Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hanging Out With Mom: Bringing Your Kids To Work

I've spent the last few days running the shop with my youngest daughter Mystery. She's thirteen, but she has been helping us run a store since she was in preschool, so it's old hat for her. She is home visiting before school starts. We've missed each other since school got out, so she's insisted on hanging out with me during the day.

My other two kids help run the shop too, and they are awesome at it, but Mystery shows more of an interest in the business end than they do. We got an order of fairy stuff in, and she watched me price the first set. She priced the second set on her own. She's figured out the cash register and how to do the reports. Then she sat next to me and helped me chart my promo work so I could keep track of it.

Friday I tried to get her to stay home but she refused. She really wants to be here and be a part of the business. We decided that the proper music for doing spreadsheets happens to be Black Eyed Peas. A few entries, a few chair grooves, a few more entries, a few lines of song. So it could just be the work environment.

But at thirteen she is a firecracker. She has thought about becoming an attorney for some time, but lately she has been thinking specifically about business law. I have no doubt that she will make it. That's just who she is.
All of my kids are different, anybody who has ever met them comments on it. They act more like adults than children. They discuss politic, religion, and philosophy. They enjoy documentaries and learning programs. Each of them has plans to make the world a better place in their own way.

When Mystery was small she would always tug at my sleeve when we were standing in the check-out line and then point to whatever collection jar happened to be on the counter. "Money for the poor people mommy?" "We are the poor people," I would always reply, then go to work cleaning the change out of my purse. Walking out of the store without dropping something into the jar was out of the question.

When she first began discussing the possibility of becoming an attorney, she said she wanted to help people in court like I do sometimes. I help people get protection orders, fill out paperwork, and teach them how the court system works so they can get through it. I am far from an attorney, but my child still sees that in me.
My son, on the other hand, is a much more entrepreneurial sort. He has already purchased merchandise with his own money to place in the shop. One of his knives has sold. My oldest, and the closest thing to having a clone I could imagine, is the creative mind behind many things in our lives. She is currently working on the new book cover for Sister, Survivor, and will be giving it a first edit when I am done with the final draft. She has the soul of an artist too.

And all three of my children are excellent writers too...

I don't know many other mothers whose kids insist on working in the family business, or who would prefer to hang out with mom over their friends during the summer vacation.

I can't help but wonder what her coworkers will think of her when she is doing legal briefs and chair grooving to the beat in her head, but it worked for Ally McBeal, I guess. If work isn't fun then you aren't doing it right.

I enjoy spending time with my children, and I've always expected more from them intellectually than most parents perhaps. Their grades mean nothing to me, it proves the level of conformity society has pushed upon my children and nothing more. Tests and worksheets tell me nothing of who the child is that I have raised. Instead, it is seeing my children all pitch in to help get the family business off the ground - not expecting payment in return.

It is knowing that even in their teens, all of the talking about being a team is still there in them. Respect, teamwork, and honesty. They still remember.


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