Being a mom at any stage of life comes with challenges, and having a strong support system is pretty much always integral to success. Unfortunately, moms don't always get the support they need from their jobs or schools, as evidenced the United States' subpar parental leave policy and the continued stigmatization of pregnant and parenting students. Which is why one college professor's solution to a student's child care issues should be the blueprint for the right way to react to moms in the world — especially when they're balancing their professional and scholastic responsibilities with those they have as parents.
The student's conundrum was a common one: Morgan King, who's 21 years old and studying therapeutic recreation at the University of Tennessee, couldn't make it to her Human Development class earlier this month because she couldn't find anyone to take care of her baby daughter, Korbyn, according to USA Today. When the single mother emailed her professor to explain her absence, Dr. Sally Hunter surprised her by simply inviting the baby to class in the future. King was so moved (and probably incredibly relieved, too), that she shared Hunter's offer to help her deal with the school-life (and work) balance on Twitter.
It soon went modestly viral.
And for good reason. Hunter was empathetic, understanding, and the proposal she outlined via email is equal parts sweet and practical:
In the future, if you are having trouble finding someone to watch Korbyn, please feel free to just BRING HER with you to class. I would absolutely be delighted to hold her while I teach, so that you can still pay attention to the class and take notes. I work for the Department of CHILD and FAMILY studies-- so how terrible would it be, if I was unwilling to have a child visit our class? I'm very serious with this offer-- just bring Korbyn with you!
King later tweeted out a photo of the email (a post that's since garnered almost 5,000 retweets and more than 25,000 likes, and counting), and wrote that she was "literally crying" and feeling both "blessed" and "thankful." To offer not only to open up the classroom to the baby, who's 3 months old, but to volunteer to hold her throughout the class is incredibly generous — and certainly above and beyond the accommodations that most professors and teachers can be expected to make. But Hunter's willingness to work with King and help her out is a reminder to anyone who sees a mom struggling that it's important to work with them to some extent.
King also works part-time in addition to studying to earn her degree and parenting Korbyn, according to WFMY News. And when University of Tennessee chancellor Beverly Davenport learned about the situation, she was grateful to both women for handling it the way they did. "Morgan, thanks for showing us challenges college students face," she tweeted after retweeting King's original post. "Prof Hunter, thanks for being part of the solution."
So far, King hasn't taken Hunter up on the offer. But when and if she does, those who enjoyed the simple goodness of this story will certainly want to see some photos on Twitter.