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Explaining Flexible Working to My Kids

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“I hope you don’t mind me asking,” says my son’s teacher, justifying her nosiness and cornering me in the playground “, but where do you actually work?”

She follows this by explaining that she’s confused by the irregularity of the days I do drop-off and pick-up.

“Mummy, why don’t you go to work in an office?” my four-year-old pipes up, having been unusually quiet on the walk home.“, Freddy’s Dad works in an office ’til past Freddy’s bedtime. Because he works VERY HARD.”

“I do work in an office, darling…” I

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point to the room adjacent to the hall. “, I just don’t waste time sitting in traffic jams and I’m here to make you waffles after school.”

“That’s not a real job though,” snorts four-year-old (unimpressed, and resenting the lack of corporate branded merchandise available for Show-and-Tell.)

I rack my brain to put flexible working into context. “OK, so working hard isn’t about the time it takes to do something, it’s about doing something brilliant. You get paid for delivering wonderful work, whether you’re stuck in a building

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with Freddy’s Dad all night – or here, looking for the maple syrup.”

“Is it just what Mummies do?” he asks.

“No, sweetheart; all the coolest people work flexibly. Like (erm) the Easter Bunny! The Easter Bunny only works one day a year when he hops ‘round the world hiding eggs. But it’s such an important role that the universe pays him his bunny-money, despite the fact that he does whatever he likes for the other 364 days. Or the PJ Masks; they work at night. And not every night. Just when the world needs their skills.

Or – if you

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want to look at it another way – take Miss Rabbit on Peppa Pig. She does a few minutes work each on about twenty different jobs because she loves doing lots of different things and doesn’t want to be bored.” (I wonder to myself if Miss Rabbit struggles with her presumably complex tax-return).

“Oh… “ says my son, thoughtfully. “, Can I go to flexible school tomorrow then..?”

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Firgas Esack

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- 7 Feb 19

“I hope you don’t mind me asking,” says my son’s teacher, justifying her nosiness and cornering me in the playground “, but where do you actually work?”

She follows this by explaining that she’s confused by the irregularity of the days I do drop-off and pick-up.

“Mummy, why don’t you go to work in an office?” my four-year-old pipes up, having been unusually quiet on the walk home.“, Freddy’s Dad works in an office ’til past Freddy’s bedtime. Because he works VERY HARD.”

“I do work in an office, darling…” I point to the room adjacent to the hall. “, I just don’t waste time sitting in traffic jams and I’m here to make you waffles after school.”

“That’s not a real job though,” snorts four-year-old (unimpressed, and resenting the lack of corporate branded merchandise available for Show-and-Tell.)

I rack my brain to put flexible working into context. “OK, so working hard isn’t about the time it takes to do something, it’s about doing something brilliant. You get paid for delivering wonderful work, whether you’re stuck in a building with Freddy’s Dad all night – or here, looking for the maple syrup.”

“Is it just what Mummies do?” he asks.

“No, sweetheart; all the coolest people work flexibly. Like (erm) the Easter Bunny! The Easter Bunny only works one day a year when he hops ‘round the world hiding eggs. But it’s such an important role that the universe pays him his bunny-money, despite the fact that he does whatever he likes for the other 364 days. Or the PJ Masks; they work at night. And not every night. Just when the world needs their skills.

Or – if you want to look at it another way – take Miss Rabbit on Peppa Pig. She does a few minutes work each on about twenty different jobs because she loves doing lots of different things and doesn’t want to be bored.” (I wonder to myself if Miss Rabbit struggles with her presumably complex tax-return).

“Oh… “ says my son, thoughtfully. “, Can I go to flexible school tomorrow then..?”

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Firgas Esack

I am a publicist working as part The Hoxby Collective. I have three sons, three dogs and I prefer my Martinis stirred, not shaken.

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