By: Paula Cabrera
Being a working mom has been one of the biggest (if not the BIGGEST) challenges of my life. I’m sure many of you can relate.
As working moms, we struggle with balancing the demands of both our jobs and motherhood. We know the fears and worries of leaving our babies at home, especially when the nannies are new – if we even have nannies to begin with. While there are those of us who get to ask help from our own parents and in-laws, we can’t always expect them to care for our babies. Undeniably, there are various reasons why it’s extra difficult to leave for work.
The profession I chose can be quite flexible. It’s not confined to an eight-hour work shift with an office desk, as I have to meet with clients and attend hearings and conferences. I believe that part of the perks of my job is that when the need arises, I get to bring my toddler along with me, such as that time when her former nanny suddenly left (and never came back!) while I was getting ready for a court hearing. There are also days when both my mom and mom-in-law are unavailable and I bring my daughter to the office, where I let her do mostly artwork (because I can’t exactly let her run around and I think she already understands why) while I do actual work. I guess it’s not just the profession that allows me this kind of set-up, but it’s also the nature of the firm I work with wherein my bosses are family-oriented and have high regard for working moms.
Truly, I wish all working moms could have this arrangement, but not all jobs are as flexible and not all employers are as understanding and supportive. Hence, I know that it might not always be as easy as 1-2-3 when it comes to deciding to bringing our little loves to the office. Still, that doesn’t mean that in times of emergency, it’s absolutely prohibited or impossible.
Of course, we can’t bring our kids to work everyday. Even with the flexibility of my profession and the support given by my firm, it’s not practical to bring my toddler to work every single workday. Our employers will eventually question our efficiency and quality of work with our kids around all the time.
However, there are instances in which our employers need to understand that our little ones need to stay with us for the day at the office. We can’t always take a leave and we can’t always have a work from home arrangement. Yayas leave without permission, relatives may not always be available to babysit, and sometimes, there’s no one who will stay with our babies at home. Plus, there’s work to be done. As such, the best compromise is really to bring our precious ones to work.
Here are some suggestions on how to survive a day at work with a baby/toddler/kid in tow:
1. Talk to your boss first. When you realize that you need to bring your little one to work, it would be best to discuss this with your boss as soon as possible. Explain your situation the best way you can and try to ensure that you will still get your job done. Also try to make sure that your kid will not disrupt the working environment.
2. Bring all the essentials and pack a busy bag for your little love. Bring extra clothes, snacks, water, extra diapers (if your little one is not yet potty-trained), wipes, hand sanitizer, etc. It would be good also to bring your kid’s security item/s, a few toys (preferably those that don’t make too much noise), books, etc. so that your kid will not get bored.
3. If your kid can still fit into a baby carrier, then go ahead and wear him/her at the office. I still wear my two-year old when I have to bring her to work. This way I can do my work while she comfortably naps. You can also opt to bring a bassinet if your baby can still fit in one.
4. Make a safe space for your little one by keeping away all hazardous objects and trying to baby-proof that small area. We know how curious kids can be and it wouldn’t hurt to take extra caution (especially with those sockets that seem to look like pots of gold to children!).
5. Scope the area for a quiet room. In case your little one starts to throw a fit, I suggest bringing him/her to a quiet place in the office where your workmates will not be bothered. Not all can empathize with our struggles as working moms, and of course, the office is a workplace, not a daycare. Take your little love to the pantry/restroom/hallway/nursing room of your office and give him/her your comforting hug and help him/her calm down.
As I’ve said before, I don’t think we should ever be made to choose between being moms and working. We’re working moms. Not one or the other. Each day is a challenge, and some days are tougher to get through, and when we don’t have that extra help with our babies, we can’t just quit our jobs. We obviously can’t quit being moms – and we wouldn’t. And so, the truth is, there are days when we have to pack the baby bags and bring our little ones to work because we’re working moms. That’s who we are.
Let’s remember that while bringing our babies to work may seem as complete disarray to others, it’s an adventure for us and for our little loves.
Paula Cabrera is a working mom and a devoted wife. She and her husband are both lawyers who are continuously learning to embrace the joys and pains of both work and parenting. Reading and writing have always been some of her hobbies, and so, despite being busy, she finds time to do both even for just a few minutes everyday. She hopes to be able to be able to reach out to other parents through her short pieces and remind them that they are not alone in the crazy yet fulfilling world of parenting.