Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday: Taking Your Kids to Work

Working Mom WednesdayI am an only child, and have countless childhood memories of fun times with my parents. One such fun memory is going to my dad’s office with him on Saturdays every now and then. We would stop at a bakery and get doughnuts and milk (coffee for him, I’m sure). We would drive downtown and park in the underground garage, take one elevator up to the marble lobby and then another up to his floor, or one near it that had a nice break room. We would enjoy our breakfast—I always got a Long John—the elongated, cream-filled, chocolate-glazed delight that is occasionally (disappointingly!) confused with a custard-filled éclair. (Blech—if I can’t feel the sugar crunch between my teeth, it’s no good.)

Then we would go to my dad’s office, where he would set me up at a coffee table or secretary’s desk (back when you could call them secretaries), and I would draw and color with highlighters on printer paper (back when printer paper was connected in a big folded stack and you had to tear off the little perforated borders used to guide the paper on the printer’s tracks).
All these memories came flooding back yesterday when I read a question posted on Parents magazine’s facebook page: Do you ever take your child to work with you?
Comments before mine reflected the variety of working environments and situations out there:
“If you work with the public, you really can’t!” (retail clerks, customer service, teachers, etc.)
“I work from home so I do every day!”
“I can’t, but I wish my workplace had a day care so they could be close by.”
“I think every working mom should have the option to take their kids with them.”
“Don’t say that! My ex was a stripper and took the kids with her sometimes!” (seriously, that was a real comment)

Other than brief visits when Matt’s parents are about to pick Kate up at my office, I’ve only had Kate in the office while I was working once. She was just a few months old, still able to hang out in her carrier, and Matt had to drop her off with me for the last two hours of the day or so, while he went to a meeting. I felt really awkward about it, and tried to keep her quiet.

At this stage of life, she would be a real handful and more or less impossible to have around while working (cue frustrated comment from my spouse who has to juggle that situation two days a week at home). Still, I daydream about the day when Kate will be old enough to come in with me on a Saturday or while Daddy has a meeting, and entertain herself, coloring quietly at a nearby conference table, occasionally piping up with precocious questions like “What’s a fax machine?” and “Is white noise really white?”

Though we are happy with Kate’s day care, I do think it would be cool to have on-site child care. There is a nearby drop-in-day-care that we could use on days when Kate has to stay home from day care for mild illness, or when Matt has a sudden conflict on Daddy Daughter Day, but it is located in Nashville’s Federal Building, and after Oklahoma City, I am honestly too uneasy to ever take her there. Parents or Parenting (I read both and can’t keep straight what I read where) recently had an article about the child-care dilemma for parents when kids get sick. A study it cited actually says that in most cases, day cares send kids home unnecessarily, costing parents many hours in sick leave, vacation time, etc.
Do you ever take your kids to work with you? Is it for fun (like a “take your daughter to work day”) or out of necessity (like a two-working-parent scheduling conflict or sick day)?
Is your employer supportive of and flexible with such arrangements?


Kristen said...

I took Addie to work with me once when I had to do a quick task on the weekend. This was about two years ago and she did well coloring on the floor with some index cards and pens :) I had Landon at the office when he was about 8 months old for about an hour while I waited for JM to pick him up (he had an ear infection and had been sent home from daycare). He slept the entire time, but I felt awkward - even though my boss had given the 'okay.'

Katie Bug said...

Last school year, I worked as a very part-time assistant for one of our pastors. Most of the work was done from home, but I did spend a few hours in the office each week. Katie Bug usually went with me...but that meant it took me 3 hours to do 1.5 hour's worth of work.
As a teacher, though, I don't see any way that I could bring her to work with me right now. Pretty sure my principal wouldn't go for that one, either.
When I was pregnant, though, a few parents brought it to my attention that their five year olds thought my baby would be coming to school with me after she was born. The class was seriously disappointed when I burst that bubble.


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