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A Peek Into The Life of a Working Mom: Five Reasons I Work As Explained to My Daughter

Four Year Old With an Umbrella
My daughter is a precocious four year old. She is in tune with herself and the world around her. Accordingly, she has begun to ask questions like, “Mommy why do you go to work?” Although I publicly lament many things about my life in Corporate America on this blog, I do not share those thoughts with her. I don’t tell her that I work because “I have to” and I don’t tell her that he antiquated resistance of Corporate America to flexible work means that I am away from her for longer than I really need to be each day.  She’ll learn about all of that soon enough.

Instead, I want her to focus on the positive aspects of working. So, I appeal to things that she knows and likes.

1.       Response #1: I work to afford groceries.
·         Her Translation: Wow, I wouldn’t have any fruit snacks or treats if mommy didn’t work. The horror!

2.       Response #2: I like to get dressed up and to interact with my colleagues.
·         Her Translation: I get to wear fancy clothes hang out with my friends. That’s up her alley.

3.       Response#3: I sometimes get to go out to lunch.
·         Her Translation: I get to go to restaurants and order whatever I want. She thinks this is pretty cool.

4.       Response #4: I get to attend meetings and learn about interesting things. Here’s something I brought back for you.
·         Her Translation: When I grow up, I want to go to work so that I can go to parties meetings and get a gift bag even when it’s not someone’s birthday.

5.       Response #5: I work so that we can afford to go on vacations.
·         Her Translation: I LOVE that mommy goes to work because that means that I get to go on vacation and stay in the hotel, get room service, and play on the beach.

As you can see, to my daughter, my work is all about food, fun, friends, and fancy clothes. To tell you the truth, her impression is not much different than mine was while I watched Ally McBeal before becoming an attorney. And while my reality as an attorney includes the good, the bad and the ugly, for now, I’ll let her keep believing as she does. There are worse things she could be thinking!
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