Babies and children in the workplace
by Greta Belanger deJong
In this issue you will see a beautiful photo by Josh Blumenthal of our dear friends Melissa Bond (a frequent CATALYST contributor) and Chase Fetter in the act of being married. (That’s Jerry Lazar officiating, and the accompanying story’s author, Dorothee Kocks, is to the left). That was last September. Now the Bond-Fetters are heavy with child, as is “Babying the Buddha” columnist Kindra Fehr.
I’ve never had any of my own, but like babies, and I really like kids. (As I said to my friend Kristen recently: “I want children in my life. I just don’t want them in my body.”) Therefore it’s curious that I’m becoming a de facto spokesperson for babies in the workplace.
A few years ago CATALYST received a first place “Psychologically Healthy Workplace” award from the Utah Psychological Association, in part for our open-door policy regarding babies and children. When you have a lot of young women employed, and you love them and don’t want them to leave, letting them bring their newborns to work is the logical thing. Then the babies grow, and we get attached to them, too; toddlers have proved to be good (or at least amusing) inter-office couriers. A baby would never be unamused for long, with so many doting adults.
Eventually the mommies would go home, some to be full time moms, others—like art director Polly Mottonen—to be part of the cyber workforce (in addition to being a full time mom; it sure looks like giving birth grants a woman an extra six hours to every day.)
Someone wrote a recently released book about babies in the workplace, in which I was quoted. People magazine is working on a story re. babies in the workplace, and has talked to the CATALYST staff several times. Now the Boston Globe is calling, re. the same subject.
How do I weigh in on babies in the workplace? They’re counter-productive. So are these farting dogs under my desk. There’s more to life—and a workday—than productivity. Max Mottonen, age 7, who came to work inutero, still comes to staff meetings. He pays attention and participates (“Only one person talking at a time, please!”). And leaves me notes like the one pictured here. Too bad they have to go to school. Maybe kids in the workplace is an idea I’ll just have to pioneer. Maybe an intern program for the prepubescent crowd. We could do all kinds of fun stuff. We could have an office test kitchen, could go on field trips, and have a big kids section in CAT. And they could walk the dogs. Okay, all you babies, grow! Anty Gret has plans for you. Can’t wait.
— Greta Belanger deJong
Greta Belanger deJong is the editor and publisher ofCATALYST. firstname.lastname@example.org..