“Mom, what is your job?”
It was a simple, innocent question from my 6-year-old son, as we were sitting eating surprise ice cream after dinner one night.
“Well, I stay home and take care of you,” I said. He wasn’t satisfied – “but, what else do you do?”
Thinking for a second on how best to justify my existence to my son, I said “I do Ben Smiles stuff”, talking about the foundation we created in memory of his brother Benjamin.
Still not satisfied, “what else do you do?”
“Well I have the children’s book.”
He says, “that’s the same thing as Ben Smiles”.
Okay, so what does he want me to say? He’s looking for a physical, tangible ‘job’ like his daddy has that he can wrap his young brain around … an office, me going to work each day, sometimes making it home for dinner. And this is all fine. But he’s looking for something more.
My concern has always been that we (my husband and I) be good examples and good people that our kids can look up to. And that we can raise them with desires, initiatives and goals. But now, does my son think I don’t do anything?
We always talk about what they want to be when they grow up, going to college, studying hard, being a good person … attempting to set a standard or expectation for a child’s life and what every parent wants it to be.
If you ask Colin what he wants to be when he grows up, you will get a list of many professions, all of which he has experience with in some way. Army man, Sears worker, Disney on ice performer, author, and anything else he’s feeling at the time.
And Ava wants to be a mommy. I think this is sweet. She wants to be what I am.
But of course, it touches on my own insecurity that maybe it is time to go back to work. After all, my two living children have turned six and will be in first grade this next school year. It’s not like I have three triplet infants or toddlers that are not yet in school (my life 5 years ago). Or have a significant needs son with complicated medical needs that will be dependent on us for his entire life (he died two years ago).
The truth is the six hours of the day that they are in school is filled with chores, laundry, grocery shopping, meal planning, cleaning, Ben Smiles, Ben’s Adventures, and a sprinkling of small projects here and there, then they are back home. It’s a very quick six hours. And I am busy for most of it. Then after school it’s all of the activities I have signed them up for: gymnastics, ballet, swimming and therapy. None of which would be easy if I had a 9 to 5 gig.
So I’ll keep it as is. And who knows? My husband thinks Ben’s Adventures will ‘take off’ – all it takes is one bolt of lightning he says. So maybe if my lightning strikes, New York Times bestselling author will be my next 'job'.