How do Mums balance babies and business? Bring them to work?

For the last week or so I have been trying to come up with a clever intro to ease me back into the tapestry of blogging for PH after quite a lengthy hiatus; which I think I have failed miserably.

For those of you I haven’t had the pleasure in meeting yet, I have not submitted a blog since the end of November 2011, which is when I signed off for ‘Maternity Leave’. I put the words Maternity and Leave in inverted commas because it’s actually laughable, especially knowing that it never happened!

Just to clarify, I never got to take Maternity Leave. In fact the day before I gave birth to my son who is now 8 months old, I was in a recording studio and the slight discomfort I was experiencing for the first time throughout the whole of my pregnancy was the very early signs of labour.

Why Did You Not Take The Time Off?

When you work for yourself it’s quite common not to schedule time off for a holiday and even if you do manage to go on holiday, is it really a holiday when you’re still responding to emails whilst sipping a cocktail by the poolside?

To me that’s just geography and having a different back drop.

[Definition Of A Holiday] a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.

Having a baby and entering the world of parenthood is not any different from working for yourself and running your own business. OK, it’s slightly different in the sense that your body changes dramatically when having a baby and with that you are experiencing a roller-coaster of emotions, which you’re generally not in control of.

You have to make huge adjustments to your life and if you’re one of those people who doesn’t enjoy change, well, hold on tight because you’re about to experience the biggest change of your life.

Image taken from Raising Natural Kids Facebook Page

Learning the art of balance is a must when you have a child and run a business. I say this because since my son was born, I have been running around having meetings with my son in tow and ideally, it’s better when he is asleep; that way you can focus on the person you’re having the meeting with. Otherwise, you have to split your attention between baby and appointment; to be fair I believe I have mastered the art of doing just that without any complaints from son, appointment or myself.

If you’ve had a meeting with me and my son and want to let me know how you found the experience; good, bad or indifferent please leave any feedback or comments below.

So, what about feeding time when you take your baby to meetings with you?

I’m quite fortunate that I can be with my child practically 24/7 whilst I am working, I see having a baby is like being given a gift, so the last thing I want to do is hand him over to someone else to look after. I get to see when he smiles for the first time, utters his first word and even comfort him when he cries.

The other reason for having him constantly with me is due to the fact that I am still breast feeding. I get great pleasure in knowing my child is given protection and the nutrients he needs in growing and remaining healthy through simply being breast fed.

I have never had to leave the room to breast feed my son, so far everyone I’ve had meetings with haven’t had any issue with me feeding in front of them; well, at least not to my face anyway!

In this day and age and especially as the economy is going through the worst time ever, working mums are very relevant and it should be encouraged by employers to allow parents to have their child/children who are under the nursery age to accompany them to work or at least have some sort of creche.

Scene from the BBC Programme – Babies in The Office

There was a programme that aired on BBC2 a back in July called ‘Babies In The Office,’ it was a pilot scheme that focused around Europe’s largest minicab and chauffeur business called Addison Lee, where they trialled the scheme, which allowed their employees to bring their babies to work with them; not in a creche or a nursery but at their desks!

I loved the programme and thought how forward thinking of the UK based company. But, as you probably were aware, this kind of thing has been happening in America for the last decade and over 170 companies have now adopted it in the US.

So, how forward thinking are we really?

Certainly for me I need to be in a working environment that allows me sufficient time to be with my child, especially for his formative years and if this means working for oneself, then I am happy to contribute to the economy that way. The corporate world is certainly not ready to embrace such changes, I should know, I was once on that path.

Signing off…..

Kehinde (Embracing Motherhood)

8 Responses to “How do Mums balance babies and business? Bring them to work?”

  1. Yay, welcome back Kehinde. What a great piece to come back with. I love the ethos of inclusiveness with children…wait…not an ethos….the way of life. I think it’s so important that children don’t change who we are and what our life is. Yes they are life changing, and they will add so much more, but we are who we are, and that shouldn’t change when we have children. It’s important for our children to be brought up being used to that inclusiveness and I love your approach. I come from a background (I don’t know whether it’s cultural of simply the way it is) where you have kids and everything suddenly stops in life and changes to adapt to the children. In recent years I’ve seen many more mums include their children from early into their lifestyle, and it’s been refreshing to see, and made me look at parenting in a very different and positive way.

  2. Hi Kehinde! Glad to hear you are embracing motherhood, not that I expected any different! I can totally relate to the balancing act being a new mum myself. I am office based 3 days a week so my 16 month old daughter has been at nursery 3 days a week for almost a year. I battle with guilt when I drop her off but I personally couldn’t work well in the Addison Lee structure as I’d be more focussed on my daughter than actually working. However UK companies are definitely missing a trick by not providing creche facilities at the office! Affordable childcare and flexible opportunities are a barrier for working mums. Flexible working is getting better but there’s a long way to go!! Looking forward to your next post 🙂

  3. Hey Kehinde! Thanks for sharing. Being an expectant, first-time mother myself at the age of 38, I have already found myself asking “how can I SUCCESSFULLY juggle it all?” This is the first time in my life that I’ve had to truly place another person’s well-being over my own. Though my child is my #1 priority, work is a necessary vehicle that will allow me to provide for him, so I’m already frantically thinking about how I will balance it all. Being an American, I love the idea of taking your child to work. I have worked for companies in the US that either had onsite-childcare centers or had designated “family days” at work. I can honestly say it boosts morale and well-being of the employees. Having the ability to pop in and check on your child during a lunch break, or being 5 minutes away in case of emergency is priceless for a working mother and ultimately can lead to an increase in productivity whilst at work. For those of us that are not so lucky to have these types of arrangements, it certainly would be helpful to have more affordable / flexible childcare options. This at least would alleviate some of the stress of leaving your child and paying for their care. Anyway, thanks for getting the discussion started because that’s half the battle. Through collective action we can bring about change. Best wishes to all of the working and non-working moms out there! It’s a tough job no matter how you cut it.

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