What do your kids think you do for a living?

Categories: Career, Parenting, The Juggle, Uncategorized, Working? Living?


“What do you think Mama does for work?” I ask my 3-year-old.

He thinks about it. “Make dinner?” he asks.

“Anything else?” I ask him.

He nods, and tries to sneak a sip of my coffee. It’s cold, so I let him, and he smiles and smacks his lips as a little bit of it dribbles down his chin. “Um… you do laundry?”

I keep asking, and he keeps offering up the things he’s seen me do around the house, and I’m struck by the way he considers all of these things, not just work, but MY work. “You cwean the bathroom when we’re takin’ baths! And you pwetend to vacuum us up! And you pack our lunchies! And you cuddle us!”

I try a different approach. “What do you do for work, Sweetie?” I ask him.

He answers immediately. “I goes to pweschool! So’s I can learn stuff.”

“How about Daddy?”

“He goes to his office! So he can learn stuff! And also fixes the cars outside. I help him. And he makes the fireplace on fire.”

Well, at least I’m not the only one tasked with household chores then.

“What does he do at the office?”

“Plays on his computer. With his phone ears.” The other night my husband was editing video while wearing a pair of large headphones. Apparently, they are quite striking. 

“So, what do I do at my office?”

“Have I gone to your office?”

“Yes, when you were a baby.”

“Oh. Did I work there?”

“No, you were a baby.”

“Oh.” He thinks a little more, and then lights up. “You read books! And work on the computer!”

Close enough.

What do your kids think you do for a living?

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6 comments so far...

  • We used to play a pretending game. “Be a giraffe!” I’d say, and they’d do their best to grow long necks and nibble leaves. “Be a monkey! Be a tree!”

    The game dissolved into hilarity when I had them be each other. That was more difficult. And the game ended when I had them be Mama: both of them grew instant Macbooks and busily began typing away on phantom keyboards, shushing everyone and saying, “Quiet! I’m writing!”


    Karen Murphy  |  March 29th, 2010 at 6:37 pm

  • Amelie to her play skool teacher, Miss Jen (this morning!): Oh! A mommy! A mommy go wook now.”

    Miss Jen: “Where does Mommy work?”

    “Oh! Unca Dave!” (Her Godfather is my boss).

    Miss Jen: “I…see…” {shoots me a funny look} “What does Mommy do?”

    “A mommy WOOK!” (as in, duh, did you not hear me the first time??)

    Yes. I am A mommy. Not _the_ mommy or just, you know…Mommy. No. I am A mommy.

    But when I get further clarification as to what my “wook” entails in her brain, I’ll be sure to post back. : )

    Phe  |  March 30th, 2010 at 9:05 am

  • Karen: I hear you! When my youngest daughter was a tiny toddler, she thought the phone was called “Mama,” because, during the day when I was at the office and she was home with her dad, he’d hand her the phone so she could “talk to Mama.” She knew I was Mama, too, but didn’t understand why the phone had the same name, I guess? Anyway, it killed me.

    Phe: That’s so cute! I’m really curious about what she thinks you do… I wonder if she’d act it out with toys, or if she just thinks you do something mysterious?

    Lylah  |  March 30th, 2010 at 9:10 am

  • My little guy thinks I type on the computer and color… I guess it’s pretty accurate being that I’m an exec. assistant and work for a stamp/card making company. He’s come to the office with me but when I ask him if he knows what I do for work, he says I work for Mr. Scott (which is my boss). So I guess he gets it. ;) What I do love is that when I tell him I need to go to work when he wants to stay home, he says “You go to work so you can buy things for me and we can live in our house, huh Mom?”

    Stacey  |  March 30th, 2010 at 5:30 pm

  • Update: So, over dinner last night, the conversation went like this:

    [Amelie puts napkin on her head and declares it to be a hat]
    “What does Mommy do for work, Amelie?”

    She gave me The Look. The Look says more than a thousand words. The first time I saw it was when she was about 10.5 months old and I asked her to point to Mommy. She was banging on the table at the time (a very engrossing activity) and just looked at me with an eyebrow raised. She went back to banging on the table. After repeating the question several times, she finally gave me The Look. It said, “Lady, if you don’t know who you are by now, you’re in a world of trouble and I can’t help you.” But she sighed, came over and tapped my knee anyway. Then went back to banging.

    So yeah, I got it again last night. She gave me The Look and then said, “Mommy. Mommy. WOOK. Oh! I have HAT!”

    Further questioning yielded only that I work. I am sorry to say, I believe that it’s a mystery at this time. Will report back in a year. : D

    Phe  |  March 31st, 2010 at 7:30 am

  • My 3 year-old thinks I ride the elevator up and down all day. She loves the glass elevator at my job and somehow misses the fact that we come into my office (I’m i HR). My husband is an accountant and she says he counts so I guess have the better job!

    Julie  |  March 31st, 2010 at 3:32 pm