There are many feelings associated with parenting: joy, anxiety, love, and even fear. When I was pregnant with both of my children I certainly felt all of these. I wanted to be the best mother I could be. Sometimes it scared me that I was the one responsible for nurturing and guiding these little people.
It was important for me to spend time with my children after they were born. A mother doesn’t need to read complicated journals and studies to know that forming attachments is HUGE for child development. Life taught me. I knew it would be a big challenge to maintain a strong parent-child bond when I returned to work.
I had six weeks of maternity leave. It was hardly enough time to feel comfortable with the idea of my child no longer needing me.
I felt a tremendous amount of guilt. In fact, I almost cried when I dropped my son off his first day of daycare. Even though he was with my sister-in-law, a person I trusted. Even when I dropped my daughter off to my mother, the queen of child-rearing, I felt bad. Why? Because mothers are nurturers. I was supposed to be there. At least that is what society teaches us. Moms are the ones that love and care for their children. Moms are the reason they become screwups (thanks Sigmund Freud for that throw under the bus).
At the same time, I needed to contribute to my households financially. Staying home wasn’t an option. While it is easy to talk about work-life balance, the struggle to create it is ongoing. I felt torn between my family obligations and my employer’s expectations. This is why I LOVE the idea of family conscious workplaces. There are creative, family conscious organizations who have worked to remedy the tug-of-war new moms feel.
The latest organization to join the movement is the Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa. The organization allows its employees to bring newborns up to six months old to work with them. It’s a power move, demonstrating the company’s ability to identify with its employees and their unique circumstances.
I would have loved to work with a company that minimized my concerns about my ability to be a mother and financial security.
Allowing employees to bring their children to work makes a strong point. Their employees are humans, and they have responsibilities outside an agency’s four walls. Businesses cannot thrive without people and neither can families. I’m glad to see some companies are moving in the right direction.