Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bring your children to work week

Mr. Geeky is heading out of town and since he's the primary childcare person during the summer months, I'll be taking over the few days. Mr. Geeky has been taking the kids into work with him every day this summer, letting them play on the computer, enforcing some reading and outside time, and taking them to lunch at the campus cafe. Other people, I guess, hire a sitter or put their kids in camp or come up with other childcare arrangements. The last couple of weeks, however, I've seen a lot more kids on campus. Childcare dries up the last two weeks of August. College students return to school. Camps, without their college kid staff, close up shop. Even high schoolers are hard to find as they take last minute vacations to the shore or realize they've earned enough money for the summer and are just going to kick back and relax before school starts.

Luckily, our campus is quite friendly to having children around. Nearly everyone in my department who has kids has brought them in at one time or another to hang out while their parents work. MMF has been writing about the fact that many public spaces are not child friendly, and what a problem that can be for parents. Although she's getting some flak in the comments, MMF argues that many liberals, who normally champion women's rights, seem to disdain children's rights in public spaces. The conversation is interesting and worth reading.

What would I do if I couldn't take my kids to work with me? I could work from home or I could take some of my vacation time. But not everyone has that luxury. It seems reasonable as a society that we'd want to provide some way for people to manage childcare and work, but we still struggle with this. And no one seems to want to confront the issue in the political arena. After all, it might upset big business. Any presidential candidates out there addressing this?