Hate To Say It, But ‘Take Your Child To Work Day’ Is Lame

take your sons and daughters to work dayToday is Take Your Child To Work Day, which means very little to me. In fact, one of my colleagues mentioned it on Skype this morning and the collective response from all our writers was, “Oh, right.” As a woman and mother, I hate to admit this, but my first thought was, “Is Take Your Child To Work Day still relevant in 2012?”

Don’t get me wrong – the initial premise of Take Your Child To Work Day is awesome. It was actually created by Ms. Magazine, which dubbed the event “Take Our Daughters To Work Day.” That was 20 years ago, and it was very much a reflection of how far girls still had to go before they were equal to boys. A decade later, the name was changed to “Take Our Sons And Daughters To Work Day,” which showed that girls had indeed made great strides.

But now it’s 2012 and while we have yet to see gender equality in the workforce, I think the whole idea of pulling your child out of school and schlepping him or her to your office is unappealing for many. That’s not to disregard the 37 million kids who are expected to visit 3.5 million workplaces across the country today. Clearly this is a big deal for lots of people. But for me, personally, I find it lame. That’s probably because I work from home most of the time, and so my kids are forever seeing me hunched over the computer screen in our makeshift office/den. They’re only 6 and 3, so they don’t really “get” what I do anyway, nor have they expressed interest.

But even when I did work full-time in a downtown office building, having my kids visit for even a few moments was a total disaster. They were loud and disruptive, and their presence immediately branded me “mom” rather than “executive editor.” That’s not to say I hid the fact that I have children – they were and still are the most important part of my life and a huge part of my identity. But let’s get real: when you work in certain industries, you don’t want to be known as the mommy who’s itching to leave the office at 5 on the nose so that you can tend to your children. You want to at least fake the fact that your main priority is work, at least in the eyes of your boss. (I know, I know – how can we expect to see positive change and more of a work-life balance with that attitude? But sorry, it’s how I feel.)

Of course, the whole day is meant for older kids anyway, and so bringing your toddlers to work isn’t such a grand idea at the best of times. But I still can’t envision the day where I’d be happy about bringing my kids, no matter how old, to work. Does that make me a bad mom? Or am I just being realistic?

Alas, just when I thought I was alone in my anti-Take Your Child To Work Day stance, I stumbled upon these awesome cards at someecards.com mocking the holiday and expressing my sentiments exactly. And, man, are they ever funny! If, like me, you don’t get the appeal of dragging your kids to work, they’re worth checking out. Here’s a little sampling:

I’ll leave you with this one – my absolute fave:

(Photo: someecards.com)



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  • Jen

    I think it really depends on the workplace environment/job. I have very fond memories of going into work at the pharmacy with my father (who also brought my brother along even before the name change). We got to see what he did for a living, meet his coworkers and in general have a grand time hanging out with the parent we didn’t get to see all the time. I know several women who were inspired to follow in their mother or father’s footsteps after an especially thrilling “take your kid to work” experience.

    My daughter is only 4, but my husband can’t wait until she is old enough to come to Take Your Kid to Work Day. His office has a hugely parent positive culture and every year they put on a wonderful event for parents who bring their children along. I wish all workplaces in the US would be as friendly and understanding when it comes to parents of both genders.

  • Kacie

    I’m 27, and I loved Take Our Daughters to Work day, especially the time I said I wanted to be a secretary because I saw them laughing and eating candy. My dad’s response in front of all the secretaries: “You’re not going to be a secretary; you’re going to HAVE a secretary.” They were made at him for a few days