I’m commenting on this article that was posted on FB by a friend. Obviously the slant of the article is to point out the ludicrousness of the anti-breastfeeding position, but my initial reaction was the opposite.
Wait – don’t jump down on me yet.
The question in my mind was, “How would I feel if a co-worker brought a baby into the office? Would I have a problem with that?” The answer is yes and I can easily extapolate that to other workplaces as well. My objection has very little to do with breastfeeding in the office. That wouldn’t really be a significant distraction or issue. Except as it applies to the very presence of the babe.
Would the co-worker’s effectiveness be compromised by having to care for a child while at work? I think so. Would my effectiveness be compromised if the baby was loud – and all babies are loud at times? I think so.
That accounts for my initial reaction.
That reaction is tempered by several details. The first is that this is an elected position. You can’t just pull in a consultant to replace them while they take a leave. Her constituents would either be unrepresented during the time off or, if a by-elction was called, it would mean that she lost her job for being pregnant. Neither of those seem fair at all. So the only option is to try and get back to work as quickly as possible.
The second is the nature of the work. The council meeting is obviously important, but so is the prep time. Talking to constituents, reading the preparatory information, getting facts from experts – all the work that goes into being ready for the meeting. So it is not the whole job that is impacted – I think the prep work can be done just fine. It is only the actual public meeting part.
The biggest counter-argument is that the council considered the impact on the council and voted to allow it. I’m not sure how I would hve voted. I’m still waffling. However, these councillors were well able to know the issue in much more depth than a single article allows me. They can judge how it will impact them, how it will impact council business and, based on their knowledge of the councillor, how it will impact the lady with the baby. And they voted to allow it.
Awesome. Democracy in action. Time to move onto other business. In the case then of this mother and this child? It should obviously be allowed.
The follow-up question is should the dissenting voice have taken their objection to a different public forum? It seems to be a peevish move on the face of it. Certainly, in Edmonton, when Kerry Diotte goes to the media every time he disagrees with a vote it annoys the heck out of me. On the other hand, councilors urging their constituents in providing their opinion on public policy is a good thing. If council makes a bad decision and the public forces them to reconsider and reverse it, is that a bad thing? That is an interesting question.
But it doesn’t really apply here. The people who understand best if this would be disruptive are the councilors themselves. In this case their vote need not be representative of the people – they can easily vote based on their experience. With that idea, taking it to the paper does just seem peevish to me.
So in this particular case, I’m both for the baby being taken to council and opposed to the original editorial complaining about it. But I think that outside of this particular case, there is an interesting debate to be had here.