Every Mum, Dad or Carer asks this question of their primary school child when they start school and in most cases will carry on asking until they leave full time education and yes, I mean University too! Sometimes we're advised not to ask, for fear of making our children anxious about what they should be doing or what answer we expect, but, in fairness, it's very hard not to worry when your little one says they've done "Nothing" for 6 hours.
Sometimes it's a sinister question, those of you who have been listening to "The Archers", will know what I mean.
Mostly, however, it's totally innocent, a conversation opener or a genuine interest taken. That is unless you're a "Full Time Mum" or nearly "Full Time Mum" of teenagers. Then it feels like a loaded question! All is fine if you can answer that you've been working all day, it seems that anything involving food shopping, ironing your teenager's clothes or trying to clean and tidy their room are also acceptable chores to undertake while they are busy learning. But, woe betide you if you have dared to go to the gym, had lunch with a friend or indeed have anything more than a half hour slot unaccounted for.
To be fair, mine have never actually voiced anything negative but there is a look they give, a sort of, "Nice work if you can get it", or,"It's OK for some", type of look.
I know this comes from years of paranoia on my part, having given up a career (hanging fast and loose with that term), in the city, to stay home and bring up our" babies". I learnt early on that no one, other than fellow stay home mothers, had any respect for the "job", the least impressed being men at dinner parties or, worse still, working mums!!
"Lucky You", I hear you say, and yes, I have been incredibly lucky. Not everyone can do this I know and some choose not to even if they can ( I'll rant about them another day!), but if you can stay at home with them I'd urge anyone to do so. They grow up so fast and you can't get those years back. Since mine have been at school I've worked with my husband, helping to build his business and used spare time to volunteer in various roles. So, lucky yes but lazy,no....... Honestly I'm not.
But try convincing a hungry teen, just in from a day at school or college if you dare to mention that you grabbed a coffee with a friend this afternoon! What did you do today?!! EJ