A few months ago I had brought the kids home from school (daughter, 6 and son, 3), got settled, and then they started to play in the playroom. I could see and hear they were playing in their 'hideout'--an elaborate tent with toys and places to spy on adults. As they started to play together, I went the business of getting dinner ready.
I heard my son say to my daughter, "Ok, I'm going off to work now. Love you!" They were pretending to be grown ups. Then my daughter replied, "Ok, I'm staying at home!" It was like a sucker punch to my gut. She was staying home while the 'man' was going his job outside the home.
That comment stopped me in my tracks. I have worked as a physician her whole life! Where had she gotten the idea? Most of her friends and cousins had mothers who also work. So I inquired, "[Daughter], you are staying home? What are you going to do?" Without missing a beat, she said, "Take care of the kids." I commented that she could work and take care of her kids, like many moms do.
In reflecting on the conversation, I want her to make life for herself in whatever way makes her happy--working outside the home or staying at home. Now when I ask her what she wants to be when she grows up--it's consistently "a veternarian".
Needless to say, it was a teachable moment for all of us.