My children ask me a question that carries an impossible weight.
At some point, in the hour between rolling out of bed and walking out of the door, one of them will level me with a gaze and ask "why do you have to go to work?"
Some days I have the energy to tell them about the people I work with, about the positive change we’re trying to make. Some days I don’t.
But every day I feel the weight of the answers I give.
I want the children to understand that the life we have is funded by the work I do. That my contribution to the family may not be the fun of daily adventures, but that I contribute, and that it matters.
I go to work to earn money for us to live.”
I feel the weight of explaining the value of money, not in terms of what it can buy, but in terms of how hard it is to come by. That society looks at 40 hours of my time and compares it to the same 40 hours of other people and makes a judgement on what we are worth that makes no sense. That I make a choice to use my skills to make a positive difference because that’s the only way I can make it make sense.
I go to work to help make our country better.”
I feel the weight of telling my children about the privilege that we enjoy as a family. This life we lead is not something that they can truly appreciate, but somehow I need to find a way of helping them grasp gratitude without feeling the sting of guilt.
I go to the work so that we can have adventures.”
I feel the weight of expressing this as a choice I make. That my work is complex and challenging and stressful, but that I enjoy it. I am empowered by it. I want them to see work not just as an obligation, but as an act of communion with my peers and an act of devotion to their futures.
I go to work because I enjoy it.”
I feel the weight of all that is implied by the fact that I choose to go to work rather than stay at home with them. That somehow I prefer the company of my colleagues to them. The stark contrast with their father who, in their eyes, chooses to stay with them.
I go to work because it means daddy doesn’t have to”
They ask me "where are you going?"
Some days I can only answer "I'm going to work"