Recently, the internet is flooded with images of the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and her adorable little munchkin baby Neve at UN general assembly at the age of 3 months. Subsequent to this, the internet went crazy about how women are now considering taking their children to work.
Off late I have seen this a lot… I had been to Jobs for Her road show last year, where I was a mentor. A lady had come there with a 21 day old baby, completely swaddled and peacefully sleeping. I was amazed. I was not aware that I could take my kid also to my workplace. Later on I found out that kids were allowed at a lot of places.
It’s only post that, that I started taking Suraj with me for events. The first time I took him with me was for the Augmont Gold launch at Mumbai. I was clueless on how to keep him entertained for 3 hours while attending the launch. To my surprise, a couple of young interns from the company, would regularly come and check on me and also volunteer to take him for a stroll, which he happily went. He was around 3 and half years during that time. Kids for sure can surprise you. Since, that I have taken him for similar events. Yes, there are challenges also, some of which may are foreseen and some which are unpredictable.
Initially I was scared that I would be criticized for straining the child but trust me it is the best experience that we both had. The people around are very helpful and trust me the attitude of people has changed completely. My little one was surprisingly mature, whenever I took him out for my work. The problem was a lot of these meets happen on Saturdays, and that is when he also has his off, so instead of me feeling guilty for leaving him alone even for a couple of hours over the weekend, I take him along with me. Most of the corporate also have creche facilities, wherein they allow guest to drop their children for a couple of hours.
When we take children to our workplace and expose them to our working environment, unknowingly, they intake a lot of things from the surroundings. It is important for children also to understand, that their toys and clothes come to them only after their parents work hard. It is important to understand for the child, that if their parent is leaving them for a few hours to go to work, then how and why they are working. Modern Day parenting is all about being more transparent and approachable to my children. I remember going to my Father’s Office (he worked in the State Electricity board in the interiors of Maharashtra and the outskirts of Mumbai) once a year, wherever he was posted and also going to my brother’s office and my parents coming down to the Courts, when I was working. I have had friend’s whose parents were professionals and they would always hang around in their parent’s office.
There is one particular incidence, which is still fresh in my mind. I did an ad shoot and open mic on the same day traveling to different locations within Mumbai and the kid who is generally clingy was totally independent.It was my first performance at the Habitat, which itself was a big deal for me. I had seen videos of EIC and other groups performing there and knew this place was magic. I just wanted to be there once as an audience but I was lucky to get a chance to perform. We took the corner table. Ordered French fries and a a juice and were chilling.
When my name was announced I was nervous not because I was performing but what would Suraj do? Would he cry, talk loudly? Spill the juice? Multiple questions in my mind. I walked ahead. Started with my story. I guess by then everyone knew I had come with a kid. In between my performance.
He realized I am not next to him and started saying Amma loudly. I was scared.Just then I saw the guy standing next to the camera immediately rush to him. I was confused should I stop or continue. Just then the audience snapped their fingers which means continue we are with you. Trust me those were the best 10 minutes of my life. I don’t mind speaking in front of 10000 people but the beauty talking in front of your children is different.
Just pouring my heart out.