I nearly fell off my home office chair a few months ago when my six-year-old son said: “Moms don’t work.” I had just told him that I was working on a project and that he needed to be quiet for a few minutes while I typed away furiously at my computer. I thought this was his way of rebelling at my gentle request. Yet, for my son, the third child in our family, I could understand his confusion. I’ve been primarily a stay-at-home mom since our second daughter was born. He associated “work” with his father, who leaves our house each day to go to an office, often traveling to other cities for his profession. I’ve chosen a variety of part-time, freelance writing work, along with my weekly radio show, which has allowed me to be available to my children when they’re not in school. While my career path may still evolve to more time working outside the home, his comments made me realize that there are still stereotypes and misconceptions when it comes to the career choices women make, and not just among the youngest of us.
Through my freelance work, I had the honor of meeting Ellen Langas, author of the Girls Know How® series of books. Langas is a career education advocate, mother and local to the Philadelphia area. She’s written the trio of books with the future career choices of our daughters in mind, shattering the typical stereotypes that are still out there. As a mom of two daughters, I literally jumped at the opportunity to have my girls read these books.
The books are perfectly suited for children ages 7-12, and each highlights a different career option. As a reporter, I fell in love with “Will Stephanie Get the Story?” Secretly, I’d love for my daughter to pursue journalism, but she’s a little math whiz and may pursue a STEM career, which I’d be thrilled with, too. As a 10-year-old just months away from turning 11, she certainly doesn’t have to know what that choice is today. The point is that there are books out there to help her–and other young girls–learn that the sky’s the limit when it comes to their futures! Young readers will definitely see that in “Raising the Roof.”
Just in time for the upcoming, annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day later this week, Girls Know How is being featured on Zulily. The set of three books is retailing for $9.99, a nearly 40% savings off the regular retail price! One book in each set includes a bonus signature by the author. In addition, 100 signed books will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region during the special event. Books can be ordered online Thursday, Friday and Saturday (April 28 – 30) only, so make sure to mark your calendar!
I hope you get the chance to purchase this set for your daughter, granddaughter, niece, or family friend. And, if you’re taking your daughter or son to work this week, please let me know! My son will be with me at work, playing on the computer opposite of my desk.
In the meantime, here are some age-appropriate activities Langas suggests we can use to help our children learn more about career choices:
- Follow the Shadow – Job shadowing is a powerful tool to help children of any age gain a sense of career direction and professionalism, as well as a taste of a particular career. Children can spend a day or afternoon with a parent or family friend at work to get a firsthand glimpse into a career of interest.
- My First Resume – Whether it’s running a lemonade stand, babysitting, winning the 6th grade science fair or volunteering, there are plenty of activities suited for a young person’s resume. Help your child prepare one and show how his or her teamwork, leadership, communication skills and achievements translate into valuable job skills.
- Read It – Help your child select books about a variety of careers or college majors at the library or local book store.
- Report It – Interview a family member or friend about his or her career; set aside a time for the child to present and discuss the findings.
- Get Involved – Volunteer with your child for organizations that can provide exposure to a wide variety of job functions, or introduce your son or daughter to the wonderful world of scouting, which offers incredible leadership experiences.
- Get a Job! – Kids can tackle jobs at just about any age. Help your child find something suitable that will offer exposure to concepts such as time, money and project management, plus develop critical thinking skills and creativity. Get those entrepreneurial juices flowing. Jobs can range from mother’s helper to lawn maintenance, picking up mail for vacationers, painting and more depending on age and aptitude. Provide adequate supervision for youngsters.