Last fall, Licia Ronzulli, Member of European Parliament from Italy, wore her baby daughter Victoria to a vote at Strasbourg. Her six week old baby snuggled very contentedly against her chest, swaddled in a simple sling. According to The Daily Mail, Ms. Ronzulli occasionally looked down from the proceedings to give her daughter a little kiss on the forehead.
I think it’s a pretty civilized moment when mom gets to carry her baby and be engaged in her work life at the same time. I was reminded of this story via “The Feminist Breeder,” a blogger who is, herself, concerned about finishing her pre-law requirements while tending to a newborn. She found this image inspiring, and I thought other expecting mothers might be, too. I completed a two year program in childbirth eduction with a newborn slung to me for most of it. (In fact, we attended a seven hour workshop together when my daughter was five days old, I took lots of notes and nursed).
What’s troubling is that for so many women in the US, there’s often a very early separation and then fairly extreme, inflexible options when it comes to working. You’re either in a kind of corporate lock-down with a 60 hour work week or you’re a stay-at-home mom. Of course there are many exceptions and women struggle to cobble together flexible arrangements as creatively as they can. Every woman’s story is different. Sometimes taking a baby to work doesn’t make sense; it ends up being a lot harder for everyone involved. But sometimes it’s a darn good idea. At those times, it’s nice to have relaxed rules in place, as they were for Ms. Ronzulli, that allow for bringing baby to work.
Here she is rocking her roles as nurturing mother and composed politician simultaneously: