Thursday, March 25, 2010

Babies in the workplace? No, thank you

I'll be on Fox News's national morning program Fox & Friends tomorrow (Friday, March 26) at 7:50 a.m. (NEW TIME!), discussing babies-to-work programs and why I think there are other ways companies, parents, and kids can benefit without bringing infants in to the office. If there's a link to the program after it airs, I'll be sure to update with it here!

Today's post at The 36-Hour Day is about the same subject. Here's an excerpt:

My youngest children are 5 and 3 years old now, but for the first two years of my 5-year-old’s life, she commuted to and from my office nearly every day after my maternity leave was over. But she rarely spent more than a couple of minutes at the office. My husband worked in the same building; my shift ended at 5, his shift started at 5, and we usually met in the parking lot and just switched cars.

When our youngest was born, my husband switched to a day shift just as my maternity leave came to an end, and we had to deal with daycare for the first time. Would I have preferred to take my then 6-month-old son with me to the office, to save on daycare costs or to make breastfeeding easier? Absolutely not. Even at 6 months, my son was active. And, frankly, hilarious and a lot of fun. I would never have been able to get anything done at the office with him there — and neither would any of my coworkers. ... [More]
I know I'm lucky in that my main employer has a very generous maternity leave policy -- generous in terms of holding my job for me for as long as 26 weeks instead of the "up to 12 weeks" mandated by the Family and Medical Leave Act, I mean (the leave is unpaid). I was lucky, too, to be able to cobble together vacation and sick time so I could continue to draw most of a paycheck while I was out of the office -- essential for my family, since I'm the breadwinner. Even if I had been limited to a 12-week leave of absence, though, I doubt I would have taken my babies to the office with me, for the reasons I mention in my post. More likely, my husband would have continued to work nights for a bit longer, and I would continued to work days, and we would have kept up with our parking lot (and local playground) rendezvous.

The discussion is already heading up at The 36-Hour Day... check it out and weigh in: Did you (or would you) go back to work early and bring your newborn with you to the office? Why or why not?

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