Did you just hear a bunch of squealing in the next room that sounded suspiciously like a Twilight convention near the water cooler? Yes, it's Take Our Daughters to Work Day -- renamed Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day in 2003. It's also known as the day no one gets any serious work done because they're too busy chilling with the wide-eyed kids on a high achieved only by taking a kid out of their regular schooling for a day and plopping them in a place regularly saved for adults.
What? You thought you'd be getting real work done today, wowing your kid with how hard Mommy's day is and producing the magical result of perfect children who suddenly have complete respect for "Mommy's time"? Oh, that's a good one! As a work-at-home mom, every snow day, teacher's conference day, superintendent wants to take a nap day, and a few in between is my "take my daughter to work day," and it goes a little something like this:
Mom and J get up in the morning. Daddy makes J's breakfast, turns on the TV or dumps the LEGOs on the dining room table, then escapes leaves for the day to go to his very important job inside an actual office. Mom settles down in front of her computer to start work for the day. Five minutes pass. But as soon as she's signed into her email program, cracked her knuckles, and typed three words, it starts. "I'm hungry!"
"But Daddy gave you a bowl of Cheerios and a cup of milk. Finish them first."
"Oh, the dog ate them when I was in the bathroom doing toilet paper races."
"WHAT are toilet paper races? Wait, never mind, I'm getting more Cheerios."
Cereal poured, milk cup refilled, elementary schooler set back up with Phineas and Ferb repeat or pile of LEGOS. Two minutes pass.
"Uh huh, I just filled your milk."
"But I drank it. I'm fast. I didn't want the dog to get it."
"OK, well Mommy's boss needs her to work right now, so go get yourself some more milk."
Two minutes pass with the flurry of fingers across the keyboard. This is good, Mommy is getting work done! I don't need no stinkin' babysitter to help me out! I must be butter 'cause I'm on a roll! Oh wait, what is that cold wet feeling soaking through my socks? Is that? Could it be? Milk? Flooding all the way from the kitchen?
Snatching laptop cord from the path of the white liquid, Mom runs for the towels, taking 5 minutes to clean up milk, comfort child crying over said milk, and pour a cup -- juice this time -- which is plunked down on the dining room table next to the LEGOs. Mommy turned caveman announces, "There. Juice. Play. Mommy work." She returns to the world of wordsmithing, where she's fortunately more verbose and has a firm grasp on prepositions.
Five minutes pass. Five blissful minutes during which the only sound is the tapping on keys and the clicking of two bricks being attached to one another. And then it comes.
"Mommy, I'm hungry."
Oh, for the love of Mike. Do I even know a Mike? Mommy uncurls herself from over the laptop. She takes one look at J and makes a snap decision. "Get the phone, and get M's number off the fridge."
Take Our Daughter to Work Day is over. It's now "Mommy can get work done, and daughter can hang out with the mother's helper day." But it was nice while it lasted, wasn't it? That whole, um, 19 minutes of it.
I love my daughter. I love my job. But when my daughter says she wants to grow up to work at The Stir, something tells me she doesn't envision herself bent over a computer writing stories for hours at a clip. It's a whole lot of Phineas and Ferb and LEGOs!
Are you taking part in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day? Do you think it's a realistic view of the working world for kids?
Image by Jeanne Sager