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Work from Home Reveals New Sides of Parents

FEI LU, HOST: It’s not only Earth Day. Today is also National Take Your Child to Work Day. When kids get to see their parents in their workplace environment. But since the outbreak of the pandemic, many New York City kids see their parents at work every day, right at home. Renée Roden reports.

RENÉE RODEN, BYLINE: Liz Morrison is a licensed therapist who runs her own private practice. She’s also the mom to two children under four. Her line of work doesn’t allow for kids to visit her on the job. But she’s already talking to her daughter Ella, who is three, about her work.

LIZ MORRISON: Ella, what do you want to be when you grow up?

ELLA: I want to be a, worker and I want to help your clients and watch them

talk to your clients together.

RODEN: Take Your Daughters or Sons to Work Day was pioneered in 1993 by feminist Gloria Steinem. The holiday was founded to familiarize young girls with professional office spaces. Sara Zaidi, a child psychologist, says that the pandemic has actually given children a clearer picture of professional life than visiting an office for just a day.

SARA ZAIDI: You take them around, introduce them to your coworkers and see the

space that you work in, but they don't do anything to get a sense of what you

do, the way that they have through the pandemic.

RODEN: Over the past year, she says, kids have witnessed the hard things about work. One of Zaidi’s young clients saw his dad lose his job.

ZAIDI: It increased their level of empathy for the parent’s situation and

understood a bit more like why dad might not be as happy or jovial when he

comes home from work, because he has all this other stuff to deal with.

RODEN: Yarisa Perez is a teacher who works with special needs students. She says that over the past year her 4-year-old daughter, Zya, has watched her teach on Zoom.

YARISA PEREZ: One day she was in school and they were talking about how people are different. And there was a little boy in the wheelchair and she raised her hand and she said, you know, my mom's kids are in a wheelchair, you know? So it was nice. Like, Oh, you know, had this not been happening that we were in Zoom, she probably wouldn't know what my students look like apart from you know what I tell her.

RODEN: Her daughter has developed deeper empathy for people who are differently abled. Perez says her daughter also understands her job better.

PEREZ: Oh just like Ms. Castillo, you are a teacher too. I'm like, yes, I am. It's just that my, you know, my niños are different.

ZAIDI: I think the most interesting thing that I've heard from kids is that they

have realized that their parents are different people at work and they are

different at home.

RODEN: Even Sara Zaidi’s children have noticed the difference.

ZAIDI: Whereas before it was sort of like, okay, now it's just mom, who's home.

Now they see me as a professional, at least from nine to six and then it's like,

okay,now she's changing into her pajamas. Now she's mom again.

RODEN: And for Zaidi’s son Zaaran, the year of seeing his mom at work has inspired him to think of his own future.

ZAIDI: What do you want to be when you grow up?

ZAARAN: I want to be a doctor like, like her. Why? Because I think I would be good at it.

RODEN: From our Zoom cubicles and work from home studio, happy take your child to work year- I mean, day.

Renée Roden, Columbia Radio News


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