Each day after school, my son hops in the car and asks, “So, what did you do all day?”
Trust me; nothing makes you feel more inadequate than having to list your accomplishments for the day to a seven-year-old. To be fair, he is really sweet for asking and he truly seems to want to know what I do all day.
What did I do all day? Hmm, how do I answer that? Well, on a good writing day, I actually got an article finished or at least outlined one and on a super good day, I got an acceptance letter or new assignment.
On the good days and (wish I had more of them) super good days, I am more than happy to share with my son what I did.
Ah, but on the bad writing days, the days when I stared at the blank screen waiting for inspiration to strike… and it didn’t… so I gave up…. After that I hid out on Facebook playing Bejeweled Blitz for an hour (yes, I really have done that).
On those days I choose not to share that with my son. Really, I don’t think that is a good example of how I spent my day. On those days, I just mumble something about doing “research” and cross my fingers; he doesn’t ask what kind of research.
On a super bad day, I got a rejection letter and there is no way I am talking about it, it is just rubbing salt in the wound. So, I just distract him with a kid’s favorite question: “How was lunch?”
Most kids don’t have a firm understanding of what their parents do all day at work, unless the job is something quite tangible like doctor (“I helped sick people”) or construction worker(“I finished building the house today”).
When you work a) at home, b) writing, the answer is even fuzzier. You can see the kid’s eyes glazing over as you explain how you fixed that run on sentence in paragraph 25.
On some days I am lucky I have interviews with people so I can at least say I talked to people… There are days when I don’t even talk to anyone all day (no, I don’t count myself or the pets). Ah, such is the life of a writer…
So, how much do you share with your own children about what you do while they’re not home? How much of it depends on what kind of day you’ve had? How much do you share? What do you hope they get out of hearing about your day? Do you share more or less than your own mother shared with you?
Bio: Jennifer Flaten is a Wisconsin-based writer with three small children who understands the delicate balance between home and work. She knows having a healthy, happy family is a priority, and with that in mind, she has a special interest in health, family and technology. Her works have been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and at various online journals.
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