Unapologetic motherhood: It’s always Bring Your Daughters & Sons To Work Day at TXICFW
By Monica Faulkner
I call it unapologetic motherhood to remind myself not to feel guilty about my inability to do it all. I don’t feel bad when I have to miss or cancel a meeting because I have to rush a child in for a strep test. I also don’t feel bad when I have to spend my time at home finishing a report or designing a survey. If I let myself feel bad, I would never feel good because work and family life is always a little out of balance.
My unapologetic motherhood extends to our institute. Our office is not actively engaged in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day because we have made it a policy that it is always okay to have children in our workspace. I do realize the privilege that comes with being able to have children in our office. Parents who work in retail or food service don’t really have the option of being unapologetic parents at work and I think that should change. Our institute’s commitment to child and family wellbeing intentionally extends to the children and families of our staff.
My girls have spent time with me at work since they were infants, often sleeping through it all, except during conference calls when they exercised their vocal cords. Now, coming to work with mom usually means school is closed for a teacher in-service or the child is too sick for school but not sick enough to sit still at home. We pack snacks, a couple of movies, some coloring, and books. It usually ends with my daughters filling up every whiteboard in our office with their ‘plans.’
My youngest daughter once climbed onto my lap while I was facilitating a meeting and told me that the meeting was over and it was time to go home. That same child had to come with me to the capitol for another meeting where she fell asleep sprawled across chairs in the cafeteria. She is not into meetings. I realized the impact that coming to work with me had on my older daughter when I walked into my garage and she had organized the neighborhood kids in a circle. She was facilitating a meeting to plan a block party. She had an agenda. She was dividing people into committees. She assigned tasks with deadlines. She had clearly learned how to facilitate meetings better than most adults.
My coworkers have had similar experiences of building memories with their children at work and it has been great to watch unapologetic motherhood in action. One of my colleague’s daughters spent an afternoon making detailed art out of small file label stickers. We have held babies so mom can get work done (or go to the bathroom) and corralled toddlers during staff meetings. We have laughed, cried and supported each other through challenging developmental stages, as well as, tight contract deadlines. I feel incredibly lucky that we had the opportunity to create a workspace where children and parenting are valued rather than seen as a distraction from work, that must always get done at a high standard, we learn from our children as much as they learn from us.
April 26th is National Take Our Daughters & Sons To Work Day, learn more at https://daughtersandsonstowork.org