I’m pretty jealous of my kids during the summer months.
It’s nice that the mornings are less hectic, the traffic dies down, and the homework is non-existent, but the grind never stops. While they’re lathering sunscreen and making new friends, mom and dad are destined to work behind a desk and talk shop on “Meeting Mondays”.
It was a little confusing for the big 2, coming out of Kindergarten and 2nd grade, why they get a much needed break and I’m still dressed in high heels and power buns. I decided this would be the summer I institute a self-proclaimed “Take your Child to Work Day”.
Daniel was first. He missed a summer camp field trip to Fun City, and instead joined me at the Sam’s Club Corporate Headquarters. I considered early in my plans that this could be blog worthy, and therefore carefully watched how the day would unfold. I’m certainly glad I paid special attention since I’m sure I learned more than he did.
- When co-workers see your kid at work, they assume something went wrong. At least in my office, you don’t see children often. We are serious about our business! But life happens, and the culture is accepting of extenuating circumstances requiring mom (or the occasional dad) to harbor a stowaway. Maybe the daycare is closed or a sitter fell through and that in-person meeting couldn’t wait another day. First thing in the morning, while we were still getting settled, my Chief Merchant just happened to be on the floor and kindly offered an iPad to keep Daniel busy. He seemed a little perplexed when I quickly declined and shared that he would be “working” today. No need for Disney Junior.
- When co-workers see your kid at work, it makes them smile. Considering it’s infrequent, seeing an 8 year old in the office (especially one as stinkin’ cute as mine) is a welcome change of scenery. It’s a comforting reminder that we all have special lives that extend beyond the corporate walls. Daniel took notice when he asked “why is everyone staring at me, mom?” I told him to look around….he was the only kid there, and that made everyone around him feel happy.
- Kids bring refreshing perspective and inspirational ideas. Daniel has absolutely terrible handwriting. All year, his teacher really challenged me to help him along, but nothing seemed to motivate lasting improvement. I decided that during his work day, he’d be writing 10 letters to 10 different category teams listing out original product development ideas for new items. In order for these Buyers to be able to even consider his proposals, they have to be able to read his list! He finally understood why it’s important when he wanted more than anything for the video game Buyer to come up with a Captain Underpants game for Playstation. But something even more amazing happened….his unrestricted creativity for guided missile drones in toys and “chocolate chips” in snacks (it’s a chip made of chocolate) inspired REAL items! When the snack Buyer told me Daniel’s ideas was coming to a Sam’s Club near you, I couldn’t have been more proud and he was EXCITED!
- It’s never too early to network. It may sound a little silly, but I’m convinced Daniel is learning the importance of connecting with people and building relationships. He met with the video game Buyer for 30 minutes, talking about super hero characters and new releases to market. I get bored after 30 seconds, and here’s my son building a brand just by talking about what he loves.
- I got some real work done, too. Since my job wasn’t to entertain his experience and he had his own responsibilities, I was free to run my spring inventory reporting and review holiday event items with one of our merchandising VPs. Win Win.
- Fellow Mommies all over the building knew they could do it too. I have a ton of respect for my position in this multi-billion dollar company. I recognize the contribution my company made to help enable this blessed life, and it’s a real honor to pay it forward every chance I get. I want other Rock Star Career Moms to know that we see them. The work they do here and at home matters more than they know. We are all better at our jobs because leadership development often begins with raising a family.
- I’ve never had a cuter lunch date. Not to knock my Hottie Hubby, but Daniel chowing down on some Sam’s Cafe pizza was picture perfect.
- The mystery of where mom spends her day disappears. I visit Daniel often to check in on his day. Now he can say he did the same. We’ve shared our independent experiences, and that helps us stay connected. I can remind him of a person he met when I tell him about my day, and he’s reminded of how his busy mom made him a priority.
- A little boy watching his mom will grow to be a man in the workplace. Enough said. I can’t even write about how incredibly important this is for women and our world without feeling overwhelmed. What a privilege it is to raise a child.
- Work Matters. It matters at home. It matters in the office. It matters in marriage. It matters in mentoring. It matters in leadership. It matters in being a mama to our impressionable children. So many career moms, including me, often doubt the decision to work outside the home. The undefeated internet attempts to continuously remind us of our failure to thrive…..but allow me to state a certain fact: your work matters. All of it.
My 6 year old Cori is up next. She’s been reminding me regularly that she’s ready for her own “take your child to work day.” Stand by for Part 2: My mini-me is better than me at my job.