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My Boss Said Yes

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This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about your most unlikely support. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 22nd through August 4th!


I have often said that I am one of the luckiest mamas in the world: I got to work and feed my baby as she needed to be fed because my boss said, “Yes.”

I was a ballroom dance instructor before I got married.  We got married, got pregnant, and I kept teaching until I was put on bedrest…once that confinement was over, I worked part time at the dance studio.  The understanding was that I would help out until our child was born, and then I was going to retire because I wanted to stay at home with her.  At the time, I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way.

Here we are goofing around after an event at the studio – dancers – always good for a pose!

Baby arrived, we are blissfully on our way as a family.  I miss dancing, and I miss teaching, however, being home with this incredible miracle of life is so amazing.  My husband is traveling a lot for his company.  Puma and I are finding our way as a MotherBaby.

Around the time when Puma turned four months old, I get a call from my former employer.  He asks how we are, how are things going, and what would it take for me to come back to work for him.  Mostly because I think he will never go for it, I say, “I would need to bring Puma with me.”

“Yes. Ok.  When do you want to start?”

My jaw hit the floor, and then the realization that my boss was serious.  He was saying yes to me doing what I loved all day long – dancing, teaching, and being a mommy.

He was true to his word.  He let me set-up a make shift nursery in what became “our” office.  I put a changing table in the women’s room.  I got to wear her in my sling as I taught.  She got to nurse when she needed to nurse, no questions asked.

I did bring a bottle of pumped milk to work with me on the days I knew I might not be able to nurse her right on cue – maybe I would be in the middle of a management duty, or she would wake up from a nap when it wasn’t immediately convenient to nurse.

I have been eternally grateful for the opportunity to keep working and still achieve my first priority – nurture and raise our child.  I know I was so blessed with a boss who valued me enough as an employee that he was willing to try something that is pretty unheard of in the USA.  It breaks my heart every time I hear about or see our Bradley™ students agonize over finding childcare before their maternity leave is over.

I am ready to find a way to normalize the MotherBabys in the workplace.  Surely, if I could manage in a setting that had me moving constantly, training staff and teaching students, someone who has a more sedentary job could do the same.  I still have to work out the piece about teachers being allowed to bring their babies to work – I know that the idea of breastfeeding in front of children of any age will cause problems for most people.  The irony is, that especially among the younger set, they are the most curious and accepting of nature’s way.

So here it is – an official thank you, in front of the whole world, to my amazing boss and dance partner, Harrison Powers, who made it possible for me to keep my love for dance alive while I got to do what is nearest and dearest to my heart: be with our baby.

She went on to nurse for 22 months, due in large part because we got off to a good start at home, and I was able to work without being away from her when she was an infant.  If and when I find them, I will post a picture of her first birthday party at the studio.  It was a beautiful tribute to this little gal who reminded us all of the joys of childhood as we got to watch her learn to crawl, dance and walk…in that order.  Most of all, it is a testimony to the big heart and open mind of one man, who knew that a MotherBaby should not be separated and did everything he could to make it so.

Ysabella still remembers being carried up high like this - Harrison was trying to teach her to "fly"

Ysabella still remembers being carried up high like this – Harrison was trying to teach her to “fly”

 

Puma learning to walk at the studio

Puma learning to walk at the studio

P.S. How the story went on: I kept on teaching and managing the studio until Puma was 18 months old. At that point, it was clear that we all needed more space.  Harrison was kind enough to let me run a management training course once a week – it served us both.  I am now a SAHM working mama to four kiddos, and he has moved on to being a vacation rental concierge and selling homes in the Phoenix area (visit him HERE ).

 


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