Today is National Take Your Child to Work Day. More than 37 million youth and adults participating at over 3.5 million workplaces each year take part in the event, which is celebrating its 20th year.
Or, for me, it's what I call a normal day. I bring my work to my kid and my kid to my work. I work from home. I work 30 hours a week, but that time is flexible. Admittedly, my hours are weird.
Yesterday, I wrote a memo at the kitchen table while my daughter made cupcakes. I edited a policy paper from my phone while parked in the school pick up lane. (Fear not, friends, I did not violate the law and I was kind to the Earth. There are so many cars in the line that I was not yet near the "school zone," which would make using my phone illegal here in IL, and my car was turned off and not idling.)
Some parents I think would feel better if I had an office and used it.
I got the stink eye from parents at the Battle of the Books competition on Monday because, during a break in the competition, I sent an email on something that needed to get out that afternoon. My kid was not yet competing, and in fact everyone was just milling around, so I have no idea what the problem was.
I also don't understand what the point was when the mom next to me who said, "You're doing work? Well, here's a picture of our new cat." and thrust the photo from her phone in my face. Maybe that her cat works, too?
In our family, the lines between office and home and work and school are blurred and jumbled.
The fuzziness of the boundaries are at times frustrating, and also liberating. I could be at Battle of the Books in the afternoon. I can pick her up from school every day which someone needs to do because there is no bus.
No, working from home doesn't mean undivided attention all the time and yes, sometimes it means I am frazzled and frustrated with too many balls in the air. I suspect that would be true in an office setting, too, but I really love it. I know Marissa Mayer does not, and let's just say I'm happy I don't work for Yahoo!
Funny enough, my husband is working from home today, too. On this Take Your Child to Work Day, there is actually no parental office to visit, although our kiddo can walk upstairs to his home office if she's so inclined.
He works for a humongous corporation, I work for a small non-profit. I love that he can work from home a few days a week. But that means that my daughter has seen our work on the days she's off from school, be it due to teacher training days or weather days (I now call them that instead of snow days thanks to the recent days off school for our flood.)
Why hold Take Your Child to Work Day during the academic year?
The time off of school is an issue I have with Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day. The school year is not the long, and there are numerous breaks built in to the schedule. Why not take advantage of those rather than take away from classroom time on task?
Why is it not held in the summer? Or over holiday breaks? Why must it be during the school year, when she's supposed to be in a classroom learning? I have my job, and school is my kid's job.
I am ALL for career exploration, but I think that the school year calendar (with a short academic year compared to the school year in other countries) offers plenty of time to do so when she is not supposed to be spending time on task.
The National PTA CEO disagrees with me.
"Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is an opportunity for parents to share part of their work life with children and to show them that work is an integral part of everyone's life. This special day is also an opportunity for PTAs, schools, and communities to work together to provide a learning experience for our nation's children," said National PTA CEO Warlene Gary.
I don't disagree that it can be a learning experience, I just think there's a better time to schedule such an experience. Even if I did have an office, she wouldn't be coming with me. She'd be going to her job and I'd be going to mine. I believe THAT is the best way to show them that work is an "integral part of everyone's life."
Why is this only a day?
Parents should be talking about their work with their kids all the time. I find it to be a goldmine of discussion topics, from talking about how important teamwork is to success in our job, how regularly I use the skills she is learning and how I've made mistakes and worked to correct them. Parents should be talking about the different kinds of jobs people have, at their work place and elsewhere, frequently.
The topic of career exploration deserves far more than just a day.
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