It’s Take Your Daughters And Sons To Work Day, an event that has grown out of the old-school Take Your Daughter To Work Day. It used to be that this day was a feminist action to show girls the many different kinds of work their moms do outside the house. Now it’s grown into an opportunity for all kids to see what their parents are doing when they go to work each day.
I work at home. My kids see me at work every day in my little home office. They know exactly what I do. I think this is great for them. As my colleague Meredith puts it, the kids are with me at work whether I like it or not.
My husband is a different story. He’s a scientist in a university lab. The kids see him head out the door for work each day, and eagerly anticipate him returning home each day. What he does in the hours between is a bit of a mystery.
Or it would be, if he didn’t take them to work with him.
He doesn’t do it for Take Your Children To Work Day. He just does it sometimes. Once in awhile, according to no pattern I can discern, he’ll announce that he’s taking one of the girls to work for the afternoon. The lucky child gets to watch videos on his laptop, be fussed over by office secretaries and eat the leftover sweets from department meetings. She also gets to see her dad at work. The girls have experimented with microscopes in his lab, observed students who’ve come in for homework help, and have been bored by meetings between professors.
I asked him why he does this and he said, “It’s fun! They love it!”
Asked to expand on that a little, he said he remembered what a big special deal it was to go to his dad’s office when he was a kid, and he wanted to share that experience with his daughters. He doesn’t have any big political agenda about empowering them to imagine themselves as scientists. He just likes to see them play with microscopes. He thinks his job is cool and wants to share it with his kids.
He’s empowering them anyway, whether he means to or not. The girls imagine themselves as writers and scientists in about the same way they imagine themselves as princesses and firefighters. As they grow up, those fantasies will fade and the real memories of their parents’ work will linger and – hopefully – encourage them to pursue jobs they love as well.
Do you take your kids to work? What motivates you to do it?
Photo: Amit Chattopadhyay
Would you work here? Where Every Day is Take Your Child to Work Day