They are the mother and daughter babywearing powerhouse duo heard round the world: Licia Ronzulli and daughter, Victoria. Ronzulli, an elected Member of the European Parliament for Italy, brought Victoria to Parliament when she was just six weeks old back in September 2010. Rozulli was operating under European laws that allow for and protect women who take their babies to work with them. Both she and her husband, Renato Cerioli, are members of the political party People of Freedom.
A little more on Rozulli and the photo above — she is a member of the environment, health and food safety commission and wore Victoria throughout the debates and the eventual vote of the day. She has also worked as a nurse in Milan and Bangladesh before becoming a hospital director and then turning to politics.
Rozulli has continued to bring Victoria to work with her since her birth. These wonderful photos
of them together in Parliament help other families to see that there are many ways that a family can balance work and togetherness when options to do so are fundamentally part of our communities and government.
For many of us who live in the USA, with limited-to-no fully paid, secured and guaranteed maternity leave (paternity leave as well) and job security for an eventual return, we must make our own opportunities for work and family in order to get more of what we want and need as families. Each system has benefits and trade-offs, and just because you don’t see what you need already available as part of the current system, this doesn’t mean that with some creativity and hard work that you can’t make it happen. Look for possibilities and be willing to forge a new path to have what you want in your life.
During the first two years of my son’s life, he slept or nursed soundly, either in our wrap or carrier
while I typed and edited my work. My husband the same; he would bounce on his desk ball until our boy dozed off and then he got back to writing code or Skyping with clients. And this post features some incredible Boba mothers and caregivers who babywear as part of their workday. From wearing and nursing while knee deep in a stream doing fieldwork, to babywearing while ringing up customers in her own store, get ready to be inspired as you learn how these families are finding more freedom in their work and family lives and how babywearing is a big part of that.
“My husband and I are both field biologists: I’m an ichthyologist (mostly freshwater fishes) and he’s an ornithologist (tropical and grassland birds for the most part). We spend a lot of time outside and working in challenging conditions.
When my children were both very small, I had a number of field projects I was working on (one was completing my dissertation and defending while 8 months pregnant with a 2-year-old to entertain). Baby carrying was the only way to make our lives work. My field work is primarily sampling fishes in small to moderate streams. My children have been worn on multiple occasions while I was working in the field.
One time, I had to go on a trip with the baby while my husband and 2-year-old stayed home. I was both collecting fishes and presenting some of my research at a professional meeting with no babysitter in tow. So, babywearing was the way to go.
I’ve worn my children in a number of streams and they have been quite happy and content accompanying me. I even nursed my son while in the field, and my colleagues were none the wiser!” • Mollie Cashner
“Surrounded by building blocks, talking toys and toddler requests – the work of a mom is never done. Add owning and operating an inbound marketing firm to the mix and you’ll have our lives.
With four kids, ranging in ages from four to two eight-month-olds, we are both full time stay-at-home moms and full-time business owners, you do that math. Our attention is constantly being pulled in different directions and without the ability to wear both hats at the same time, we’d fail. We choose to keep our overhead low and our time with our children at a maximum by working from our home offices. The couch has become the meeting place of choice. This blog is actually being written while we sit together on our Macs and our littles play at our feet. Naptime is prime time in our homes, but as anyone with young children can tell you, naps are never guaranteed. In our mutual love for baby wearing, our Boba carriers have been lifesavers during teething, in between those naptimes and other moments when our work and children simultaneously demand our attention. From growth spurts to nursing marathons and conference calls to blogging, the needs of our children and business never cease. Our Boba carriers give us the freedom to hop on a phone call, write a blog, or schedule a meeting while we carry our boys. The flexibility to be both Mom & Business Owner at the same time is invaluable to our success and wearing our babies allows us to do just that.” • Amber Cebull & Britt Schwartz, What She Said Marketing
“When my first daughter Campbell Claire was 9 months old I found a lady selling baby wraps that would allow you to wrap your baby up and carry them securely at our local county fair. My grandmother purchased it for me and I used it all the time for keeping her close to me at all kinds of fun locations, The PA Farm Show, picnics, auctions. I felt like I was so lucky to be able to be a stay at home mom for Campbell, and she was definitely a mama’s girl so we were happy to be wrapped up together.When Campbell was a little over a year old I was asked to become part of a business called Kraft and Jute, an online company that was based near my hometown in Northwestern PA. I would be sewing and working from home, they had me from Hello! When I was expecting our second baby, I was waiting to be able to use my wrap with her from the get go. But now it was not just for fun but also for business.
After I had Lennox Rose this past November I took about a month off from my work. Then I started back slowly getting some small jobs. I would wrap Lennox up and we could sit for longer periods of time at my sewing machine and get my work done. I had sewn the whole time I was pregnant with Lennox so I think she was used to the sewing machine noise then add the wrap to that and she was so happy and content to just sleep there. I can even nurse Lennox while she is in the wrap while I am working. I have also been able to expand my business into tote bags, purses and some custom embroidery. I am proud to say now I am not only a stay at home mom but a work at home mom. I get the best of both worlds, staying home with my girls and also helping my family financially.” • Jess Manross
“I wanted to tell you about bringing my baby to work, and how babywearing has made that possible. I am very lucky. I have a wonderful husband who is an inspirational stay at home dad. But sometimes, dear old dad needs some alone time, so I take our daughter, Lily, in to work with me. I don’t think this would be possible if I didn’t wear her! I work as a research scientist, but I also oversee a pay-for-service research facility, and on days where I am not in the laboratory, I can bring my little girl in to the office. I have several carriers, but the Boba 3G that I own is easy on, easy off, and comfortable for my little one. Lily is fascinated by the clacking of my keyboard, and is lulled to sleep by the droning afternoon meetings. Wearing Lily enables me to speak to my coworkers, attend meetings, take lunch, and nurse, all at the same time. It is the ultimate in multitasking! I can’t imagine lugging her and her car seat around the office any time I needed to pop in and ask a question or deliver an invoice. I love babywearing, and I will never look back!” • Katie Shanks
“As a certified professional nanny I have and still do a lot of babywearing. I love it and it makes getting chores done around the house so much easier. Working with twins threw a few curve balls at me and thanks to being an avid babywearer I would put one in a front pack and the other on my hip and away we’d go. Still do, even at 22 months old. Makes vacuuming a full-out cardio activity. Attached is a photo of me at church where I serve in our nursery area. On this particular Sunday we had 14 babies in our infant room (several more than usual). Due to several of them being fussy I front packed one which left both of my hands free to hold a couple other babies. I love what I do and am a huge advocate of babywearing.” • Kim
“As a new mother and Acupuncturist there is always a lot of work to be done. My son however would love to be held all day every day. Wearing him while I work is the only way I am able to do all that needs to be done with our home and my work and give Milo the love and attention that he deserves. Having him close to my heart soothes him and helps him sleep while doing bodywork and acupuncture, not to mention laundry. It also gives me peace of mind that he is safe, happy and feels secure.” • Melissa Eaton, LifeCYCLE Acupuncture
“I am the mother of a five week old little boy and a nanny to 21 month old twins. The only way it is possible for me to work and care for my son is to wear him. He isn’t safe on the floor with two toddlers running around. I don’t like the idea of him spending all day in a chair or swing, and with twin toddlers I definitely need to be mobile and have my hands free.
I have been back at work since my son was two weeks old and wearing him in the Boba wrap has made caring for the twins possible. We have been able to stay active going to the park daily, and story time at the library every Tuesday. Wearing him around the house makes it possible for me to get all the chores done, and play with the twins all while my son snuggles or sleeps soundly against my chest. I am also breastfeeding and have found the wrap makes it really easy to nurse discreetly wherever the day takes us.
I love wearing my baby boy for so many reasons but being able to work without having to leave my son is definitely at the top of my list.”
• Hilary Wallace (With her son, Ronin sleeping in the Boba Wrap)
“I opened a natural baby store last month and my 7 month old spends most of his day in the 3G. He comes to work with me Mon-Sat from 10am to 6pm. It is just the two of us at the store so the Boba gets lots of use. He nurses, sleeps and just hangs out in his carrier all the time. We love it! Boba has been very popular at my store and I attribute that to him being so comfy in it while people come in to shop. Thanks! “ • Kelly Hartzell, eat/sleep/play