Welcome to the May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Role model
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have waxed poetic about how their parenting has inspired others, or how others have inspired them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Let me be clear about this. I am nobody's role model when it comes to parenting. I am somewhat of a pariah within my family of mainstream parents, and most of my friends chuckle and shrug at my crunchy ways.
Having said this, I have accomplished something that will make an impact for mothers in the future - mothers I have never met, who I may never meet, and who will never know my contribution. I am getting a nursing/lactation room built in my work organization's new building.
About one year ago, I was still pumping three times a day for my then almost one-year old. My workspace is comprised largely of cubicles and shared offices. I was fortunate that, although I share an office with a man, I was typically able to find a spare office in which to pump. One day when my officemate was not there, I closed my non-locking door to pump, and in the middle of my session, who should open the door and walk right on in but the director of my entire department. Umm, yeah that was awkward.
I posted a quick note to a local Yahoo mama list to cringe at the fact that I had to give a presentation to the department later that day. One of the responses I received suggested I use the presentation as an opportunity to suggest that the organization create a room for working nursing mothers to help avoid embarrassing walk-ins. Another posted a link with information regarding corporate lactation programs. It dawned on me - due to the passage of the stimulus bill my organization had received funds specifically for the design and construction of a LEED certified green building. The project manager was soliciting feedback and ideas from employees regarding the design. So, I wrote a proposal for inclusion of a facility in which nursing mothers could pump breastmilk.
I confess I was surprised my proposal was received so well. I work predominantly with engineers - male engineers. I wasn't sure if my proposal would be viewed as a woman asking for special privilege. But here is the response I got when I inquired about the status just last month:
I think that your suggestion was great.
We incorporated it into the Criteria Package, and I will ensure that it is carried through and fully developed in the design process.
Thanks for the input and engagement. It is always wonderful and rewarding to work with stakeholders who are involved.
If you have any future thoughts regarding design considerations, please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.
Can I just say… YAY!!!
And here is the proposal that won them over (with *This Organization* substituted for the name of my company):
*This Organization* is in the unique position of being able to design and build a new workplace facility. This is a great opportunity to address an employee need that is lacking at current workspaces. Currently, there is no facility in existing buildings appropriate for women who are new mothers returning to work after maternity leave and need to pump breast milk. When an empty office is available, women can use the empty office; however, the only alternative is the bathroom. These facilities are not adequate or appropriate for this purpose for the following reasons:
• Practicality (you need somewhere to set up a pump near an electrical outlet, something to hold collection bottles, a surface on which to package the milk, a place to sit, and consistent light in the room that will not automatically turn off after 5-10 minutes).
• Unsanitary conditions (this is food for a newborn).
• Lack of privacy (pumping is a very personal and sometimes difficult process; quiet and privacy are preferable.)
I propose that the design for the new building include a private area to be used by nursing mothers. This will provide not only the obvious benefits to the new mother and the new baby, but some distinct benefits to *This Organization*:
• A breast-fed baby is a healthier baby. Healthier babies mean fewer stay-at-home days for mom. In addition, a healthier baby means fewer medical expenses, which is a tremendous financial incentive for federal health insurers.
• An employee with fewer concerns for the welfare of her child is more able to fully focus on her job.
• An employee with a convenient, sanitary, and private location for pumping will have more options in scheduling her day (for example, not having to take long lunches to drive home).
• When recruiting new employees, such facilities may make *This Organization* more competitive and attractive for potential employees that are or soon will be of child-bearing age.
• Elimination of embarrassing walk-ins into non-locking offices (of which I personally have experienced once, and almost a second time)
To set up a basic facility, the following things would be needed:
• A small room with a lock on the door
• A chair and small table
• An electrical outlet
In addition, it would be helpful to have easy access to a small sink and refrigerator from the room.
I hope that you will consider my proposal and see what a valuable contribution this small addition to the design of the new building can make in the quality of life for a potentially significant number of our employees. By building a LEED-certified building, *This Organization* is staying on the cutting edge of environmental sustainability. I would like to see *This Organization* stay on the cutting edge of providing a healthy work environment and excellent benefits for employees also. I believe this would be a step in that direction.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Woman Seeking Inspiration — Seeking Mother's struggles and joys to find her own path in motherhood have inspired others — to her surprise! (@seekingmother )
- Paving the Way — Jessica at This is Worthwhile makes a conscious effort every day to be a role model. (@tisworthwhile )
- No Rules Without Reason — The Recovering Procrastinator wants to inspire her husband to discipline their children gently. (@jenwestpfahl)
- Creating a Culture of Positive Parenting Role Models — Michelle at The Parent Vortex shows parents at the playground how to do a front wrap cross carry and tells nurses about her successful home births, as a way of modeling natural parenting in public. (@TheParentVortex)
- Making A Difference for Mamas — Shana at Tales of Minor Interest took an embarrassing pumping incident at work and turned it into an opportunity for all the employees who breastfeed.
- Inspiring Snowflakes — Joni Rae at Tales of Kitchen Witch Momma is a role model for the most important people: her children. (@kitchenwitch)
- Paying it Forward — Amber at Strocel.com inspires new (and often scared) mamas with these simple words: "It will be OK." (@AmberStrocel)
- A SAHD's View on Parenting Role Models — Chris at Stay At Home Dad in Lansing doesn't have many role models as a SAHD — but hopes to be one to his daughter. (@tessasdad)
- Am I a Role Model? A Review — Deb at Science@home brings attachment parenting out of the baby age and shows how it applies (with science fun!) to parenting through all of childhood. (@ScienceMum)
- Say Something Good — Arwyn at Raising My Boychick reminds women that it is within our right to be proud of ourselves without apology. (@RaisingBoychick)
- Try, Try Again — Thomasin at Propson Palingenesis wants to inspire like the Little Engine that Could.
- I'm a Parenting Inspiration, Who Knew? — Sarah at OneStarryNight has received several beautiful comments about just what an inspiration she has been, if not in real life then definitely online. (@starrymom)
- That Little Thing — NavelgazingBajan at Navelgazing demonstrates the ripple effect, one status update at a time. (@BlkWmnDoBF)
- How Has Your Day Been? — mrs green @ littlegreenblog inspired her friend to be an active listener for her children. (@myzerowaste)
- No, Thank You! — If you are reading Maman A Droit's post, you've probably inspired her. (@MamanADroit)
- My Top 3 Natural Parenting Principles — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now describes how her family's natural and Montessori principles inspired others. (@DebChitwood)
- My Hope for a Better Life — Mandy at Living Peacefully With Children hopes her choices inspire her children toward a better life.
- Natural Parenting Felt Natural — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes didn't plan on natural parenting — but her son led her there. (@sheryljesin)
- Rest. Is it even possible? — Janet at where birth and feminism intersect has found that even role models need rest — and that there are ways to fit it into everyday parenting life. (@feministbirther)
- May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Role model — Lauren at Hobo Mama was the fortunate recipient of a seed of inspiration, and has been privileged to plant some of those seeds herself, though she didn't know it at the time. (@Hobo_Mama)
- crunchspiration — the grumbles at grumbles and grunts wants to inspire others to parent from their heart. (@thegrumbles)
- No Extra Inspiration Required — Zoey at Good Goog doesn't think she inspires anyone and wasn't inspired by anyone in return — except by her daughter. (@zoeyspeak)
- Upstream Parenting — Luschka at Diary of a First Child blogs for that one mother in one hundred who will find her words helpful. (@diaryfirstchild)
- Parenting Advice for the Girl from Outer Space — If Mommy Soup at Cream of Mommy Soup could give one piece of inspirational advice to new parents, it would be to parent with kindness. (@MommySoup)
- Natural Parenting Carnival — Role Model — Sarah at Consider Eden feels the pressure at trying — and failing — to live up to her role models. (@ConsiderEden)
- May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Role Model — Dionna at Code Name: Mama encourages natural parenting mamas to take joy in the fact that they are touching lives and making a difference to children every day. (@CodeNameMama)
- Inspiration Goes Both Ways — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! is flustered that people consider her a breastfeeding role model — but the lovely comments she's received prove it's so. (@bfmom)
- My Seven — Danielle at born.in.japan has identified seven role models in her life who brought her to natural parenting. Who are your seven? (@borninjp)
- A Quiet Example — Alison at BluebirdMama was one of the first parents in her group of friends — and has come to see almost all those friends follow in her natural birthing footsteps, whether intentionally or not.
- Gentle Discipline Warrior — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries has inspired a gentle discipline movement — join her! (@babydust)
- Change The World... One Parent At A Time — Mamapoekie is more comfortable inspiring parents online than she is in real life. (@mamapoekie)
- Inspirational Parenting — pchanner at A Mom's Fresh Start has intentionally tried to be a role model but was unprepared for how soon someone would take notice. (@pchanner)
- My Inspiration — Erin at A Beatnik's Beat on Life has written thank-you letters to everyone who's inspired her to become the lactivist and natural parenting advocate she is today. (@babybeatnik)