If you read Freelance Parent—or even the blog’s title for that matter—then you realize that it’s not just about how to start and run a freelance business. It’s also about how to combine that with parenting; how to juggle both aspects of your life. Freelancing is an amazing career option, and a big reason for that is because it does allow us to be home where we can parent.
Attending BlogWorld Expo last weekend was sort of an eye-opening experience. While the actual BlogWorld leadership was supportive of the fact that I needed to be in close proximity to my baby for nutritional purposes, the Las Vegas Convention Center was not.
Now, I understand the arguments behind not having a bunch of kids at a professional conference. In my mind, it boils down to responsible parents. Had I actually been allowed to take my baby into sessions, I would have only done so when she was sleeping or quiet, and I would have sat in the back so as to leave quickly should she start to be disruptive. That’s just common courtesy.
The weirdest reaction I received probably came from the “gentleman” who informed me that children should not be allowed in Las Vegas. I got the distinct impression that he thought I sucked as a human being for having Dot there. I stuck up for myself, though:
The best reaction was from one of the BlogHer bigwigs who assures me I should come to their conference where they once had a session delivered by a presenter while she was breastfeeding.
One of my biggest concerns was that she might disturb other people by crying. Fortunately, she did me proud, and if you added up all the time she spent crying all weekend, it might have totaled about four minutes. Trust me, that is way less time than many of the attendees spent whining about how slow the internet connection was. Considering it was free and there were thousands of people using it, I found their fussing to be more inappropriate than hers.
The longer I spend dwelling on the subject, the more bothered I am that people feel that a baby (that they are not even expected to care for) is an inconvenience. Sure, if she’d been crying a lot, I could see how that would be quite frustrating. But for people to be annoyed just because a baby was in the room…that’s really their problem more than mine and Dot’s, isn’t it?
In some ways, breastfeeding is a sacrifice on the mother’s part. In other ways, it is more than its own reward. Still, I think it’s appalling that I should also be expected to sacrifice my career because I need to physically be close to my baby. I find it insulting, as a matter of fact.
In a manner of speaking, I really did feel somewhat discriminated against, and I’m not quick to jump on that bandwagon. It felt to me as if I was expected to choose between being a breastfeeding mother and being a professional woman. How is it possible that in 2008, we still don’t see that it is possible to be both?