I posted this picture of my daughter on Facebook the other day as a joke–but it also reminded me of just how much my work life affects my kids.
You see, I have this really cool job that totally indulges (encourages!) my obsession with Pinterest, visual content and blogs. And because I’m often discussing topics like Pinterest, or what bloggers are pinning, my daughter suddenly cares about these things, too. She wants to feel included in Mom’s work. So we end up doing “photo shoots” at home like this one, among other things.
One of the many reasons I like being a working mom is because I can serve as a positive role model for my kids. They get to see me as more than a caregiver, but also as a family provider and a professional, pursuing a career that interests and excites me.
In other words, Mom as Multifaceted Person.
Cassie, 7, has had the opportunity to observe me in a variety of workplaces over the years. As my first child, she made early appearances at a few family friendly workplace events when I was an ad agency copywriter (the original home base of this very blog!)
She didn’t really come to my next job, as the office environment was … how do I put this delicately? … NOT kid-friendly (or Susan-friendly, for that matter).
Then my son James came along, and I left the corporate land of white-noise machines to stay home AND work. Now that’s another interesting perspective for your kids to see. I would do laundry, make lunch, play with them, and … write stuff for money — all in the course of our daily home life. I also had to send them off to school and childcare during that period, because (NEWS FLASH) you can’t get a whole lot done with young kids to care for.
In order to meet my deadlines and maintain some amount of sanity, I sent the kids elsewhere and kept my office in our home. Of course, the work would sometimes bleed into family time, like if I had to take a client call while they played at the park. Or a sick kiddo cuddled next to me on the couch as I whipped up social media strategy for clients on my laptop.
No problem. I was my own boss, and I called the shots.
I’m glad my kids had the chance to see that side of me.
(I also practically stalked the mailbox waiting for the mailman to bring me checks. Such is the rollercoaster life of a freelancer!)
Now that I work at a startup–an uber-casual place where kids, dogs and developers mingle freely–I often bring Cassie to work (though James, a very ACTIVE and EXUBERANT 4-year-old, makes just a handful of cameo appearances).
Sometimes I pick her up from school and bring her back to the office for a couple of hours. She enjoys chatting with my coworkers, playing with our Nerf guns, drinking the free pop and watching Netflix on the big screen while I work. (Side note: How much would I have loved going to my parent’s office as a kid if it was this cool!)
Cassie will even design outfits and makeovers on iPhone apps, then show them to our pinners for their feedback (“Whaddya think of THIS? Wanna put it ON PINTEREST?!” she says.) Oy vey.
My husband has had a flexible job for years, so his work spans home and office as well. The kids are just as used to Dad picking them up for doctor appointments or staying home on snow days as they are Mom. They have a vague sense of what he does (reviewing laptops for a top-ranked website) and know that both of their parents are in the writing business.
We try to expose Cassie and James to our careers in little kid-sized chunks, whenever it seems appropriate and relevant to their lives. I hope someday they’ll grow up with a strong work ethic as well as an appreciation for doing what you love–and loving what you do.