In the past week I’ve seen a couple of photos circulating on Facebook of female politicians with their small children at work. The first one is of an Italian representative at the European Union, Licia Ronzulli, voting on bills on the floor with her newborn in a sling.
The second is a mock swearing in of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand from New York with her young son climbing all over her during the proceedings. Granted, this wasn’t her ACTUAL swearing in, but it’s a cool image to see nonetheless.
When I had my son, I had romantic notions of bringing him to work with me, holding him in a sling while I typed away blissfully and chatted with clients on the phone. He turned out to be really active and demanding – he hated being in a sling and was only quiet if you held him and walked or bounced around. So I dismissed the idea of bringing him to work with me before my maternity leave was even over.
I really had not given the issue much thought since then. But then I saw these pictures, and it made me wonder if I should have Julius with me at work sometimes. One day this week my husband had a meeting and we didn’t have child care, so I figured what the heck. Julius was with me for a few hours in the afternoon and I was pleasantly surprised at how interested he was in everything I did.
In my job I spend a lot of time talking about how important it is to expose kids to the real-life world of work while they are young. I guess I didn’t think this applied to kids as young as four years old, but it totally does! My mom owned her own hair salon in our house when I was a little kid, so I was at work with her all the time. My dad was a self-employed electrician for most of my childhood and I fondly recall going with him on Saturdays to “help” him. I took these experiences for granted, but the more I think about it, they absolutely had a positive impact on me and the way I feel about working.
Julius had a blast just following me around at work as I filed papers, worked with our auditors to answer questions, typed up e-mails, worked on a report, and talked on the phone. He asked me great questions (for a four year old) about what I was doing. And more than once he told me that he was really happy to be at work with me because he often wonders what I do all day long. Go figure!
Somehow, when you work in an office with other people, it seems inappropriate to have your kiddo bopping around. Right now I have enough space and flexibility at work that it’s really not a big deal if he’s here every once in a while. In fact, I’m pretty sure Julius’ visit this week brightened the day for my office mates.
Hm, maybe he can help me with my next funding appeal mailing…stamps and mailing labels are just as much fun as stickers, right? Youngest intern ever!