When I was little, going to work with my mom was one of my favorite things. I often got paid in candy and dollar bills to do the filing for her colleagues, and I always felt pretty important to be there, especially on Take Your Child to Work Day. It wasn't about paperclips and getting a day away from the elementary school cafeteria — learning what Take Your Child To Work Day is really about at a young age turned me into a feminist, and I am forever grateful for it.
Although the day once started out as Take Our Daughters to Work Day, it became Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day in 2002. According to Forbes, more than 37 million Americans participate in the day each year across 3.5 million workplaces. But why? Is it so you have a legit excuse as to why your kid is organizing your paperclips? Is it so your son and daughter get to experience a day out in the "real world"?
Not exactly. Those may be some benefits, but Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is so much more than that. According to the foundation's website, it's about showing your child the opportunities available to them, allowing them to see what it's like to create a healthy balance between work and family, give them an interactive environment to think about their goals, and help them envision their future.
By including boys in the program, the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day also educates our children that family-friendly work environments are not just a woman's issue, but an issue for everyone. Without gender limitations, the day gives your children an opportunity to see what's out there, to understand what it means to work, to dream, and to create a future for themselves.
I've credited this day with making me a feminist, and I stand by that. My experiences of shadowing my mom at work made me see her in an entirely new light and made me feel like I could make a difference one day, too. It showed me how hard she worked all day to provide for us, and how she balanced it with homework, laundry, dinner, and bedtime routines. Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is all about introducing your child to that same balance of work and family, but by integrating boys into the program, it's also proving to your sons and daughters how important both members of the family are in creating that balance.
If you're celebrating the day, make sure to talk to your little ones about what a big deal it is, and start the conversation about the opportunities you see for them and what they want their future to hold. Today's the perfect day to get them motivated and inspired by their world and their hero — you.