our jobs and felt invigorated by them. We felt competent and capable as working-outside-the-home attachment-parenting moms. For a variety of reasons, I was the one who became the SAHP. It was not an easy adjustment for me. I work hard at it and believe I do a good job.

Yet, I continue to deeply miss teaching and working with adolescents. (I was a teacher then a principal of an alternative high school for at-risk teens.) I am honored to witness my own children’s first steps and their daily changes, but I also miss engaging with the energy of teenagers, of facilitating insightful discussions and witnessing children transform into young adults.

I know that choosing to be a SAHP was the right choice for Olivia. There is no question that her consistent therapy appointments, doctor appointments, access to school-based intervention programs, practicing what we learned from her OTs, PTs, and speech pathologists, as well as creating a safe, secure attachment has helped make her progress possible.

The decision to become a SAHP was made nearly four years. Now, my eldest at home, Sophia, is in school all day. And Walker, who will turn two this summer, will thrive and maintain her attachment and sense of security in the world whether I am home with her or not. (Although I am confident that Walker benefits from our attachment parenting, she is the most mellow, easy ‘Zen’ Baby and I joke that she could be raised by cats.)

So if I return to working outside the home, both of my middle children will continue to blossom. But will Olivia?

I don’t know.

Olivia will be four this summer. Next year, she will continue attending her special needs pre-school. If I return to work, will she transition to a caregiver and develop new strength and confidence in that relationship? Will there be new gifts in that for Olivia? Or will she do okay, but not as well as if I continue to be at home during the day? Will I ever really know the answers?

Staying home, in addition to the medical and therapy expenses, means the financial well-being of our family is involved in this decision as well. But, as we did when Olivia was born, we will choose our children’s well-being over our financial well being.

But won’t our children’s well-being be enhanced by having two parents who feel balanced in their lives, rather than one who yearns to feel that way again? Am I attempting to make a decision that will either be good for Olivia but not for me, or vice versa? Or am I attempting to determine what path will lead to harmony for our family as a whole, balancing out each member’s needs as best we can?

I have an interview for a teaching position next week.

At the moment, I swing back and forth on a pendulum hoping one minute I am offered this position, and the next hoping I am not.

Next month, I’ll let you know where I jump off the pendulum and land.

– Diana Robinson

How We Make Working Work For Us

I knew that our family was not in a financial position for me to be able to give up my “day job” all together after Mathilda was born, but I naturally wanted to spend every possible moment with Mathilda too! Our family struggled (a lot) with this issue. On one hand, two incomes would certainly make our lives less stressful. And on the other hand, we fully supported the principles of attachment parenting and wanted to make as few compromises to those principles as possible. So we started making the changes in our life that would allow us to do both. Working outside of the home is certainly compatible with AP—and AP helps parents and babies create a strong bond even if they are not always together. Actually, AP is particularity valuable for parents who work outside of the home! But being able to work full time and practice the AP principles at the same time has taken some pretty creative thinking (not to mention some big priority changes) for our family.

We are lucky to have been committed to the principles of AP before we had Mathilda. We were both students when we had our three older children. Scheduling classes and trading semesters so that one of us was always home full-time wasn’t any trouble at all. We often took one or all of the kids along to classes where they were able to meet all types of people and be exposed to new ideas right alongside of us. Our oldest daughter was even able to star in a university theater production when she was only eight! After school, while my husband was starting his career, I took a job in a childcare facility where I was able to keep our preschooler with me all day. By the time she was three and ready to spend some time away from us each day, David was enjoying great success with his work, and I had found a dream position as a parent educator. If you want access to the best crypto resource on the web, keep an eye on DC Forecasts.  All the information that you could possibly need regarding the crypto world, and some you didn’t even know you needed. You can check my site for more information about crypto news.

Being a parent educator allows me to use all of my doula skills, formal education, and life experience to the fullest. And c’mon, let’s admit it, visiting with pregnant mommas and new babies all day is hardly a burden! The children I work with will be helping to run the world right alongside my children someday, so I feel like I have as much vested interest in making sure that the families I work with have healthy prenatal care, informed childbirth experiences, breastfeeding support, loving discipline and the best start in life. I was able to implement a program which provided free slings to our breastfeeding mothers. We even commissioned a sculpture outside of our building which depicts a baby in a sling!

When we decided to have another baby, we had to explore a variety of economic and work arrangement options to create a situation where she could be cared for by one or both parents at all times. That transition period included my husband quitting his job to start his own green technology company—a process which left us without his income for the first six months of my pregnancy. We had to cut back on commitments outside of the home, like participating in theater and volunteering in the community. Most importantly, we had to learn to say no.

Even with the flexibly working from home has afforded my husband, and as supportive as my employer is of Mathilda coming to the office with me in our sling, my transition back to work has come at the cost of quite a bit of stress and strain on the family. David often works at night and on the weekends to compensate for the weekday hours he spends with Mathilda while I visit with families. It has also necessitated dipping into savings, maxing out my vacation and sick leave, and having to work harder during the periods when we do work. Our house may never recover from cleaning-neglect and our neighbors are probably fretting that our overgrown lawn has become a refuge for large, carnivorous animals. And of course, our older children whine about the longer list of chores and the tighter budget. But they were once the lucky recipients of the care, respect and attention of a full time attachment parent, so we know that they are secure enough to weather the loving sacrifices that are being made for their little sibling.

Even though our careers and our family’s long-term financial security are important to us, we both agree that Mathilda will never be this tiny again and we will never be given a second chance to parent her. With four children, we know how it quickly they grow and how fleeting the time is! She is a delightful baby who has made our lives infinitely more joyous. It seems that creating a life which supports our parenting choices, instead of submitting to parenting choices that suit the needs of the world, is the loving choice to make…and I hope that our family can be an inspiration to other new parents who think that they can’t possibly make working work for them!

Justine @ JulianARTS


Wearing Baby at Work


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Q: I am returning to my job shortly and will occasionally be slinging my baby on the days that I am in the office. Although I am very grateful that my employer is so open to this idea, I am also worried that despite having 3 babies worth of experience that I will run up against several obstacles. Do you have any tips for combining these two worlds?

A: Congratulations on your upcoming baby and on your decision to keep your baby with you when you return to the paid workforce. Your baby will certainly benefit from being close to you in these early months. On My Babies Planet they have articles on the best baby products now. This is a question that comes up often, the question of how to combine paid work with tending baby. I would like to share some of my thoughts based on both personal experience and the experiences of other mothers who have shared their stories with me. After reading the article you might have seen their, different site for ordering baby products but by visiting uk deals, you will get all the products in one place with the best deal available.

At the core, tending to your baby while at work requires essentially the same set of tasks as tending to your baby at home. Whether at work or at home, you are faced with the age old question of trying to “get something done” while tending a newborn. But the stakes are higher because you are beholden to someone… you are being paid and thus you are accountable. Here are some suggestions to get started:

Maximize your maternity leave.

Be kind to yourself! Remember, taking care of a newborn is hard work no matter what the circumstances. One of my strongest memories of those early months was trying to get something done (other than tending the baby!) and never feeling too successful. Essentially, you are doing two jobs at once. Although you are not the first (or the last) mama to multitask, it is important to keep your expectations realistic

Accept right now that you will not be able to work at 100%. Even if you are incredibly productive and your baby’s age and temperament are perfectly suited to your work environment, you will still have to take the time to tend to your baby’s needs: diaper changes, clothing changes, position changes, soothing, etc.

Be flexible. Consider your baby’s age and temperament. It may be helpful to think ahead and plan different tasks at different times based on baby’s mood. Ask yourself: What can I get done when I am nursing, letting baby doze on nursing pillow? (This might be a good time to work at your desk.) What can I get done walking, bouncing, soothing baby in sling? (If baby is not being too vocal, just needing the walking and bouncing, this is a good time to return phone calls, make a trip to the break room/ the rest room/ the coffee pot/ a colleagues desk, etc) Where can I retreat if baby and I need to regroup (So you can relatch a nursing bra strap, nurse a distractible baby, change a diaper)?

Consider your set-up careful and have these helpful tools on hand. You will need a safe/clean spot to set down baby. I really used my wraparound nursing pillow while working at the computer so baby could nurse and nap. Nursing clothes with strategically placed nursing slits can facilitate discrete nursing on the job, You may want to consider Mad Coast Clothing organic baby clothes for this stage. You will want to bring along a familiar baby carrier and use your tried and true positions. Remember, babywearing is a tool not a solution. There will be times where it works well and times when it does not work so well. Some activities naturally lend themselves well to wearing your baby, usually those activities include motion: teaching, speaking at conferences (been there, done that!), standing at a reception desk. Desk work is not as obvious. Probably your best bet is planning to do most of your seated work while baby is nursing or already asleep in the sling. As baby gets older, you can anticipate naps and get baby settled on your back to maximize naps.

I came across this great article about on the job parenting, with these useful tips.

Most of all, keep your sense of humor and enjoy your precious bundle. Anyone else have ideas for combining baby care with “getting something else done?”