Ah, the fourth Thursday of every April, good ol’ Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. Growing up I always looked forward to this day. It was about two weeks after my birthday, which perpetuated my selfish, child-brained notion that the month of April was solely geared around either festivities and gifts for me, or a day to play hooky from school. I wish that I’d seen Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day as more than that.
When I was really young I don’t know that it ever occurred to me to even wonder what my mom did all day while I was singing “Wheels on the Bus” and frolicking on the playground. When I got a bit older I remember thinking that she was so lucky for getting to do “Whatever she wanted” because she was grown up and went to work, not school. (Excuse me while I take a 42-minute pause from writing this to cry/laugh hysterically.)
It was always interesting to me to go with her to work on that Thursday in April. I loved going to her office and seeing her desk. Of course, I loved being doted on by her coworkers. “Oh, she’s so pretty!” “Katie you’re growing up so fast!” One of them even marked my height on a pole that was in the middle of their office every year. We usually went out to lunch somewhere and I concluded the day by making the all-important copies of my hands in different positions. But I missed the point of this important day, didn’t I?
What I should have seen instead of a day out of class was a woman — a single mother of two young children — who was working her butt off at a real estate office, taking classes at night to get her real estate license, and who was well on her way to becoming a highly respected and very successful realtor.
I should have paid attention to how she handled herself with her coworkers, how she treated her clients, and how she was too busy working and climbing the ladder to be dissuaded by anyone. I should have learned all that I could from her in that one day of getting to see her in action about how to navigate my way as a woman in the workplace.
I now have two daughters, an almost 4-year-old and an almost 2-year-old. They’re still a bit young to come with me to work, because #theycoloronwalls, but when they do I think I will approach it a little differently than fancy lunches and doting coworkers.
I hope I can find a way to make them see that they can do whatever they want. They can BE whoever they want. That their dreams are only limited by their own imagination.
I hope that they see me working and that it doesn’t even occur to them that as a woman in the construction industry, I am usually the minority in my work environment. I hope all they see is that I love what I do, I work really hard, and I don’t let anything stop me from pursuing my goals. I want them to see that they don’t have to stomp their high heels and demand respect because through being smart, persistent, resilient, and diligent they will earn it.
In a few years, I will be ready for my girls on this day. Let’s be honest, no matter how hard I work, I’m a mom, and I will for sure need a few copies of their little hands! But as for the rest… maybe it is ambitious for me to think that they will absorb this all in a day, but if that’s the case then I hope they see that it’s okay to be ambitious, too.
Take your kids to work, Mamas, and make it count! And don’t forget the hand copies.