When every day is “Bring your Child to Work” day

One of the great perks of owning a tiny business like mine is that I have a lot of freedom to do things like bring my kids to work with me.

I love that I get to spend my days with my kids and that they get to be incorporated into my life rather than having to try to go back and forth between different modes of being.

But…I’m going to be honest, small children aren’t exactly conducive to a wildly productive work environment.

Lately, my 18 month old has started doing the following:

Step 1: Dump toys out of toy bin and line them up underneath mommy’s feet.

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Step 2: Climb on bins (possibly fall down) to reach Mommy’s lap, keyboard, or pens.

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Step 3: Use bins as a boost to reach Mommy’s lap

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Step 4: Sit on Mommy’s lap! Mission accomplished

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Apparently, she was sleepy, because now I have a sleeping toddler on my lap.

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I love having this moment with my baby. I love holding her while she sleeps. I love getting to be here for her. And yet…it’s a real productivity killer.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how our work environments do or don’t support our families. I have recently hired a wonderful nanny to watch my girls for a few hours every day, and it has made a huge difference in my productivity and frankly in my mental health. It’s been a relief knowing there was another adult in the world who could consistently watch my children and be an influence in their lives. It’s been satisfying to have time to do more of the work I need to be doing to make my business work the way I want it to and feel like I had time to do it well.

On the other hand, I love including my kids in my life and feeling like they are an integral part of my life rather than an afterthought. My children are little people that I want to include and nurture through my life and my work. I want to provide for them financially, but I know they need so much more.

Sometimes, I feel like these conversations devolve into the camps of “Children need their mothers” on one side with the “Parents deserve lives, too” on the other, and I think that both of these things are important and worth considering. For today, I’m working with a sweet baby in my lap. Some days, I’m working with my daughters quietly playing nearby. And sometimes, I’m trying to figure out why the pants I brought for my daughter to change into are making her cry. Is that balance? For me, today, I think it is.