Do you dread going to work? Every Sunday night, do you curse the alarm clock, reminding you have 128 hours until you can clock out for the next weekend?
You aren’t alone. According to an October 2013 Forbes article, 13 percent of workers have a strong passion for their job and employer. A whopping 63 percent are unhappy and “putting little energy into their work.” And the remaining 24 percent of American employees are what the Gallup folks call hatin’ on their jobs.
With almost 90 percent of the country not enjoying their jobs, I didn’t feel so bad six years ago abandoning my career as a pediatric nurse. I desired to focus on raising my children, so I folded up my scrub pants and started folding footy pajamas.
It wasn’t until I dove into being a full-time stay-at-home mom that I discovered the “Mom Job” was harder than figuring out chemotherapy doses for kids. But I knew this was the right decision for me and relished the time I had to educate our kids the way my husband and I felt necessary.
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So the other day, six years later, I overheard my eldest daughter telling my youngest, “What are you talking about?! Mom doesn’t have a job!”
That sucker punch knocked all the air right out of me. I knew my girl was only a third-grader, but I had been preaching equal rights for all women, teaching them about Gloria Steinem at an early age and how girls can do anything just as well as any boy.
Where did that information go? How loudly did I need to sing Helen Reddy’s song, “I am Woman” (hear me roar), to make a lasting impression? But what was I to think? My children thought I was lazy and unemployed.
I gently broached the subject, assuming that since they were young, maybe they hadn’t retained our previous conversations.
“Honey, did you say that I don’t have a job?” I asked, hiding any judgment.
With a no-nonsense look, she plainly stated, “Well, you don’t.”
Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale…
“Do you mean outside of my writing job?” I asked.
Then she took the dagger in my heart and twisted it back and forth. “That’s not a real job. You don’t go to an office.”
Not only did this child — who was quickly becoming my least favorite — say that my countless hours of writing don’t count, but I was also quite certain she didn’t consider “running our home” a job either.
I remained calm, but I’m sure my word pace quickened. “I do have an office, with office supplies and computers and filing cabinets. Just because I don’t have to put on pants to go to work, doesn’t mean I’m not working!”
“But that’s it,” she said. “You get to be on the computer all day. It’s not fair!”
Ah, the missing link! A mere misunderstanding. She sees being on the computer as being fun. Math and spelling games. Mindcraft and Candy Crush. Taking away the computer is the worst parenting crime ever, by most children’s standards.
I didn’t realize she wasn’t paying attention to what I was working on. Plus, I had a cuddly, sleeping kitten on my lap while working. Why wouldn’t she be jealous that I get to stay home with all that fun, while she has to go to school?
After ensuring that both my daughters understood what I did all day, including cleaning, making healthy food for their bellies, and washing clothing so they don’t reek like a bag of stale Fritos, I finally saw their perception of me change.
And don’t think I didn’t make them listen to the DVR recording of Patricia Arquette’s rousing speech on the Oscars. Thanks, Patricia, for reinforcing my teachings.
Way to roar!