Every year, the fourth Thursday in April is Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day. If you're a parent who works outside the home, it's a great opportunity to show your kids what the rest of your day looks like, what kinds of problems you solve, and who you spend time with (often, people they've never met).
My dad had a 40+-year career as an engineer (he's now retired). While he never took me to the office with him for an entire day, I did occasionally get a glimpse of his tie-wearing, cubicle-working, football-pool-participating, tea break-taking work life, and I was fascinated. He worked on the 33rd floor of a towering glass building off Market Street in San Francisco. When I came to his office, I had to stop at the front and get a visitor's badge, which made me feel very important and special. We'd ride the elevator up, up, up to his floor, and then make our way through the labyrinth of cubicles to his desk. It was piled with spreadsheets and reports full of numbers and words I didn't understand. I loved meeting his coworkers; usually large, jovial men who shook my hand vigorously and gazed down at me with fatherly pride. (I don't recall meeting any female engineers at the time.) It was an entire world I wasn't a part of, and I felt proud whenever I could visit, even for a few minutes.
For me — a stay- and work-at-home mom — every day is Take Your Kids to Work Day. So, this afternoon, I'm sitting my kids down in front of the laptop and telling them about my writing (including Parent Hacks). I'm also drawing up a mock-schedule of my home routine so they can see the work I do to keep family life rolling along. Domestic work has a way of becoming invisible, so it's good to point out to kids just how much effort homemaking and parenting requires. Not as exotic as my visits to my dad's office, but important just the same.