I was looking around the Kindle bookstore last night looking for some books on a specific topic and got drawn to a book about writing. I clicked “Look Inside The Book” and what I read was surprising. I never got to the “meat” of the book because the introduction was very long. I might go back and buy the book, but the point was actually what the writer said in her introduction that got to me. Her father was a work at home dad, a writer. As a child, she didn’t understand why he didn’t go to a “regular” job. She wondered what was wrong with him. He was a successful writer, and when she was a teen she found out his bestselling book was erotica. She tells her story of being mortified as a child, embarrassed as a teen and then how she is a writer in her own right.
It wasn’t that they were broke, he was successful. It was that their family was “different” which of course makes kids terrified around their peers. No one wants to be different. The biggest realization to me was that my kids and I looked at my working from home differently. On the one hand I was there when they needed me, on the other hand they had no “privacy” and since most moms in the suburbs work, I was different. We were a pretty different family anyway, but that is another story for another day :)
I have discovered through some of my son’s writing that he thought my being at home was being “overprotective”. I had times when I worked at temp jobs or semi-permanent jobs, but always ended up back at home. With three kids in the ‘burbs all with different interests and needs, saying I was a taxi service was an understatement. Working from home wasn’t a choice, it was a requirement.
I know most people accept work at home moms more than work at home dads, but either way, check with your kids. See if they understand what you do. Very few people “get” what I do, even some days I’m not sure what I’m doing :)… but in a world where kids will find anything at all to pick on each other for, be sure your kids know that you have a “real” job, that they are financially ok and that you aren’t mentally deranged or unfit to work.
Have the really young kids sit on your lap for awhile, read to them what you are reading even if they have no clue what you are talking about. Don’t keep your occupation a mystery. Don’t be the parent that disappears into a dungeon every day until dinner. Include your kids where ever you can, so they understand that your job is as important as a job you would go away to everyday, and that this is your choice to be able to spend time with them.