First things first. I apologize for a long blogging hiatus. This is my first post in about four months. The best thing about my blogging hiatus is that it has been for a great reason, and one that I know many working moms will be jealous of. I get to bring my baby to work. I get to have my cake and eat it, too. No, this is not a long term solution, and very soon he will have to stay at home with our nanny. But for now, he has been able to be with me 24/7, and I have been able to continue to come to work and run my business.
The realty of being the CEO of a 45 person company is that I really had no maternity leave. It’s not that “the company” didn’t give me one. It’s that a CEO can’t take that sort of time off. I was answering emails from home the Monday after my son was born, with my baby lying next to me sleeping and nursing as he needed to. I was back in the office January 4th (my son was born December 12th). But how fantastic has it been for me to not have to give up on the bonding and closeness that comes from being with a new baby ALL THE TIME? Instead he just comes along my normal day with me.
Some people do think it is a little strange and inappropriate. I am at the office and attending meetings with the baby in the sling, and in a great nursing cover from Bebe au Lait (seeing as this is my third child I have breast fed, I can’t believe I didn’t invent this simple yet vital tool for nursing moms), so that my baby can sleep and breast feed all day long. I have conducted interviews while breast feeding my baby. Yes, that’s true. The baby was hidden and behind the nursing cover — so that I was not being inappropriate, but I am sure some people may be offended. I think this is the reality of being a working mom. I think I am lucky to be able to make the choice and bring my baby into the office for the first three or four months of his life. I think it gives me the best of both worlds — being able to work, while also being able to bond with my new baby. I realize that this scenario is unique and can’t work for everyone. It works for me for some reasons that are really beyond most people’s control:
- My baby latches really well. He can nurse in the sling, behind the cover without needing any help from my hands. He can stay latched while I walk around.
- My baby has not been very fussy. He does not have a lot of gas, does not seem to get tummy aches, and is a really good eater.
- Because he is not very fussy, as long as he is with me in the sling he is generally happy and quiet. I have conducted conference calls with clients that were over an hour long and no one on the other end of the phone knew there was a baby in the room.
- My husband works with me and can take the baby when I have to go to the bathroom, and once or twice I have had to quickly hand off to him because the baby did get fussy during a call. When the baby makes noise and I am on the phone, I apologize to the caller for the noise, but I don’t apologize for having a baby in the office.
- He is my third. I am not as nervous about things. He then doesn’t sense I am stressed out. It’s a lot easier to multi-task and actually get stuff done when the baby hanging around my neck is a third child. I don’t think I could have done it with the first. I did do it with the second.
So there you have it. My approach to motherhood and career. Yes, maybe you can have it all. As long as you are okay with the exhaustion and the back ache that comes with doing a full day at the office, and taking care of a newborn baby who hangs from your neck and shoulders for most of the day. For me it’s worth the back ache. For me, it’s worth the judging I probably get from other people who find it inappropriate. I think it’s the ultimate show of how you can work and have a baby, and not give up bonding and breast feeding. I’m sure there are plenty of people who will disagree.