Babies at the workplace

Babies and work

Image by yoz via Flickr

Babies at the workplace

Read the above article and tell me what you think.  The main gist of the article is talking about an organization that is trying to convince more companies to allow babies to come to work with either the mother or the father until that baby is 9 months old. I have to say that my initial reaction to reading this is a pile of mixed emotions.

The Positive:

What a huge resource for mothers and fathers who are not allowed maternity/paternity leave to NOT loose their jobs but still be able to be with their baby for longer than recovery.  There are so many jobs that I could see this being effective and working.  I think it would better help build community child care which has pretty much disappeared.  Think about your job now.  Or a previous job you have had.  Wouldn’t your relationships with your co-workers be stronger if you interacted with their children?  How many times have you felt closer to someone just because they showed you pictures of their newborn? Now imagine if you could interact with that baby.  What if you were to help hold the baby so the parent could slip out to use the restroom or attend an important meeting.  What if it opened windows to people who want nothing to do with babies only for them to realize how quickly you can bond and love these precious gifts?

The Negative:

This idea is NOT suitable for ALL jobs.  Can’t have them in the food industry without huge accidents, heath code violations, followed by lawsuits and so forth (and you know it would happen whether the claims were true, false, or exaggerated).  I certainly wouldn’t be able to take my baby to work with me.  My job is all about hard, physical labor.  I can’t be lugging an infant around at the same time.  I’m already lifting 40-60 pound rice bags.  Or pulling runners.  Or dodging getting run over by customers who are too busy thinking about what’s for dinner then who might be stocking the bottom shelf.  Do I want them to hit my baby who would be on my back?  Ummm… no thank you.  And then, there are the obvious negatives.  Babies are fussy.  Babies need attention.  Babies need feedings and diaper changes.  Let’s do the math.  Let’s say I work an 8 hour shift.  It’s a good day and I only dock 2 hours off my day.  Basing this off a 40 hour, 5 day work week… That’s leaving me 10 hours short of full-time.  And that’s assuming that its a good day for the baby.  What happens on the baby’s off day?  Do you work 6 days a week, 10 hours a day?  That’s LESS time to be home and do all the housework, cooking, laundry, errands, let alone have some just you time.  And what if you have an incredibly fussy baby… or a spit up everywhere all the time baby… or exploding diaper baby.  We all know that some babies are more work than others.

Xan’s opinion: “Do you want a baby or do you want to work.  Because if you’re bringing your baby to work, you can’t really do either.  What about everyone else that works with you?  They’ve got their own things to do.  It’s not fair to them to make them deal with your baby.

My conclusion:

I think this idea is fantastic for those who are on salary, don’t require hard, physical labor, and won’t interrupt teaching lectures or classrooms (babies in college level classrooms are inexcusable.  I’m sorry.  But they do not belong in a classroom.)  That still leaves so many THOUSANDS of mothers and fathers who might benefit from this movement.  And, there are accomadations that could be made for the list I made at the beginning of this paragraph.  These companies could provide FREE child supervision ON SITE.  Universities or public schools could offer day care for when teachers have class, giving them time to spend with their babies during their “freetime.”  Restaurants and grocery stores could have a daycare where they can page the parents if their child needs them or the mom can nurse or cuddle during a break.  Or maybe it would be great for the father to get a chance to take the baby for a day every now and again so that the stay-at-home mom who just gave birth can sleep for longer than 2 hours at one time.  Or give some needed attention to the other children and then take a nap.

Having the mother (or in some cases the father) stay at home with their child is still the best option and the one that Xan and I plan and hope to employ.  “If Mother is working outside of the home, see if there are ways to change that, even a little. It may be very difficult to change at the present time. But analyze carefully and be prayerful (see D&C 9:8–9). Then expect to have inspiration, which is revelation (see D&C 8:2–3). Expect intervention from power from beyond the veil to help you move, in due time, to what is best for your family.”  full article here

Although, I think if I had to pick a side right now and not stay in this grey, both-sides-have-good-points area, I would have to say that I agree with Xan.  I need to see more examples and hear more stories, ESPECIALLY stories from the non-parents in these workplaces and what THEIR opinions are before I can fully support this movement.



Filed under Natural Baby Care

9 responses to “Babies at the workplace

  1. Kristin

    Being a new mother myself I would have to say this is a sweet idea but I cannot see it working out in any situation. Babies get a whole lot easier after they are 4-6 months old, until then they are a full time commitment. Whether it is mom or someone else they just need that much attention. My daughter just wanted to be held all the time. She ate every 2-3 hours and it takes about 30 min to eat at the beginning. I just think both the baby and the job would end up being neglected.

  2. Kressyda

    I agree with Xan and Kristin. You either have the baby, or you work. If you want to work and have a baby, get a babysitter. I would be interested to see first hand whether this endeavor is really as successful as it claims to be. I think there is no way you can do a job well with a kid around – studies have shown that multi-tasking generally leads to mediocre results. Interesting discussion. I really enjoy reading your blog. Thanks!

  3. I agree. When they say that being a mother is a full time job, they were not joking. If there was a day care at work, I could see it working out, but otherwise, I just can’t see it… and you would have to stay at work longer than normal to make up for the time you are not working (because you are entertaining, feeding, or making your baby happy).

  4. Merry

    I should have responded to this long ago! I just have to say, I think that you’re wrong about babies not belonging in the classroom. If you can even consider allowing babies to go to work with the parent, you have to give that same consideration to students who have to bring their babies with them. I’m not saying that it’s perfect or ideal, but I think that students have more of a right to bring their babies with them to class. They aren’t getting paid to be there, so if they have to step out to take care of their baby, they won’t be stealing from their boss. Also, it is a student’s responsibility to be considerate of their classmates, so students should leave and get notes/powerpoints form the teacher or classmates. But this doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t try to bring their child to class at all. My two cents. 😀

    • Sorry. I see a BIG difference. For me, personally, it was a big deal when someone brought their baby to class. I have a learning disability. I had a hard enough time understanding the lecture as it was. To have a baby there, it was impossible. For Xan, who has taught classes, it is an insult to the time that he took preparing the lecture that he can visually see no one getting with the baby in the background. On top of that, I was PAYING to be to attend lectures. I don’t pay to go to my job; I GET paid. Having a baby is a huge responsibility and I realize it can be hard for both spouses to go to school with children. I applaud those who make it work. But the bottom line is that they CHOSE to have a baby. When that decision was made, school and everything else became second. If a babysitter cancels and no one can watch your kid while you’re in class, then a sacrifice is required. It’s sounds harsh but that’s the set of choices that come with having children. I’ve seen parents make it work. It IS possible.

      • Merry

        I just can’t see how these two contexts are different. About choosing to have kids while in school, it goes the same way for choosing to have kids while working. It’s still a choice. Paying customers who don’t get as good service because of a baby in the workplace are like students in the class who are paying to be there and are distracted. Teachers who prepare for a class and see that a baby is distracting are like bosses whose employees are being distracted from their work by a baby. If you are totally against a baby in the classroom, you can’t then turn around and say that it might be okay in a work setting.

        I am a teacher too, and if one of my students brought a child to class, it would definitely be distracting. But, unlike all the other people who are affected by children in the classroom or workplace, a distracted parent in a classroom isn’t getting paid while a distracted parent in the workplace is. Therefor, the distracted student isn’t stealing, while the distracted employee is.

      • I think you misunderstood my stance on babies in the workplace. Currently, I’d have to say that I’m against the whole concept for the majority of jobs. I’m open to listening to arguments supporting it or seeing it in action, but the way I see it now, it sounds like more of a hassle and inconvenience than being effective. I found the article on a friend’s blog and was curious as to what people thought of it. So far, most are against, too. But I am completely, decidedly against babies in a college classroom setting. I agreed with all of your points except for two.

        In response to “Paying customers who don’t get as good service because of a baby in the workplace are like students in the class who are paying to be there and are distracted,” I disagree. In office jobs, the customers are not present. It is the other co-workers that have to deal with the noise, which I pointed out in my post, and one of the big reasons I am against them being there. In jobs where the customers are present, like mine, it’s the CUSTOMER’S babies that have to be dealt with. In these situations, where the customers are already bringing their babies, the specific argument of a worker’s baby being distracting becomes obsolete because BOTH sides are possibly bringing babies.

        In response to, “But, unlike all the other people who are affected by children in the classroom or workplace, a distracted parent in a classroom isn’t getting paid while a distracted parent in the workplace is. Therefore, the distracted student isn’t stealing, while the distracted employee is,” I disagree. They are stealing. Not from the university but from all his/her classmates. The same goes for cell phones ringing or chatting with classmates during a lecture. For the few times that I forgot to turn my cell phone off before class and had it accidentally ring, not only did I get to be embarrassed and flustered, but I stole part of the lecture from the other students.

        And its not just the crying that is distracting. It’s the rattling or noisy toys. The constant murmurs babies make. The sound of the parent constantly reaching into the diaper bag to try to find something else to entertain the baby every 5 min. Babies basically come with a lot of noise unless they are asleep.

        I’m enjoying this banter, but I’m not sure I can pull out your stance. Would you say you were for or against babies in the classroom and/or workplace?

  5. Merry

    I am against them being in either setting. It is just as distracting in both settings. Surrounding students and co-workers are both going to be equally distracted, stealing their time and focus from their job or class. So if you think that it’s too distracting in a classroom setting, you have to say the same thing for a workplace setting.

    However, I am also saying that I could understand it more in a classroom setting than a workplace setting, because of the whole paying/being paid issue. 1) A student is paying to be there. Aside from distracting others (which happens in both settings), when parents themselves are distracted, it is a calculated decision to step outside and miss out on the lecture they are paying for. They are not getting their money’s worth, but it was their decisison to have a baby. 2) An employee is getting paid to be there. So, aside from distracting others, when parents themselves are distracted at work, they are stealing from their boss, who didn’t have a say in the decision to have the child.

    Also, I meant to say that I think that parent’s need to be willing to get up and leave class if their baby gets disruptive. However, you’re right, babies are just distracting all the time. But they’ll be that way on a campus or at a workplace.

  6. Kristin

    Babies in the classroom are not ideal. I did see some classmates occasionally bring a baby to class, usually it was for a short time, often just until their spouse could get there to pick them up. They would sit at the back of the room near an exit and leave with their baby if they got noisy. I thought that was really a good way to handle it. It distracted fewer students and those who sit in the back in my experience are either less easily distracted or not interested in being as involved in the lecture.

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