I have to admit, before having my son, I was not maternal. Kids were grand, but unless I had some family or emotional connection to them, I could take them or leave them. I didn’t find them all so cute. I didn’t like looking at pictures of them, and unless the story of your kid has a funny punch line, I didn’t want to hear it.
Some of that is still true, but I have softened a bit now that I have my own boring stories and pictures to retaliate with.
When I worked in a large office, every so often somebody who was out on maternity leave would stop in to show off their baby. The office would stop for ten minutes and we would all look and congratulate the new mom, but then we would go back to work, and she would understand that it was time for her to get on with the business that brought her to the office in the first place – usually it was to meet her manager to confirm her return date and then go for lunch with her work friends so they could fill her in on the gossip she had missed.
At no other time did babies or children attend the office.
So I was horrified when Nicola Cassidy of Ladynicci.com in guest blog on HerFamily.ie said she brought her baby with her to new job’s strategy meeting. Either that mom has a very different baby from mine, or she attends very different meetings.
For me, outside of work, my son comes everywhere with me. He is put in the car seat and we run errands, meet friends, whatever. He is a docile and easily amused young soul. But even when I meet friends now with him, it’s not the same as when I do without.
When he is there he demands attention, whether he means to or not. I’ll be chatting and he will suddenly need changing, so I will have to leave the table to do that. Or we will be getting to a good part of a story and he will bang the table with a toy and the train of thought will be lost. Babies demand attention, and, for most people, it is in our hard-wiring to give it.
So bringing a baby to a business meeting is a big no-no for me. You are not getting the best from the meeting, and nor can the people you are meeting. So unless the meeting is to sign the baby up to a modelling agency where the agent has to look the young tot in the eye, why have them there?
Perhaps it’s because I was raised by a working Mom, who was raised by a working Mom, I have these opinions. They very clearly separated home life from work life. My Mum and Grandma were different in work than they were at home. In work my Mum was a forthright decision maker, organised and focused on detail; management material. These qualities would have been quickly undermined if any of her employers witnessed her squabble with a four year old who just poured jam all over her baby sister to see if she would taste any better.
So for me it’s important the two remain separate. I have no doubt that my son will grow to be a productive member of the corporate world, but until it’s time for him to get his work experience, he will be staying home for now.