Do We Still Need Take Your Daughter to Work Day?
It's tempting to view take your daughter to work day as an outmoded relic of a time when parents struggled to open opportunities to their young girls. When take your daughter to work day began in 1993, the first generation of mothers had flooded into career fields beyond the previous generation's secretaries, teachers or nurses. They wanted to show their children that women didn't have to quit their jobs to become stay-at-home moms -- if they hadn't already quit when they got married, to become homemakers.
But take your daughter to work day is still a worthwhile exercise. For one, women have hardly conquered the glass ceiling in the best-paying and most male-dominated industries. Our children are taught and cared for by women -- in the majority -- so it's likely that they're still receiving subtle messages that girls should think about nurturing, caring careers while boys should be political leaders, lawyers, engineers and corporate executives.
Moreover, take your daughter to work day is a valuable opportunity to share your career with your child. You can bond with your child by opening this piece of your world to her (or him). Not only is your child more likely to understand your obligations outside the home, you'll have touchpoints to share at other times of the week and year.
Finally, you have a chance to share your child with your colleagues and supervisor on take your daughter to work day. While some working moms may feel conflicted over how much of your personal life to share at the office, on this one day a year, nobody can look askance at you bringing your daughter to work and introducing her around?
Take Your Daughter to Work Day Logistics
"That's all very well," you may say, "but what about the boys?" It turns out that take your daughter to work day isn't just for girls any more. In fact, in 2003 it was renamed "take your daughters and sons to work day," in order to be more inclusive.
If you have more than one child, you might consider alternating with your spouse. One of you can take each child to your office one year, and switch the next year. If you have more than two children, you'll have to decide whether to bring two or more at a time, or give each child an independent experience of your workplace. There are pros and cons to either choice, and the right decision will likely depend on your children's ages and personalities.
Before you show up with a crowd of children on take your daughter to work day, be sure to check with your supervisor and warn your colleagues in advance. You'll want to have a plan for completing any urgent work while your daughter or children are present, whether that's a coloring book or a portable DVD player to keep them entertained.
If you work for a large organization, it's likely that your employer will plan special activities for take your daughter to work day. A tour of the work space is a must, and it's wonderful when they can get creative by allowing children to participate in the work of the organization in some small way. But even if take your daughter to work day ends up being little more than sharing a commute and exposing your child to the place where you spend many waking hours, it's likely to create some special memories.