Returning from maternity leave comes with a host of challenges, from the logistical to the emotional. But some workplaces, such as Patagonia and the Working Mother 100 Best Companies, make it a bit easier for new moms.
Holly Morissette, a recruiter at Patagonia, inspired working parents everywhere with a post on LinkedIn, stemming from a sadly uncommon situation. Patagonia offers onsite childcare. As a result, Holly can feed her infant at work, and she does, even in the presence of colleagues. This led to a male VP’s applause-worthy comment.
“While nursing my baby during a morning meeting the other day after a recent return from maternity leave, our VP (Dean Carter) turned to me and said…‘There is no way to measure the ROI on that. But I know it’s huge.’”
Wow. Bosses everywhere should take note. But the story doesn’t stop there. Instead of ending the post after sharing this encouraging moment, Holly goes further by calling for large-scale reform.
“It got me thinking,” she continues, “with the immense gratitude that I have for on-site childcare at Patagonia comes a responsibility to share a ‘call to action.’”
Holly describes her post as “a PSA to tout the extraordinary benefits that come along with not asking employees to make the gut wrenching decision to either leave their jobs or leave their babies.”
She repeats, “TO HAVE TO LEAVE THEIR JOBS OR LEAVE THEIR BABIES.”
Holly captures the toxic workplace culture plaguing parents everywhere perfectly, and calls it out in a way that makes the solution look simple. Simple, ahem, because it is. Make it possible for working parents to have jobs and babies.
Holly explains, “that with a bit of creativity, and a whole lot of guts, companies can create a workplace where mothers aren’t hiding in broom closets pumping milk, but rather visiting their babies for large doses of love and serotonin before returning to their work and kicking ass.”
Cue the standing ovation from working moms everywhere. We’re successful in our careers when we know we can be there for our kids too.
“It’s no wonder that Patagonia has 100% retention of moms. Keeping them close to their babies keeps them engaged. And engaged mothers (and fathers!) get stuff done.”
That retention rate doesn’t lie. When parents feel supported, they stick around.
“Thank you, Patagonia, for leading the way,” Holly writes.
Let’s hope that this sparks some real change in the workplace. Kudos to Patagonia, and Holly, for starting the conversation.