Last week we hosted an epic TestBash Brighton. For me it was followed by some Team MoT social and planning sessions. I’m only just able to start recovering somewhat from the whole experience. Yes, I get exhausted from it all too. I’m still scratching my head at how I, being so introverted, ended up running conferences for a living.
As MoT has grown, I’ve become much more confident in doing as I please, as I desire, or as I feel is right. Many, mostly women, will identify with the challenges I have faced in pushing my career and business forward. MoT has actually spawned from this discrimination I faced - the fact that when my eldest boys were little no one seemed to want to hire me. The recruiters all too often went silent as soon as they realised I had kids. So when no one would employ me, I chose my own path.
So now, I have MoT, which often now very feels like family. I also happen to have a new baby in the family, called Piper. She’s 4 months old. At that age my currently 14 yr old and eldest son had started going to a childminder. I had no plans for that this time around, but I had a conference to help organise.
What was I to do?
PassThePiper was my solution. I brought my baby Piper with me and awesome people of TestBash happily volunteered to entertain her at times. Yay people of TestBash!
Piper goes with me everywhere. Quite literally everywhere, apart from of course, at TestBash Brighton when she was passed around, with such love and enthusiasm from the community.
Some of the time Piper was with me whilst I was watching the talks or chatting away. Other times she slept in her buggy whilst someone else from the MoT Team watched over her. And then other times she was literally passed around.
This experience was important for me for many reasons:
- As a mother I want others to become comfortable with the idea of having kids around. Being at conferences doesn’t have to be all serious and talk doesn’t always have to be about testing.
- As a mother, I want everyone to have the opportunity to show their support for women and issues of diversity.
- As a mother, I literally have no choice. I exclusively breastfeed Piper ondemand at the moment. She either had to come with me or I had to miss out on TestBash. The other option was to try bottle feeding her, but that is not something I really want to do or risk putting my milk supply at risk for.
- As a mother, I want to show others that we can do this stuff and there are others to support us and you.
- As a mother, this is not an easy choice and not necessarily ideal. Piper is 4 months old, not moving, crawling or walking about and was generally easy to keep quiet. It would’ve been much harder to ‘contain her’ if she was just a few months older. I did wonder if it is it easier to bring kids or leave them at ‘home’?
- As a mother, I see it as a first step. Perhaps in the future it will encourage others to join in or we can start providing a creche on the day.
- As a mother, I would support others who want to do the same.
Would I do it again? Possibly. It really depends on the age of my child(ren). It was tough with Piper. I was physically exhausted from TestBash, I normally am. Having Piper really made it much harder and more tiring.
I got to see about half the talks on the days and got to see the people of TestBash, which was great. Would I do it next year when she is most likely a walking baby? Probably not. I would guess by that stage she won’t be in such need of me and my husband can easily step in.
Would an onsite creche be helpful for me next year? Quite possibly. Maybe I’ll look into that.
PS. No adults were harmed in Passing the Piper.
PPS. Thanks to Noah who tweeted in support of the effort 🙂