Work Life Balance

Pot An Orchid For ‘Take Your Child To Work’ Day

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I’d completely forgotten Thursday was Take Your Child to Work Day until one of my neighbors tweeted:

Oh, whoops. Could’ve sworn it was “Take Your Chili To Work Day.” Apologies to my coworkers. And children.

So how did folks celebrate? The Mary Sue (“A Guide to Girl Geek Culture“) lists 10 places you should NOT take your daughter to work today.  I didn’t understand half the list, which included “The Gizmotic Institute,” “As an Extractor,” and “Jurassic Park.”

But we can always count on the Marthas to do up any holiday right. The Martha Stewart Living company hosted an event where kids learned to perfectly repot an orchid.

There’s something quaint about Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, isn’t there? A few years ago Penelope Trunk railed against the holiday that was created by the Ms. Foundation to redress inequality:

This holiday now strikes me as one similar to Secretaries Day, which is a relic from the days when there were no computers and secretaries had thankless jobs and the men who were having sex with them on the side always forgot to thank her in the spotlight for the typing, so there is an official reminder day to buy her a card. That made sense. Twenty years ago.

Which is why it reminds me of Take Your Child to Work Day.

Indeed. It would be one thing if our culture was somehow struggling to explain to kids that they, too, will have to earn a living. But is that really a problem? Are kids that confused about whether mommy or daddy works? And what the heck are folks who work from home supposed to do? It’s not as if we don’t have enough trouble squeezing in some billable hours between diaper changes and taxi service.

Over at Gawker, Maureen O’Connor points out the pointlessness of the whole day:

“From my childhood I also recall the daughter of an elementary school teacher who, once a year, ditched her school to come to ours. This neatly encapsulates this holiday’s perplexing pointlessness: Unless your workplace really awesome or your child really wants the same job you have, you’re just shifting the venue for her daily wish-I-was-somewhere-else-ing. Instead, why not teach her a valuable lesson about the art of playing hooky: Don’t waste it on anything that isn’t fun.”

Indeed. As it happens, I work from home — a decision I made to help me raise my children. Watching Mommy Stare At A Computer In The Den Day would seem to be of dubious benefit to my children. If you really think there’s educational value to showing your kid where you work one day a year, great — have at it. But if in the year 2011 you feel Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day a necessary corrective to gender paradigms or something, you’re probably overthinking things a bit.