“Why is Daddy the one that comes into our room when we need someone in the middle of the night?” C asked this evening as she was getting ready for bed.
The real answer to that question is that I nursed each of my kids for almost a year, and during each of those years I was up with the nursing baby 3-4 (and often more) times a night, while working full time an hour away from home, running on caffeine and power naps. I’m not sure if we ever distinctly talked about it or not, but as soon as each kid stopped nursing, Tim took on the responsibility of checking on the kids in the middle of the night if they needed something. It was his way of giving me a much needed break and some desperately needed sleep. It is still mostly Tim that gets up with them, but there are plenty of times I’m in their room too.
I figured this explanation was a bit too complicated for the kids so I simplified it with, “I used to get up with you guys a whole lot when each of you were little. Now Daddy does it so I can get some sleep.”
“Why do you need sleep? You don’t actually do anything!” C replied.
“You don’t do anything all day. You just sit and edit videos. Daddy actually makes something.”
“Yeah, you just sit at a computer!” Big E chimed in.
I stood there staring at them completely speechless. Did they just say I don’t do anything all day?!?
The idea of work is an abstract topic for children to grasp. I thought about it from their perspective. My kids have visited both where I work and where Tim works. I’m a video editor, so it is true, I sit at a computer every day and Tim is a wood finisher so he is up and about. They’ve seen him use the spray gun and work on panels and doors. I totally understand that from their point of view, daddy’s job is much more active, but dear children, I actually do make something!! Day in and day out I make something!! In fact, I always thought my kids would think my job was pretty cool. *sigh*
Had their statements come from a peer, I think it would have been a pretty huge blow to my confidence, but since I know my kids have zero intention of hurting my feelings I decided we would have a talk about what is and isn’t appropriate to say to people about work.
I started off by explaining how hurtful their statements sounded. As I suspected, they had no idea what they said would be upsetting. (They had been viewing it as I mentioned above, that Daddy moves around a lot more with his job.) Then I went through a list of some of the things that we are blessed with because “mommy just edits videos.” We have a house and clothes and food. Then we talked about how important it is to speak well of people. It doesn’t matter what they do, if they are working they are doing a good thing to help provide for their families. They seemed to understand and quickly apologized.
It wasn’t the life lesson I was expecting on tackling this evening, but thankfully it all worked out in the end!
This morning I had a one month follow up appointment for my finger. They took more x-rays and the doctor decided that the soft splint I had been wearing wasn’t cutting it, so I am back in the hard plastic splint for a few more weeks. Not sure if my timeline got shifted due to this setback, but I imagine it was. The best part of my morning was as I was leaving the doctor’s office I ran into my sister-in-law and her sweet children in the waiting room. Her oldest daughter broke her arm a few weeks before I broke my finger and she had an appointment to get the cast off. We have the same orthopedic surgeon and by happenstance we both had appointments! I took a picture with her so I could show the kids this evening. The kids thought it was awesome that their cousin was my broken bone buddy!