How to have a conversation with your kids about work
At the end of every day, [if you have a soul], you’re asking your kids how their day was.
My usual run of questions looks something like this;
“What did you do at school today?”
“What was your favorite part of the day?”
“What was the coolest thing you did today?”
On a chatty day, I’ll get answers to all of these. On a meh day, I get the standard answer, “fine”.
One day, the tables turned, and I was a little stunned at first.
I heard a little voice saying to me,
“Mommy, how was your day?”
“What did you do today?”
Oh, cool! My son wants to know about my day! What a sweet little boy.
What does he want?
Is he going to ask me to be a goalie again?
Shut up Jacq, just answer the questions.
"I worked today." I answer.
"What does that mean?" He probes.
Oh, he wants more....
“I wrote a bunch of stuff, and people liked it. I also made a presentation and went to some meetings and talked to people.”
Now, I offer details about my working mom day right after I’m done with my rapid-fire with the kids’ day.
Even if it seems like they’re ignoring me at first, I know they’re listening.
How do I know? Because they ask me questions about it.
They validated my existence.
When you’re done asking your kids how their day at school was, why not offer some details about your own day?
Complaining is not a conversation
If you come home from work, complaining about how exhausted you are, how big of an asshole your boss is, and how Debbie drama is stirring shit up at the water cooler - what are you teaching them?
You might be teaching them not to have a job – which is fine too – what if they don’t want a job, and you want them to blaze their own trail? Cool.
Do you work in IT and would never wish the horrors of the corporate world on your kids? Think complaining about it will stop them? Probably not. They might end up just like you.
Do you want your daughter to come home from work at the end of the day exhausted, hating her life, and carelessly throwing a frozen meal into the microwave because she is just SO DONE?
The little people are watching. They’re also ready to listen if you’re talking.
Ready to start blabbing about your day?
Here are some easy ways to talk about your work to kids:
- Talk about it in a positive way
- If something was shitty today, tell them what was shitty [replace “shitty” with “poopy” if you wish], and how it made you feel – and what you’re going to do about it. Show them you’re a problem solver, that shit [poop] happens sometimes, and that you can handle it—LIKE A BOSS.
- Show them something you made or did at work. I show my kids PowerPoint presentations all the time. They look at it like, “Wow, that’s boring mom.” But if I talk about it with an ounce of enthusiasm and tell them what happened because of it – I made the client happy, everyone loved it, or I got a standing ovation [totally making this up, I’ve never had this happen], they’ll be excited too.
- A funny video or story you laughed about with your coworkers
- Show them a photo of their pictures or drawings decorating your desk at your work. Make sure you tell them about all the nice compliments people offered about their stuff too.
- Bring them to work! If you can of course – take them to your work, show them around, introduce them to people, show them what a day in the life of you is like. Show them where you eat lunch and where you get your coffee. I brought my kids to the office one day and once they got over the elevator ride to the 53rd floor, they were wowed by the view and the office, the abundance of snacks and the pop stocked in the fridge.
- How what you did at work today is making a difference in someone else’s life
- Your biggest win of the day
- Play the two truths and a lie game
- What you’re excited to tackle tomorrow.
Your kids will see that there’s more to you than the one who wipes boogers, makes PB&J sandwiches, and tells them how much time of whatever they’re doing they have left.
You’re a multi-faced woman, you’re passionate, and you can kill it at soccer coaching and PTO-ing the heck out of those snack nights.