Lisa Seacat DeLuca is one of the most famous women who work for IBM.
She’s a mobile software engineer and one of the company’s most prolific master inventors. She has close to 400 patents and patent applications under her belt as part of IBM’s massive patent-creation machine.
She’s often on the speaker circuit, including a TED talk a few years back.
She’s also a new mum.
So, on the last day of an IBM conference (IBM Connect Now), the ghost day when most people have cleared out, DeLuca married her two passions together. She loaded her 5-month-old daughter into a baby carrier and went to the conference.
While she was there, a man in his late 50s approached her to berate her for bringing her baby to a professional conference, she confirmed to Business Insider. He told her that having her baby there was a “security issue,” reports fellow IBMer Anna Seacat, who was so annoyed about the incident, she wrote a LinkedIn post about it. (And both women reached out and shared the story with me, too.)
DeLuca did some sleuthing and discovered that the man was an IBM contract employee.
Yes, the man’s comments were rude and out of line. And it was annoying that he somehow felt compelled (and entitled) to share his unasked-for opinion with a total stranger.
But what I liked about this story is this: DeLuca describes herself as #motherworking not a #workingmother.
“I’m a mum first, a technologist second, #motherworking not #workingmother #lifeisshort” she wrote on an Instagram post that featured a picture of her daughter.
But the question I have is, who says you have to rank the different parts of yourself like that? A cranky older man without the grace to keep his sarcasm to himself?
Whether you’re a mother or a father, you can be a professional, a hard worker and lots of other things, a cook, a maker, a move lover, a student, a sibling, a spouse …
Or to put it another way: if the world really has to choose between procreation and work — and work is supposed to win, then the human experience wouldn’t be long for this world, would it?
So bring your kids to work sometimes, just like you bring your work home. And if someone feels the need to tell you you’re wrong, smile and tell the person, “Life is short.”