I’m not sure if Cassandra really understands what she’s doing. It’s all well and good to work at bringing motherhood into the public sphere, and I unequivocally support that aspect of what she’s trying to do. What I’m not as sure about is the risk of creating a culture where new mothers are expected to inhabit commercial workspaces.
In Cassandra’s defence, her project is a highly personal one. She’s not looking to push it on anyone else, beyond what directly affects her chances of success in blending big business and having a baby. She also has no illusions about the fact that most women don’t have access to the power and resources that she does to augment their workspace.
The thing is, Cassandra is quite influential in certain circles, in large part due to her ‘never say never’ attitude to problem solving, which has enabled her to rapidly ascend the corporate ladder. This means that a lot of business leaders are poised to take cues from her when she implements an innovative scheme such as trialling mother-friendly office design ideas. Melbourne is sure to see this taking off if she succeeds – no doubt about it.
Don’t get me wrong; this could be something truly valuable for many would-be mothers in the corporate world who have aspirations similar to Cassandra’s. I just feel that it could also be used an excuse on the part of companies to pressure women into foregoing maternity leave. That might seem fine if working environments are modified as deemed necessary. But first, let me ask: have you had a baby? I can tell you for a fact that there’s more to it than custom office fitouts. Melbourne mothers, care to chime in?
I can’t help but feel that Cassandra’s being overly blithe about things like her energy levels and (perhaps temporarily) reshuffled priorities. Then again, everyone’s different. I guess that’s the point I’m trying to make, though. We need to be careful to not put all experiences of motherhood in any one box.