We Can Be Both: Mothers at Work

Patagonia  /  2 Min Read  /  Culture

Taking a break from child care to hang out with mom. Patagonia HQ. Photo: Kyle Sparks

Every day in America, women return to work after the birth of a child to find an unsupportive environment lacking on-site child care, lactation programs and paid medical leave. No wonder there is an alarming lack of women in positions of leadership, board rooms and public office. Women will never be able to effectively “lean in” without the proper economic, social and community support for the most critical work of all: raising the next generation.

Patagonia has offered quality on-site child care for over thirty years. In this video, Patagonia working mothers tell what Patagonia’s Great Pacific Child Development Center means to them. As one says about having her children at work with her everyday, “It’s not just making a living, it’s making a life.” On-site child care, especially for infants, is a critical element of doing business in our time—and it’s proven to be good for business.

Family Business: 30 Years of Innovative On-site Child Care

Family Business: 30 Years of Innovative On-site Child Care, by Malinda Chouinard and Jennifer Ridgeway.

To be published by Patagonia in July 2016 and now available for pre-order, Family Business: 30 Years of Innovative On-site Child Care, by Malinda Chouinard and Jennifer Ridgeway, illustrates what high-quality child care looks like and why providing on-site child care to working families is at the heart of responsible business in our time.

Here’s a short excerpt from Family Business recounting the urgent need for child care at Patagonia in the 1980s.

I wasn’t around for the early days of daycare at Patagonia, but I’ve heard stories. Thirty years ago, Patagonia employees struggled to balance work and family. In those days, employees brought their babies to work and kept them under their desks or, as the children got older, let them run free around the Patagonia offices and grounds. But problems arose, and something had to be done.

Malinda Chouinard took steps to solve the child care issue but has often lamented to me, “We had no idea what we were doing. At first, it was just a babysitting service in a trailer.” The Patagonia daycare program kept growing and moved into its own building in 1984.

While many parenting problems were solved, there was one more mishap. On the first day of school, a parent accidentally forgot to pick up their child. Malinda immediately bought a van, hiding the cost in the shipping department budget. From that moment on, Patagonia has provided after-school pick up for children kindergarten through 3rd grade.

– Anita Garaway-Furtaw, Director of Great Pacific Child Development Center

Pre-order your copy of Family Business today.

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