When I’m not home before their bedtime or away for days on end, my kids would ask me, “do you have a project again, Mommy?” I laugh and tell them yes. It’s how they make sense of my work and schedule. ‘Project’ actually came from me when I first explained to them about what I do.
I also show them pictures of my work. In one where I’m seen facilitating a focused group discussion with young people they exclaimed at it in recognition. “Are you a teacher, Mommy?” Teacher is someone they could relate to. So I said, yes kind of. Then they’d say, “wow! what do you teach?”
Children are a delight to speak to anytime, but especially after a hard day’s work. They have sharp insight to things. When you show them, say, a photo 20 times, still they react to each as if it’s their first time to see it.
On occasions, my youngest especially gifts me with small projects she made herself or teeny toys she got from stores (“which one do you like, Mommy? The other’s for me.” The fact she’s giving me an option tugs at my heart– when did they learn that?). I put them all inside my planner to serve as my lucky charms especially when I’m away on a project.