When I was pregnant with my first son, my very generous and fun-loving team at my office not only threw me a baby shower but also decided to start a pool and bet on the date of my baby’s arrival. They coopted a huge white board in one of our open areas, drew a gigantic calendar on it (see photo!), and placed their bets as to when “George” would arrive. (We called him George in utero, in reference to that hilarious Abominable Snowman and Daffy Duck clip – “and I will hold you, and love you, and squeeze you, and call you George.”)
A few weeks later, when little “George” finally made his appearance, I wanted to share the joy with the team that so anticipated his arrival. A natural way to do this seemed to be to take him into the office for a visit, so I could see many colleagues all at once. I waited until he was about three months old. He had his shots by then, and I had finally gotten the hang of leaving the house without carrying half the contents of our home with me.
To set up the visit, I reached out to a few colleagues I wanted to be sure to see, sent an e-mail to say there would be a “George”-sighting on a given day within a certain time window (important not to commit to a specific time!), and put it on the books. I also planned a lunch that same day with my boss, at a time my baby was likely to be sleeping. She and I had a chance to catch up and talk about my return over some yummy Thai food, while baby slept in his Moby wrap.
Since those early days, I’ve brought my kids into the office a handful of times. Once I had a toddler (or two) on my hands, I tried to make sure the visits were either right at the end of the day (or super short!), as they loved to take off running full speed down the hallways. I’ve also brought them in on a weekend or two, when they can explore a bit more, delight in riding elevators, pretend they’re typing at my desk, and draw fun pictures on my white board.
4 Reasons Bringing Your Kiddo to Your Workplace for a Visit Can Be a Good Idea
- Sharing good news is really healthy! Positive psychology actually has a word for it: “capitalization.” The more you share positive things about your day and life with others, the more everyone benefits from those good things. And I’d call a wonderfully cute little baby, a pretty darn positive thing.
- You can reconnect with colleagues. They probably last saw you HUGE and perhaps miserable. Perhaps they’ve seen photos of your baby, but there’s nothing quite like meeting that precious little one in person. You’re breaking up their workday with a change of scenery and some joy (for which they will thank you), and chances are they’ll be super understanding if a baby cries or a toddler escapes your grip.
- It normalizes working parenthood for others in your workplace. Knowing there’s a working mom down your hall and seeing her in action in her mama life as mama are two different things. Having your colleagues see you with your kiddos makes their existence very real. I truly believe that the more we can be open and transparent about our lives when we are at the office, the better (for so many reasons).
- Your kiddos get a window into your world. Sure, your 3 month-old won’t remember that office visit. But they’ll have that photo you took of them while they were they. And as they get older, you’ll be able to tell them stories about your day that they’ll be able to relate to better if they know where those stories take place. The visits weave together work and home.
My son’s kindergarten teacher had a baby a few days before school started this year, so she has been out on maternity leave. Her husband is their long-term sub (what an awesome arrangement, no?), and both mama and baby have been in a few times for a visit to the classroom. These visits truly made an impression on my 5-year old, who has lots to say about the baby…and who has taken a renewed interest in rocking a Cabbage Patch Kid doll to sleep. I love that he sees his teachers as parents and people, too.
So, you’re sold on taking the kids to the office for a visit? (No worries if you’re not – it’s not for everyone.) Step two: encourage your partner to do the same! We need to work on normalizing this whole working parent thing for all working parents.
Have you brought your children to your office for a visit? How did it go? Share below in comments!
Heading back to work after maternity leave? Get help with the transition by joining the next session of Mindful Return!