Some of the most vivid childhood memories I have of my mom are of her talking about work, beaming and confident in her teal silk blouse and neck bow. For 15 years or so my mother was a technical writer, riding the tech boom of the late ‘80s and ‘90s. I would often feel a rush of pride as my mom talked about landing contracts over a dinner of chicken in wine and cream sauce (still one of my favorite meals).
But there were other times I would feel angry or ashamed as she would recount, dismissively, work relationships that ended in flames. I noted early on that she rarely had repeat clients and that some of her career choices were short-lived. The mixed messages left me with the takeaway that, despite the occasional wins, work was difficult and that career failures were unavoidable.
These memories and the conflicting feelings they evoke could have left me reluctant to talk about my career as a freelance writer with my own kids. But I actually feel the opposite. If I avoided mention of my career and work, I think I’d compromise my relationship with my children, their own development, and my duties as a mother. Sound harsh? Let me explain.