It’s Not All Mary Poppins

What’s my line?

867566_angel_look1“My mommy is at work.”
“And my mommy and my daddy are both at work. My mommy is at work far, far away, onna plane.”
“My daddy is at work, too! My mommy is home today.”

Isn’t it cute to listen to them sort out their worlds? They compare and contrast with their friends. Well, mostly they compare. Any contrast is firmly stomped out: “No! Your mommy is not home! She is at work!” (Subtext: My mommy is at work, everybody’s mommy is at work. That is how the world works! Do not mess with the program!)

“She is at home! She is waiting for the man to fix the bathroom.”

Oh, well then. It’s weird, but it’s acceptable. The weirdness of a mommy working “far, far away, onna plane” is also acceptable. (No, Mommy is not a flight attendant. Mommy is attending a three-day conference for work in … um … Calgary, I think.)

Mommy’s travel has been mentioned quite a bit.

(Yesterday, instead of snuggling happily into bed with her pink teddy and a book, Anna had me back upstairs a few minutes later. Howls and sobs.

“Anna, what’s wrong?”
“Somebody left me behind! Somebody left me all aloooooone!”

Anna, poor little mite, is suffering a few pangs of abandonment this week…)

I decide to expand their perception of reality a bit. (Aka “play with their heads”.)

“What about me? All the mommies and daddies are at work. What’s my job?”


Now that’s a mind-bender! All mommies work, and Mary is a mommy, but Mary is not out there at the mysterious “work”. We don’t know quite where ‘work’ is, but we know it’s out there. Mary, however, is in here.

“Do I have a job?”

“Yeeeesss…” Anna suspects this is the right answer, but what is Mary’s job, exactly? Damned if she knows.

“Do you know what my job is?”

“You clean the kitchen!” Timmy speaks with firm assurance.

“I did today, you’re right, but that’s not the most important part of my job. I do something much more important than that.”

“Wash the toys?” Seems Emily has absorbed some of my explanation about why batches of toys get soaked in disinfectant each week.

“That’s important, too, so you don’t get sick, but that’s only part of my job.”


“My job is to look after you guys! When your mommies and daddies can’t be with you, I take care of you.” Oh! Flash of brilliance! Looking at Abandonment Anna “…so that you are never alone.”

And then we all snuggle together on the couch, Anna on my lap, for yet another comforting read of our current favourite books. Again. In repetition is predictability; in predictability is security. Anna relaxes against me, laughs at the “Silly turkey” and shouts, “Grampa can fix it!” on cue.

They may not get it, but I know: I have a Job.


November 4, 2008 - Posted by | Anna, books, daycare, socializing


  1. You have one of the most important jobs in the world. 😛

    Thanks. Most days, I feel that way, too!

    Comment by Zayna | November 4, 2008 | Reply

  2. Dumpling once told his teacher my job was ironing…

    Kids! One of my young cousins, when he was a toddler, told his visiting gramma (who was attempting to help him with the potty), “No, granny! YOU can’t wipe my bum! Only mommy can wipe my bum! SHE went to university!” My aunt was heard to comment wryly, “I knew that double math-chemistry major would come in handy for something…

    Comment by jenny uk | November 4, 2008 | Reply

  3. oh yes. I remind my own children of my jobs (plural!!!) regularly.

    Because they won’t be suitably grateful if they don’t know about them!

    Comment by Jill in Atlanta | November 4, 2008 | Reply

  4. Lucky kids to be part of Mary’s job!

    Lucky Mary to have such a great bunch of kids!

    Comment by Alison @ hairlinefracture | November 4, 2008 | Reply

  5. This was lovely.

    Thank you.

    Comment by Kat | November 4, 2008 | Reply

  6. I love your job and I often think why bringing home my sweet child can’t be more like your day! any advice for that?

    Oh, there are less rosy things I could talk about, at least sometimes. I do gripe from time to time, but it is my nature to focus on the best parts. The whiny child, the aggravating child, the exasperating child, the infuriating behaviour, the moment of utter discouragement — they happen, too! They’re just not as fun to write about, and, in all honestly, are only a small portion of my job. Thank heavens.

    Comment by Anita Kaiser | November 4, 2008 | Reply

  7. Kids say the darndest things!!! Isn’t it hard to keep a straight face at the stuff they say? I know I struggle to stifle laughs when my tot innocently says something when I’m MAD.

    Yes, it is. And it works the other way, too. I recall cheerfully teasing a young cousin, then about three, from a pouty funk into a giggle. He laughed, then he drew back in great indignation. “Don’t make me LAUGH! I was BEING MAD!!”

    So there.

    Comment by KittyCat | November 5, 2008 | Reply

  8. Aw! That’s cute!

    Comment by Yaya | November 5, 2008 | Reply

  9. And it’s the best darn job in the world!
    I love snuggling and reading books, it makes it all worth it knowing that they depend on you.

    Comment by Kelsey | November 6, 2008 | Reply

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