Kids at Work? Why It Works and Helps Women (and Men!) Succeed

24 Jan

2014-01-23-20130809_pas_040Edit-thumbI recently wrote an article for Business Insider which has gotten a lot of attention, both good and bad. Since I have written about the topic before, many times, I have to admit that I was surprised to see the traction this article has received. I have been overwhelmed by the number of women, and yes, men who have reached out and thanked me for my article. It has been inspiring to see the my writing and the way I look at business as a working mom resonates with so many people. It has been a fun ride.

But, it has also been surprising to see the criticism from men and women alike on bringing kids into the office. Let me share an excerpt from a particularly critical comment on the article:

If you want to remain CEO, and have three small kids… but you don’t want to use day care all the time, because you want to raise them yourself, during the work day… then the answer is not that the rest of the office owes you “day care in your office,” as a matter of feminist liberty… Nor do they owe you an allowance of flexibility that provides you with free time that they do not get, and have not asked for…. flexibility which UNDOUBTEDLY makes you less effective in the office: Please explain to the rest of us who have small children how having them in your office with you, without a nanny, does not distract you from your work?

First, let me clarify that any privilege I get in the office, is extended to all employees, which I clearly state in the article. Second, this person has no knowledge of how my kids (or the kids of other employees) interact, behave, or exist in my office environment.

My belief is that you can accommodate kids occasionally (not as a daycare replacement) in order to create a different norm for all working parents. I am lucky and have the means to employ a full-time nanny. But, occasionally I need to be in the office later than my nanny can stay. So, she drops my kids off at the office at 4:45 when her work day ends, and they hang out in my office and read, do homework or quietly play computer games. By having a workplace that is welcoming towards children, I can get my work done, my older children can read and get their homework done, and all of us are together. The last time this happened, was in early December (just for reference for those who picture me dragging my children into the office everyday).

Read the rest of my article on The Huffington Post.

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