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This column is to the mothers who take their children to work everyday.

It’s to every mother who commutes 365 mornings a year from the bedroom to the
kitchen to unload the dishwasher and use the plates again. It’s to every mom
whose executive position requires her to be on call 24 hours a day,
necessitates her presence for every two-hour feeding, and demands her
expertise for high fevers, stomach bugs and skinned knees.

This is to commemorate every mother who has sacrificed posh corridors
for diaper pails, conference meetings for temper tantrums, business travel
for the swing in the park. To those mothers who have forgone a bigger car in
order to be at the bus stop in the afternoon, who choose spaghetti on the
floor over a power lunch at an upscale restaurant, and who traded in business
suits for shoulder napkins and baby bibs — this is for you.

This is a salute to every woman whose children are her work every day,
and to those mothers whose greatest desire is to stay home with her children
but are unable to. You are the ones who work harder than the advertising
executive, the real estate mogul, or the accountant on April 1. Your
work does not end at 5, you cannot leave your troubles at the office, and
your immediate reward may be nothing more than a fleeting smile on a child’s
face. But your accomplishments will reach further into the future than any
that could be made by a computer programmer, a NASA engineer or a lawyer.

For every woman who has ever mopped a floor with a baby in the house,
folded clothes with the help of a toddler, or gone shopping with a
3-year-old, here’s to a job well-done, and to a job that will have to be
done again.

To every mother who feels her social life consists only of well-baby visits at the doctors’ and the diaper aisle in the grocery store, fear not, for the job will soon escalate to car pools and little league games, Scout meetings and school plays.

Here’s to a job that takes more guts than being a paratrooper. Going to
work is as easy as staying in the plane, but the thrill is in jumping out.
Staying home with the children is the free fall. The closer one gets to the
ground, the closer the children are to being grown up.

This is not a job cut out for everyone. It requires enduring
selflessness, imperturbable patience and a wellspring of blind faith. It
demands a belief in life and in love. And it takes a wisdom that no high
school, college or graduate school can teach.

So to those who participate in Take Your Daughter To Work Day, who
show their offspring their daily regimen behind a computer screen or in a
lab coat, on the production line or in an aisle, here’s a pat on the back to
you.

But to those mothers who take their children to work, and it doesn’t vary
from any other day, who spend it washing clothes and mopping floors, changing
diapers and taking out the trash, you deserve the loudest accolades. Because
court cases and logarithms, price markdowns and sales quotas don’t really
matter much to a child. But what does matter is a mother who is there when
they take their first step, fall off their bike or come home after a
difficult day at school.

This is to every woman who believes in being a wife and mother first, and who understands that staying home is a labor of love.

This is to you.

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