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"You're so lucky." That is always the first response I hear when I tell people that I bring my baby with me to work part-time in an office. And they are right, I am incredibly lucky; I work for my dad, and he lets me bring my little one to work. I count my blessings every day that I am able to earn money for my family while still spending time with my baby. Whilst I am undeniably grateful, it's not always easy and some days it is, quite honestly, not ideal.
I think that when people hear that I take my baby to work, they picture him happily playing in his playpen while I answer calls, or snuggled up next to me while I work at the computer. And this image isn't totally false—he does have his own nice area near my desk, complete with a bouncy gym and playpen for naps. And he is generally quite content at the office.
What people likely don't picture, however, is the harsh reality that while he will play quietly and happily, it is rarely when I need it most, namely when the phone rings. My oldest son, who also came to work with me until preschool age, was a champion sleeper and snoozed away while I got the majority of my work done. My current baby is not a fan of naps. I spend my break pacing the streets near our office with the baby strapped to my back, and when he finally falls asleep, I perch on the edge of my chair and type furiously, trying to get as much done as possible before he wakes again.
Bringing your baby to work is like any other compromise, full of advantages and disadvantages. The very best part about having him at work with me is that he doesn't have to be in daycare. This saves me heaps of money and heartache; I can personally attend to him, breastfeed on demand, and since I work with my dad, he gets lots of extra time with his grandpa.
But there are days when he clearly doesn't want to be there, and I feel guilty that he's not somewhere tailored to a baby's wants and needs. Moreover, I hate that while I do have him close, I can't devote as much energy to engaging with him; after all, there is work to be done. And sometimes I wish that I really could just focus on one job at a time. When most people go to work, they get a little break from parenthood, at least physically, if not mentally. My version of "having it all" can sometimes feel more like "having too much" or at least having too much of "it all" at the very same time.
Ultimately, I do feel very lucky. Not only to have the rare opportunity to bring my baby to the office, but also for the even rarer opportunity to enjoy the priceless fleeting moments of babyhood. It's not perfect, but we make it work.