In a recent blog post, fashion mogul Rachel Zoe declares that opening an office nursery is the best business decision she has ever made. A handful of her employees all became mums around the same time, and she realised that it could only benefit the success of her company if she put her money where her mouth was by making it easier for them to balance family and career. Bravo, Rachel!
Her advice to the rest of us working mums? “NEVER APOLOGIZE for being dedicated to your kids and challenge those around you to not only acknowledge but celebrate your ability to be a mother and an asset in the workplace. Ask your employers to help you do the job the best you can…”
Well, it looks like the floor in now open for requests. Shall I begin?
Here are just some things I’d love to see happen to make the lives of working mums so much easier:
1. Increased Paid Maternity Leave
We don’t get enough, period. Our taint stitches have barely healed before we’re booted from the comfort of sweatpants and ice packs to business suits and endless meetings. How about giving parents some extra time with their tots to get used to the new gig before haulin’ ’em back in to the old one? And how about giving them the security of knowing they can pay the bills now that they see how CRAZY expensive kids are? Yeah. THAT.
2. Work-at-Home Days
If the baby is sick, the kids have a concert, or you pinky-swore you’d chaperone one short school excursion this year, there will come a time when you’d rather work from home most of the day than lose an entire day’s pay. So companies should find a way to be more flexible to a parent’s needs to get work done at home rather than force them to take sick days. Heck, having kids basically increases a human’s immune system a million times over—we’ll barely ever need real sick days for ourselves if we just get to spend a little time with them. Everyone wins!
3. On-Site Childcare for All
Having our littles close by is a comfort to the babies, mums, and the childcare workers. Being able to pop in at lunchtime to see your tot could reduce stress levels for both parties, making the day easier on everyone. Also? A great excuse to get away from that annoying co-worker who wants to talk about his vast collection of handkerchiefs. “Sorry, I’d love to hear about your 1927 linen hanky with the coffee stain, but I need to see how my baby is doing right, um, now.”
4. Breastfeeding Lounges
Whether you need to nurse, pump, or simply have a clean, quiet place to cuddle with your baby, a dedicated private space where everyone feels more comfortable can make the feeding more relaxing, the pumping more fruitful, and the alone time less likely to be spent checking Facebook.
5. Better Vending Machines
Having the chance to fulfill a craving for salty or sweet is always nice, but what would be even better is to have a selection of goods mums really need at the push of a button: a variety of baby formulas, dummys, nappys, toddler snacks, sippy cups, healthy mom-snacks that help with breastmilk production, and Lansinoh for cracked nipples, is a good start.
6. A Kid Gym
The reason school-aged kids have recess is because they need to run around to release the wiggles and giggles and crankies. Mums who balance work and family life need this, too—duh. Fill the space with a massive trampoline that kids and mums can bounce away the need for tantrums together!
7. An On-Call Potty Training Expert
Consistency is key to successful potty training, which makes it hard for working mums who are gone half the day. Keeping an on-call expert who can make sure that the program that’s happening at home is happening during the work day just might prevent the potty debacle from dragging out too long, therefore ensuring a lifetime of adoration and appreciation from staff members tired of pulling chunks of poo out of their toddler’s overalls after 10-hour work days.
8. Minivan Parking
Not only do we need ample space for our amphitheaters-on-wheels, we also need enough room between those spaces to fit a person with a massive nappy bag over her shoulder to pull out an infant in a bucket seat to carry in the crook of her arm as she holds the hand of her toddler. As someone who has had to crawl back into her car through the boot with a newborn and a toddler because the cars on either side were too close to open the doors? I’d appreciate this. A LOT A LOT.
9. Indoor Stroller Parking
Those bad boys sure fold up nicely, but not when loaded up with all the puffy and jangly accoutrements you need when actually out and about with the kids. Considering that the mums need to get from the car with all the baby stuff and work stuff to the building’s childcare center (while presumably also carrying a large coffee), it only makes sense to use the stroller as indoor transportation. Maybe to keep things more secure there should be something like a coat-check station to make sure no toddlers accidentally swipe the $35 rubber giraffe from your stroller’s cupholder when you’re at your desk? Is that taking it too far? I don’t think so.
10. Spa Showers
Not gym showers, I’m talking Zen-like super-private showers. We don’t get to experience long, quiet, uninterrupted showers once we reproduce. Also handy for when the baby barfs in your hair when you visit him during lunch break.
11. Mandatory Naptimes
Yeah, for the kids. BUT ALSO FOR THE PARENTS. Cushy cots, white noise machines, and blissful sleep after lunch make mummies a happy bunch.
What else would you want to make working mums’ lives easier?