National Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day
Today, April 28, is National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work® Day. Take Our Daughters to Work was created 23 years ago by Marie Wilson to allow and actually welcome daughters to spend the day at a parent’s workplace. Sons were added to this tradition in 2003.
For some parents, though, Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is more than just one day during the year. Think about when your child is sick or school is closed for the day (be it for snow or any other reason) or it’s summer time, but you can’t afford day camp or it hasn’t yet started. What do parents do then? Either they take their daughter or son to work with them and set them up in their office, a vacant cube or conference room or, if they’re able to do so, they work from home that day.
Over the years, I’ve been very lucky to be able to work from home when needed and even worked from home full-time for four years and again now. That made it very easy to keep my son home if he wasn’t feeling well -- which was very common in his first days of daycare and school -- or if there was a snow day or a half day at school. Instead of rushing around trying to figure out who would be picking him up or who would stay home with him, it fell to me by default. I’d rearrange any phone meetings that I had if he was home sick to make sure I’d be able to take care of him. If a meeting couldn’t be rescheduled, I would just hope for the mute button to work if I had to rush him to the bathroom.
When my son was younger, I’d wind up doing a lot of work on any day he was home during his nap or after he went to sleep for the night and off and on during the actual day while he was feeling okay for the moment or was glued to the TV (thank you to the movie “Cars” and “Happy Feet” for keeping him entertained back then). But if he was feeling fine and school was just closed, often, I’d find that he and his sock monkey would find their way into my office as the sock monkey also wanted to “work”, which entailed sitting on my lap and typing away on my keyboard. Luckily, none of those sock monkey-typed spreadsheets nor emails made their way past my own computer because my bosses would have thought I was the one who was sick.
These days were precious to me because it showed my son a bit more about what I actually do while he’s at school. I’m sure he thought I was just watching TV all day (oh, no…) And he got a glimpse into work calls and what goes on when he was in his room playing and could hear me right down the hallway on the phone for a meeting. On many of these days, we also talked about what his dad does, too and how the jobs were different, so it showed our son that there are a number of different paths he can take career-wise.
Now that my son is older, his days of being out sick are less (let’s hope I didn’t just jinx myself typing that!) and when he is home for whatever reason, his video games keep him entertained while I take calls and write blogs like this one.
As parents, we all do what we can to make this whole thing work. I’m hopeful that more and more companies will start to understand the challenges that all workers face in their day to day lives, be it needing to be home with a sick child or working flexible hours while still getting everything done -- just not in the normal 9 to 5 (although exactly how normal are those hours these days? That’s a whole different blog post) workday.
Mary E. Hart is the Digital Communications Specialist for NTI. She is also a freelance writer, editor and content strategist, specializing in writing copy that will get stuck in your head like an earworm, prompting you to take action. Previously, she worked in Demand Generation marketing for UBM Tech and Ziff Davis Enterprise. In her spare time, Mary is working on the next great novel.