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While I was still on maternity leave from my employer, I was trying to keep my options open. I knew I wanted to be a work-at-home mom, but those jobs are hard to come by. I had my first phone interview when my son was only a few weeks old, but ultimately it wasn’t the right opportunity.
Then another opportunity came up, but it meant an in-person meeting right around Thanksgiving when it would be hard to find someone to care for my son. I told the interviewer that I would need a week or so to which he told me to just bring my son with me.
Planning for everything, except an infant poop
I went to my first business meeting when my son was only about seven weeks old. To say I was terrified is a gross understatement. He still cried a ton and I was exclusively pumping due to huge problems with breastfeeding (but that conversation is for another day). So I had to time it all perfectly to give myself the best chance of success.
Generally speaking, I don’t suffer from anxiety. For whatever reason, I’ve always been pretty self-assured and confident in who I am but taking a baby to a business meeting makes me anxious because you can’t control what he will do.
Thankfully, he slept through the majority of that first business meeting. But then came the awkward part. He woke up toward the end and noisily filled his diaper. I had to excuse myself to change him but this was a small office with only men working there so there was no changing table. We did a diaper change on the floor and just tried to survive the experience.
Then came the awkward part. The guy interviewing me wanted to hold my seven-week-old son. I didn’t know him at all and felt a bit creeped out so I said no because it was cold and flu season, which I used as an excuse frequently because of the timing of my son being born in late September.
We shook hands and said goodbye. Ultimately, it wasn’t the right move for me, but I learned a lot about being a mom from that experience.
A full day at a gym for work
One of the jobs I do to be a work-at-home mom is being the assistant race director for a running and triathlon company. We host the annual Arnold Indoor Triathlon as part of the Arnold Sports Festival. One of the largest jobs to prep for that event is setting up stationary bikes with computers to track mileage.
My son was only five months old at the time so he went along with me for the full-day job. I planned for him to nap for most of it, which he apparently thought was pretty funny because he did no such thing.
In fact, because he wouldn’t nap, he screamed loudly throughout most of it. While we were much better at breastfeeding at this point, I’d never say we were good at it so not even that calmed him down.
Eventually, I ended up wearing him, which was super tough for the up and down nature of putting the computers on the bikes with wiring that runs from the wheel up to the handlebars. But he was quiet, and I got my work done. It was like doing squats with an extra 10-pound weight constantly for two hours, but we both survived the experience.
The athletes who arrived early for check-in absolutely loved my son. We bonded over funny stories of taking babies places and I finally relaxed from the situation of having him cry loudly in the gym for about an hour before we found success.
A walking, talking one-year-old at meetings
I’d finally done it! I had survived business meetings with an infant who would cry often throughout the day. I figured that would make business meetings so much easier, and it did to a certain extent.
But then along comes a tiny person with a very strong will and mind of his own. Plus, he’s super active so good luck getting him to sit for a business meeting. A few days before his first birthday, I took him to a meeting with the local city’s administration to talk about a road running race we were hosting.
I planned it all out perfectly so that he would nap on the way there and then be occupied eating lunch during the meeting. It worked for the first half hour, but then once his belly was full he was ready to run!
Thankfully, the world is now sympathetic to working moms. The woman I was meeting with pulled out every trick she had in her office to keep him happy and occupied and he loved it! He got special attention and I got to take notes and ensure I made it through our full agenda.
Then we went over to the restaurant where the post-race party would take place. The owner thought he was pretty cute and pretty much gave him free rein to run around while we went over the event’s setup. My son is loud and wants to join every conversation even though he doesn’t say any recognizable words yet (though I’m really pushing for Momma to be his first word!).
By the end of the meeting, he was so worn out that he took a second nap in the car on the way home.
Taking a baby with you on a business meeting is never easy but some patience and the right person to meet with, it can be a success. Never show up to the meeting with a little one unannounced though because that could end poorly for everyone involved.