Defining Roles

As soon as my oldest could speak, I started teaching him the fundamentals in case he was ever lost.

Name? Good.

Address? We had a song for that.

At the time, his father was a police officer where we lived, so that, too, was good information to ensure his safe return if anything happened.

I quizzed him regularly.

“What’s your name?” “What’s your address?” “What does Daddy do when he goes to work?”

Check. Check. Check.

One day while driving, I took the quiz to the next level.

“What does MOMMY do when SHE goes to work?” I asked.


And then the little innocent voice proudly said from the back seat, “Mommy dresses in red and black.”

This established professional was crushed.

I had a VP in my title, for heaven’s sake. I put on suits every day and climbed my way up the corporate ladder. I made my mark in several industries. (And to be honest, I didn’t wear red and black THAT often.)

But my little boy had actually nailed it on the head with a response that was far deeper than my then two-year-old had surely intended.

What DOES Mommy do when she goes to work? How do you define it? And more importantly, does it define me?

Although I still struggle to define my professional identity, both of my kids are now old enough to know what I do at the office. They have both come to “Take Your Child to Work Day” and actually have hands-on experience with doing parts of my job.

They even think some of it is pretty cool.

As much as the boys get it now, as much as they are proud of who I am professionally, they are the proudest of my success in the one role I have held the longest and the only job that really matters to them.


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