Dear Mr. Hat,
While I understand that it might be a little bit distracting for someone to bring a baby to a place where people are supposed to be able to study quietly, I also understand that we live in a society where parenthood is seen as an inconvenience at best. If there was some way I could have come to campus to finish my homework without bringing my four month old nursing baby, I would have done that. For one, it would be much easier for me to focus on the assignment without wrangling an infant. For two, the professor requested that the format be in Excel so I had to do the problem on a campus computer. I do hope that you will note, that I did come to campus early in the day so that I would be bothering less people. I also would like for you to notice that I sat as far away from you as possible, so as to not be a hindrance or distraction if he needed to be fed. And more specifically, I also hope you noticed that if he so much as made a peep, I took him out of the room. Perhaps you put too much starch on your bow tie this morning, but I found it highly unnecessary for you to go and complain to the office personnel that "you couldn't get anything done" with "that baby" in there.
The facts are this, sir. Motherhood is the highest calling there is. Many cultures in the world recognize this. Ours does not. If a woman quits her job to stay home with her children, she is looked upon as not living up to her potential. If a woman chooses to work she is passed over for promotions and not taken seriously as an employee because of her "other priorities". Working parents are seen as a liability, and on site daycare is found few and far between. The only place I have ever seen family or maternity parking is at Babies R Us and that's sort of their thing. Public breastfeeding is still scandalous to many and nursing sit-ins are still sometimes a necessary occurrence. In our culture children are often treated as something to be dealt with in the course of getting on with the rest of ones life. In some countries families get up to a year of maternity leave, paid! I don't see any American company doing that.
And so, Mr. Hat, I would love to hear your suggestions of what I can do with my nursing infant while I come to the computer center. What's that? A sitter, you say. Okay, do you know anyone who is available? I didn't think so. Leave him at home? Okay, I'll just add another two hours of time to my day (broken up in ten minute increments) so I can pump enough milk to leave him for that long. Do the assignment at home? Okay, are you going to pay for the Excel download for our computer? I didn't think so.
Next time, sir, I think I would prefer that you had spoken directly to me. No, I take that back. That would not have been pretty. If you are indeed so bothered then there is no solution, no detail that could be shifted to change your outlook. That, I'm afraid, will have to be up to you, and unfortunately the general populous as well.
Gothgirl and her Infant Spawn.