I post this picture today with a huge smile on my face and great affection and gratitude in my heart for all those marvelous employers in my past who, when it was at all possible, allowed me to show up for work with one or more of my children in tow. As a result of their forward-thinking and open-minded largesse, I have, among other things, answered phones, served food, sold Feminist books and zines, written newspaper articles, organized women’s rights demonstrations, edited newsletters, and cleaned other people’s houses — all with a sweet, suckling, slumbering monkey strapped to my chest or slung onto my back. And believe me, it wasn’t just a political or revolutionary act for me to have done so — though, looking back now, I very clearly realize that it certainly was that, as well. No, for a young, working-class family just starting out, like we were, it frequently meant the difference between groceries or no groceries.
The gift that was given to me by these employers was two-fold: 1.) Because I could bring my baby with me, I didn’t have to pay a babysitter — and thus my entire desperately-needed paycheck was mine to keep. And 2.) Because I had my child with me, my mind and heart were there with me, as well — and that contributed always to focus and excellence in my work. I was helped personally, financially, professionally, and creatively. It made me a better employee and it made me a better mother — which is, of course, the most important job in the world: creating and shaping extraordinary human beings.
So, to all employers, managers, business owners, professional organizations, multi-national corporations, and governmental bodies who both encourage and support women and mothers on their journeys toward becoming the most fulfilled, prosperous, empowered, amazing beings they can be…
a most grateful and heartfelt THANK YOU.
“European Member of Parliament, Licia Ronzulli (an MEP from Italy), took her seven-week old daughter, Victoria, to work at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. [It was not a ‘Take-Your-Child-to-Work’ event.] She kept her baby carefully cradled against her in a wrap and occasionally leant to kiss her on the forehead. This photo was taken as she voted on proposals to improve women’s employment rights and was broadcast and published in newspapers around the world.”