I woke up this morning to find endless articles, tweets and Facebook updates about people and companies talking about Take Your Child to Work Day. I’m glad no one told my daughters about this special holiday, because then they’d be sitting right next to me at the kitchen table as I write this post. And then they’d bother me to make them food at some point. And then they’d interrupt my conference calls, and probably end up on a computer playing a game or watching Annoying Orange – which come to think of it is how many people spend their workday. But, really it got me thinking about the fake Mommy Wars and how in the midst of all this Stay at Home Mom/Work Outside the Home Mom business there are so many of us who work at home, or at a coffee shop, or during nap time or until school pick up time or any combination thereof.
My problem is not that my daughters need to have a Take Your Child to Work Day so they could get an appreciation of what I do. No, my problem is that my daughters see me working way too much. When you work from your home and for yourself like I do there is no office to leave behind at night. There is no commute to clear your head, no downtime between working and seeing your kids, no demarcation of work and personal space in the home. My “office” gets cleared away to set the table for dinner, or make room for homework, but it just moves into the living room instead.
My husband also brings home his work in the form of constant email and the occasional project. But it’s not like my work, which revolves around social media and a website that constantly needs to be monitored. My work colleagues live on Twitter and Facebook. They are not people I see for a set time during the day – they are constantly flickering through my world. And it’s harder and harder to shut it off when there is a Twitter party that needs joining, another pitch or email to get back to, an event to plan, a site upgrade to approve. Everyone in my space is working round the clock, and it’s become the norm to expect an instant reply no matter the time of day.
So instead of taking my daughters to work today I will try and do the opposite and turn off my work at 5:00 like a 1950’s dad would do, and shut my laptop and maybe even stow it away. The cell phone too. And the tablet. And – this is going to be harder than I thought…