During a recent listing presentation, I met the beautiful grandaughter of the octogenarian homeowner willing and ready to help grandmother with the delicate issues of selling the home. A young, smart, beautiful professional teacher, she was in town for a few days with the purpose of helping grandma with the move, and she brought her newborn baby girl with her.
After the customary "Cooks' Tour" of the house, we sat down in the living room where grandma was, to go over the paper work, schedule open houses, hours of brokers tours, when and how the house will be shown, etc. But the baby started crying, so the mother excuse herself and went to tend to her daughter, she come back a few minutes later with a small blanket covering the baby, she was breastfeeding her, and sat a bit tilted away from the sunny window, which put her diagonal from her grandmother. Then she asked that incredible question: "... do you mind if I feed the baby while we talk? Oh, no, not at all, I quickly responded. I did not know any other way to answer that question.
While feeding, the baby kept moving her little hand and exposing mom's boob, giving me random nip flashes. Thankfully, she did not realize the type of view that I was being offered, what is a man to do in a situation like this one? I struggled to keep my eyes on her eyes, so I remembered one of the lessons I learned earlier in my Real Estate training, listen carefully and make lots of notes, write everything so you remember important things later. Bringing down my gaze obviously was a good tactic. Not that it lasted too long. I had lots of questions, after all this was a big house, you know.
Needless to say I was very comfortable with the situation, however after asking a few of my colleagues what would they have done, the gender pretty much dictated the pros and cons of conducting business under these circumstances. Breastfeeding during a business meeting is perfectly O. K. by me. Other people seem to be uncomfortable with the sight of a mother feeding her child. For men of course, breast are complicated, breast are dual-purpose machines, and we men can have some trouble completely severing the link between boobs and sex and replacing it with boobs and nurturing babies.
The sight of a woman's breast should never be an issue for anybody. The mermaids of Piazza Del Neptune in Bologna, Italy have water shooting out of their nipples, and it is one of the most visited places for tourists. I also heard about the protest organized by nursing mothers in a subway in New York, after being harassed, they decided to spend a couple of hours with their babies feeding them in public, to make a point.
This is one of the most natural things to do for a mother. (I only wish the local mothers will organize a similar protest in the bay area ... I will definitely offer my support! and will go protest with them side by side) By the way, those ladies in New York actually helped introduce legislation in congress to protect a woman's right to breastfeed on federal property where she and her child have a right to be. The bill was signed into law on Sept. 28, 1999 by then president Clinton.
We were able to accomplish our goals of putting a good plan in motion to sell the house. Because of the baby interruptions, this meeting took a bit longer than the average, after all, a listing presentation includes lots of details. After this meeting, I went to the office and read the notes I so diligently wrote, here is a partial list;
Wood burning fireplace
Bottle feeding is unhealthy!
Upgraded electrical system
new roof was installed just 3 years ago
Go Baby Go! Babies should not be covered while feeding!
First Open House next Sunday afternoon
Babies should nurse around the clock!
Pacifiers should be outlawed!
Great partial views!
Needless to say this was an interesting business meeting, worth remembering. But it does not appear to be a clear answer to this type of meeting. What would you have done?