I was recently introduced and the conversation went like this:
“This is Julie, she’s a teacher and this is Emily, she, uh, she…” And then this woman who has known me for years, turns to me with this sheepish look and is like, “…….!”
When did “Stay At Home Mom” become the Voldemort of job titles? You would think, by the level of this woman’s concern for saying the wrong thing and embarrassing me, that I was in some sort of sex trade and she wasn’t sure whether to call me an escort or a dancer.
This got me wondering why some people are so squeamish about saying, “She’s a stay-at-home mom” and why some Stay-At-Home-Moms are so defensive that people get paralyzed with fear of offending them. It’s just a fact. I have no profession. I don’t work in any traditional sense. I have no career. I am unemployed. No need to dance around it.
I think the awkward thing about it has to be the money thing, right? Like, people assume if a mom is working it’s because she can’t afford to stay home, which is rude and probably wrong. And people assume if a woman is staying home it’s because she’s going to Pilates in her LuLu Lemon with her husband’s credit card, which is also rude and probably wrong.
The stay-at-home-moms I know are not fancy or spoiled. In fact, the dynamic of my marriage changed a lot when I stopped bringing home a salary. I have to follow my husband’s lead and sometimes it’s super annoying because home décor and sushi are not line items in his budget considerations. (Guys are all, “bills, food, student loans, BLAH BLAH BLAH” AM I RIGHT LADIES? This gal in front knows what I’m talkin’ about!)
I don’t know any woman who’s husband is coming home from work pulling out a bunch of cash and making it rain on her while he yells, “Your nails look horrible, go to the salon! Have some champagne while I feed and bathe the kids! MONEY IS FREE AND WE’RE GOING TO LIVE FOREVERRRR!”
Here’s the truth of it, for me. I don’t look back longingly at the career I “sacrificed” to stay home with my children. I do look longingly at adults who get to drink a hot cup of coffee alone in their office and run errands over their lunch hour without dealing with carseats.
No one needs to fall over themselves to tell me how staying at home is “the hardest job in the world!” and they could “NEVER do that!” It sounds patronizing and I don’t think it’s true. For example, right now I’m eating a turkey sandwich and typing on my laptop (fun). A 2-year-old just interrupted me, coughed directly in my face and told me she pooped (gross). Also, spoiler alert, this was not news to me. Later I’m going to meet up with some cool moms for a playdate (fun). Then at some point I’ll probably have to referee a pointless munchkin argument and feel like, WHY can I not keep this baby from biting her sister and who CARES who gets the orange popsicle because this is STUPID and I don’t get PAID ENOUGH TO PUT UP WITH THIS SH*T. Like any job. Ups and downs.
I’ve been a working mom before with a baby in daycare and it actually was harder (for me). And no one felt the need to pat me on the head and go, good for you, cutie pie! Your job is super duper hard!
So I guess what I’m saying to that well-meaning, terribly awkward woman is, you don’t know my life. I’m a grown ass woman and I’m bout to go change the SH*T out of that diaper. (See what I did there?)
I’ll leave you with a quote from my favorite working mom character, Mindy Lahiri on The Mindy Project: