When I was growing up, one of the only days that I got out of going to school was on Take Your Daughter to Work Day, now known as Take Your Child to Work Day. Every year, my mom let me miss school so that I could accompany her to work. In spite of not having the slightest idea of what my mom actually did for a living, I enjoyed the day and our time together, and I always felt proud to know that my mom was a hardworking, kickass, boss b*tch, who was important to people outside of our family.
My mom was a hardworking, kickass, boss b*tch, who was important to people outside of our family.
My daughter, who is about to turn 5, knows that almost all of her favorite people, my mom included, go to work every day. She doesn't quite understand what they do for a living — according to her, her dad hangs pictures (aka her artwork that she sends in with him) every day, while her favorite aunt, an editor for a food magazine, spends her days eating — but her guesses never fail to make us all laugh. But ask her why they all work, and she'll quickly and matter-of-factly say it's because they need to make money. She's a sharp kid, which is why it came as no great surprise when she pointed out that "Mommy doesn't work."
The first time she said this, it stung. My first thought was that she doesn't think I'm as important as the people she knows who do go to work every day, which left me feeling inadequate and sad. I found myself rushing to explain how I used to be a teacher but decided to leave my job so that I can take care of her. She wasn't impressed, and, to be honest, I kind of get it.
Compared to the people she knows, my life certainly doesn't seem glamorous. I rarely get dressed up, and I don't have an office to decorate. I'm not managing multimillion-dollar accounts, getting wined and dined at swanky restaurants, or being flown first class to the other side of the world. When I do go out, I don't come home with fancy European chocolate or fun souvenirs for her. But I love what I do, and when it comes to my daughters' futures, I want them to love what they do too, whether it's wearing a power suit and making a six-figure salary or donning leggings and oversize t-shirts while raising a family.
What my daughter doesn't realize is that for me, every day is Take Your Child to Work Day. From the time I wake up until the time I go to bed, I am on duty. I simultaneously play the role of teacher, nurse, handyman, maid, chauffeur, and chef all day, every day. Maybe someday she'll get it, or maybe she won't. Either way, I hope that she realizes how blissfully happy my job as a stay-at-home mom makes me.
I hope that she realizes how blissfully happy my job as a stay-at-home mom makes me.
I may not be able to take my daughter to work with me in the traditional sense, but I still believe that Take Your Child to Work Day is important. I think it's important to expose children to a variety of different careers and will be sending my daughter to work with whoever will take her. I want her to visit the office and get a glimpse of corporate America and head down to the factory to see how things are made. I want her to observe in a classroom or a doctor's office and see what it means to make a difference in the lives of others or ride with her uncle in his lineman's truck to see what it takes to keep things running.
Mostly, I want her to have a strong sense of what she wants to do with her life. And above all, I want her to be happy with whatever that choice may be.