Today is “Bring Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” in the United States. This tradition started 20 years ago as a way to expose our daughters to the work we do when we go to work. It started out as a way for young girls to see and touch the workplace in order for them to see themselves working outside the home someday.
Today the movement has grown to include children of both sexes. According to the organization’s website:
Designed to be more than a career day, the Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® program goes beyond the average “shadow” an adult. Exposing girls and boys to what a parent or mentor in their lives does during the work day is important, but showing them the value of their education, helping them discover the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life, and providing them an opportunity to share how they envision the future and begin steps toward their end goals in a hands-on and interactive environment is key to their achieving success.
Of course, because I work from home and so does my husband, every day is an opportunity to bring our daughter to work.
She has watched me and her father type documents on the computer and talk on the phone with clients. One of her favorite things to do is sit on her Daddy’s lap and press send after he types an email. She has even helped me photograph a trademark specimen.
But I admit that I try not to do the legal work when I’m with her. 95% of that work happens when she is at school or after she goes to bed.
While I think it’s important for my 5 year old to see how Mommy and Daddy spend their days at work, I value my time with her. I don’t want work intruding on the few hours we spend together each day if I can help it.
I also think she needs to see how my husband and I work together to manage the household.
She watches me wash the laundry and Daddy make dinner and work in the yard. She participates in these activities any way she can. (She loves to help!) She sees how we all work together to keep us and the house neat and tidy.
On a typical night, I’ll empty the dishwasher or fold the laundry while Hubby works on dinner. We try to have her sit at the table and do her homework, but all too often she wants to put away the silverware. We talk about our day. We laugh at her stories from school. We bond as a family, and then eat dinner together.
While it’s important that she see that my husband and I have “day” jobs, it’s even more valuable for her to see how we come together to take care of our family, that housework isn’t just women’s work. In my humble opinion, it’s the only way for her to “discover the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life”.