Seven months ago I welcomed a cute and cuddly little bundle of joy into my life. Her dad and I call her Charlotte. She’s our first child and has proved to provide more joy, but also more work, than I ever could have imagined. Some of you reading this know exactly what I’m talking about and many of you may be able to relate only partially, or not at all, but I’m guessing that each and every one of you know what it’s like to have to balance work with personal commitments. (If you don’t, please share your secret with me!)
Residence life at OSU has a history of being a family-friendly environment, which is something that I take for granted since that’s always been my experience. When I came back to work after eight weeks home with my baby, she came with me the entire summer. Even now I still pack her up and wheel her in twice a week. (In January her “come with mommy to work” days will be over) When people outside of our office, either friends, family or other professionals I work with, ask where she stays while I’m at work, I’m both delighted and embarrassed to share with them that she comes with me. I get so many people who say, “that’s great” or “I wish I could bring insert-their-child’s-name-here to work with me.” Personally, I love it and I hate it and I kind of can’t wait for it to be over. Judge me, as you will for being antsy for these days to end.
What do I enjoy about having Charlotte at work with me?
- I think she’s pretty cute and I love to show her off. I’d be lying if I claimed otherwise. (ed. note — keep reading for photographic proof)
- It’s a lot easier to pack stuff all together and drag her along with me. I have less to pack and get home earlier since I don’t have to pick up/drop her off anywhere.
- I don’t have to worry about food for her for that day. I could be more specific, but I’ll spare you the details here.
- I don’t feel like I’m missing out on her new “tricks.” Just before I started writing this, she was crawling to my feet screaming “ma-ma-meh-meh-MEH” to be picked up. I love that I don’t have to hear about things like that second-hand. I was there for it.
- She gets to interact with other people and they get to enjoy her. I love the combo of her developing social skills and others just getting to smile when they see her.
- She makes me smile. It’s nice to have that kind of motivation in your day.
- It was way easier to get back into the swing of things when I first came back with her. She helped me ease into things and I probably came back earlier than I would have if I wasn’t bringing her along with me. I was still able to be quite productive even with her here when she was younger. Things are a little different now that she’s crawling.
Why having my daughter here isn’t all sunshine and rainbows…
- I know that by choosing to have her here, I’m being judged by the people that I work with. The truth is, because of the precedent set ahead of me, I might even be judged MORE if I chose not to bring her with me. Either way, I know that someone out there is assuming I’m less competent, less committed to my work, or less considerate of others. (Or any combination of the above)
- I can’t always get things done as fast as I used to. She’s a joy, but also a distraction.
- Life is less predictable. Wardrobe malfunctions, illness, general crankiness (the kid, not me) and feeding habits make scheduling a bit harder and sometimes interrupt previously scheduled plans.
- Our campus, as a whole, is not always ADA friendly. I didn’t look at that too carefully until I was rolling around a stroller, but some buildings are great and others need a lot of work to really be accessible.
- I am hypersensitive about every whine, cry and peep that comes out of my daughter in an attempt to be considerate of others around me. I can’t tell you how many times I leave the room with Charlotte because she’s making noise and someone says to me “I couldn’t even hear her” or “she’s fine”.
- My office is a pig sty. My desk has always been cluttered, but the assorted children’s toys add a different level of mess and it’s hard to get your work done, take care of your child AND clean all at once. Read more