My daughter Satya plays office a lot. I’m sure it means that I work too much or that I should get off the damn phone, but, hey, at least she knows that mama has to work so she can have all the Wonder Woman toys she needs to survive.

She can often be found pacing the apartment, hot pink Motorola Razr to the ear – (who said flip phone are obsolete?) – carrying around a crystal encrusted Hello Kitty calculator she says is her computer. A couple of taps, the phone slaps shut and she lets out a big sigh: “My boss, Miss Leyla Deyla, is being so silly, mama. She is wearing her underwear on her head.”

(Full disclosure: I’ve never called my boss silly and I can’t even begin to unpack the second part of that sentence.)

 

For better or worse, Satya is obsessed with work and constantly angling to come to the Dow Jones offices with me. She draws pictures of us working together and her current answer to what she will be when she grows up involves being a writer, sharing a desk with me and eating lunch together daily. When I had to bring her to work over Columbus Day – school was shut, I had a meeting I didn’t want to cancel – I stuffed my backpack full of scented markers, Trolls coloring books and Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies and hoped for the best. (The reality lived up to the dream and when she woke up from her nap mid-meeting, she hopped in my lap and it was business as usual, albeit with a lot less 4-letter words.)

So when children’s fashion brand Janie and Jack asked us to work together for real for their new “Me and Mommy” video campaign – also featuring Hilaria Baldwin and her daughter Carmen – well, I knew we had to do it. But I was terrified about actually having to work with my 4-year-old. Preschoolers are so many things – creative, frenetic, hilarious – but unpredictable also makes the list, probably somewhere near the top.

(Fuller disclosure: We didn’t get paid. Instead, we asked the company to make a donation to a childhood cancer charity the Tomorrows Children’s Fund, where I’m also a board member. Satya is a cancer survivor so it’s really important to us that we try to help other kids and families battling pediatric cancers.)

As part of the campaign, there was a question and answer session with former “The Chew” host Daphne Oz which means the kid and I needed to prep. We practiced some of the questions – What does mommy like to wear? Do you like when mommy picks out your clothes? – and talked through the format. Of course, what we discussed and what really happened were, well, a little different than I imagined.

Question: When does mommy look the most beautiful?
Answer at home: When she wears her leopard shoes.
Answer on the shoot: When she wears her leopard underwear.

Question: What’s your favorite holiday?
Answer at home: My birthday.
Answer on the shoot: Thanksgiving. I love turkey.
(Fullest disclosure: She’s never eaten turkey, she’s a vegetarian.)

Turns out, working with a preschooler is exactly what you think it’ll be like and probably even a little weirder. But she had a blast, particularly at the craft services table. I loved seeing her have conversations with people she’d never met before and watching her blossom in front of an audience. And it gave me great confidence that even though my husband and I are both away from her all day, the examples we’re setting for her as hard working professionals and parents seems to be, even if it’s just for now, helping her see a career as something fun, fulfilling and engaging.

Of course, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, my daily commuting ritual is already her own, too: post shoot, interview and photos done, she fell fast asleep in the car on the way home, a little power snooze to help her power through the evening.

This story was originally published on October 18th, 2017.