Family Life | Bringing out the working mother in me with JMMB
Breastfeeding in public places is still a thorny issue, with many mothers complaining of getting dirty looks from strangers and literally being told to do it somewhere private.
Imagine working somewhere that welcomes and even facilitates breastfeeding at the office.
For this International Women's Day edition, Outlook decided to celebrate professional women who effortlessly balance motherhood. Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) not only aspires to make a woman financially stronger, but provides dedicated day-care facilities for its working moms.
According to human resource officer of compensation and employee benefits, Orleen Batson, the day care was the brainchild of the company's founder, Joan Duncan, who introduced it to the company in 1996. "She had a real love for children, and because of this, she thought outside of the box. She never referred to her employees as staff, but as team members, and had their well-being at heart. In order to get the most out of her team members, the company decided to support the family that is JMMB, by providing that comfort and peace of mind for working mothers."
The employees don't have to choose between their career and motherhood, the company has provided a space for both to exist harmoniously.
Batson added that since its inception, mothers have responded very well. "There isn't an additional cost for the day care, so the mother receives this service free. We have morning sessions with babies, which go on all day, and an after-school service, where older children are assisted with their homework and are given a play area to just relax until mommy is ready to go."
Outlook spoke with four mothers who are part of the team and how they have merged motherhood with their career, all in one space.
Simone Christie - mother of 10-month-old David - group change support services (eight-and-a-half years)
"It's been good so far. I appreciate the fact that they have a nursery, literally behind where I'm working. And I love the fact that I get the time to go and visit and it's not challenged by my boss or anybody I report to. They facilitate both breastfeeding and expressing the milk, and I've done both. Also, they have exceptional caregivers and that brings peace of mind; and, if my child is sick, I have the opportunity to work from home - that's a big deal for me."
Taniesha Campbell - mother of one-year-old Kallea - investments and trading (just over two years)
"JMMB is one of the few companies which has a nursery. I started working here just about the time I got pregnant, and I was a little nervous about it. I began taking my daughter to the nursery as early as three months. I didn't do formula, so I would breastfeed four or five times a day and they facilitated that for five months.
"Finding someone to watch your child is very difficult, so it was comforting to know that I knew exactly what was happening with her throughout the day. You know what your child is getting because the 'Aunties' are very good, they call you for anything. Added bonuses: I could go in and see her whenever I wanted, and my daughter has already made so many friends."
Sasha-Kay Johnson-Atkinson - mother of eight-month-old Gabrielle - client fund services
"The day care has been fabulous. It is less than two minutes away. I can just step out, breastfeed or pump my milk and pop back into work. My team leader is very understanding - she's a mother and so is the boss - he's a father. We don't pay for the services, so it eases the [burden on my] finances, and that's very important. The 'Aunties' are well trained and welcoming, and I have no concerns or worries. JMMB is amazing for providing this service for us mothers."
The nursery is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and they also provide an after-school day-care service for older children.
Kudos to JMMB for stepping up to the plate and filling the gap between mothering and working.