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Take your baby to work

I swear, this isn’t going to turn into a DaddyBlog, but given that I announced my impending fatherhood today, I figured I could note this story.

Mark Tatara is his company’s “First Dad,” a title he earned in October when he became the first father to use the firm’s benefit that allows parents to bring their infants to work.

Tatara is senior graphic designer and Web design manager of Health Newsletters Direct, an Evanston, Ill.-based company that produces magazines and newsletters for hospitals and managed-care organizations nationwide.

His wife, Katherine Hood-Tatara, is an educator.

She took a three-month leave after Jonathan’s birth in August.

Tatara, who took off three weeks for his son’s birth, took him to work from October to the end of December.

Thirteen other parents — all mothers — of 24 “office” babies had taken their infants to work before him.

“Being the first dad felt natural,” said Tatara, who has been with the firm for 11 years and saw firsthand how well the arrangement can work.

“My wife and I wanted as much time as possible to bond with Jonathan, and she wasn’t able to bring him to work when her maternity leave was up. It’s wonderful to be able to do your job and not have to worry about your child — because he’s right there.”

Jonathan often slept in a bassinet secured on his father’s desk.

Each day, Tatara brought to his private office diapers, hand wipes, a car seat for Jonathan to sit in, toys, activity centers and bottles of expressed breast milk so his wife, who went back to her full-time job, could continue nursing.

As it happens, this sort of arrangement could work for me if it were an option. I spend the vast majority of my time at my desk and am more likely to be in a telecon than a real meeting. Plus, I have a feeling that one way or another I’m going to become an expert at computing with one hand while holding/feeding/rocking a baby with the other. But it’s not going to happen, and that’s probably just as well. Still, it’s nice to know someone can do it.

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  1. William Hughes says:

    The nice thing about IT is that you can occasionally work from home in the right circumstances. This will allow you to take care of the baby and still be able to work at the same time.

    Now, don’t become another Kathie Lee Gifford talking about the kid all the time, or I’ll have to come to Houston and give you a wedgie. 😉

  2. Richard Frueh says:

    I’d kill for the ability to do this, or the ability to work from home. My company’s idea of flex-time is that I can come in at 9 instead of 8, as long as it’s consistent from day to day. Oh, and sysadmins aren’t permitted to work from home. If I ain’t in the office, I’m using vac/pers/sick time. I’d have a blast having the baby here.

  3. Mark Tatara says:

    Just a word to the wise: taking care of the baby and working at the same time for any long period of time will make your hair turn grey, fall out or become sentient and strangle you to death. I brought my son in for 2 months, from age 3mos to 5 mos and work in what could be considered a moderately stressful job and there were some very difficult moments. So it should be noted that my situation, as written about, was a temporary one. Good luck…