When Melody Blackwell, the new mom and the employee Maryland Farms Chiropractic in Brentwood, Tennessee took her baby to work, she was just doing what millions of mothers do every day – multitask. So when her employer took a photo of her working with an infant on one hand, a phone on a shoulder, and a notebook in the other hand – it went viral.
Blackwell had just returned from her three-month maternity leave. She brings little Nora-Jo to the office once a week while working remotely for other four days. “My boss is very supportive of baby bonding with mom and breastfeeding so I knew she would be pretty flexible with me. And I have been a loyal employee there for over 4 years. We just talked about how we would make it work and this is what we came up with,” Blackwell told TheHustleIsFemale.
When Dr. Elizabeth Baker, her boss, saw the employee at the desk that day, she decided to capture the moment and post on the company’s business page captioning it “Workin’ mamas.🤱She makes it look easy. It helps that Baby Nora-Jo is so sweet and content just being with and near her mama. Would y’all mind sharing this? We need more small and large businesses to see this is doable and should be allowed more often! The newborn months are so short. (She has transitioned to working from home mostly, but comes in when we need the extra hands. She’s still breastfeeding and baby needs mama! She has many times for feeding breaks while they are in the office.) #WorkinMamas post a pic of you and your little ones while you work!”
And the working mothers did reply. Kristine Hill commented “I take care of my 7 month old granddaughter and have since she was 2 months old and work at the same time. Now, I do work from home. But, I still get my work done. I answer emails, send emails, phone calls. I get my work done.”
Not everybody was in tune with the photo and its message though. Olga Deyhle said “This is wrong. There should be better maternity leave laws not allowing mothers to bring their babies to work. No one can work productively while caring for a newborn. And no one can take care of a newborn while working. Babies and Moms deserve a break from work and the chance to focus on the baby months alone without facing financial hardship.”
Blackwell agrees that not every office environment might be good for babies and children. “…but I think a lot more offices could be a lot more flexible with working moms. Especially when they’re breastfeeding. I know many moms can still be productive while taking care of their child. It actually motivates me to work harder because I want this situation to work, so I make sure I am being productive. I do hope more businesses are able to offer situations like mine to working moms in the future,” she adds.
Blackwell’s case is a fresh breath of air for the women empowerment movement. We can be caring moms and outstanding professionals at the same time.