The other day at the supermarket,with my three year old perched on the shopping trolley,I was trying to rush through my weekly shopping list.Now, as moms all around the world would know,this is no easy task and the moment you are done,another whole list of things need buying.
So, there I was,at 6 in the evening in my semi- zombie state. I was zigzagging through the aisles,ignoring the constantly complaining child and trying to avoid trampling people under my trolley.I hear my name being called and turn around just to make sure.In the crowd of shoppers I spot a familiar looking face,I take a few seconds to recognize her as a lady I know through my son’s school. Her child goes to the same class as my son and we have met in open houses and PTA meetings.We even arranged a few play dates for our kids, that is,until I found her parenting techniques a bit questionable ( I can get on my high horse like that sometimes).
This lady works at an insurance firm and whatsapp’s me from time to time about school stuff.As she walked towards me I sigh and mentally prepare for all the questions about the,soon to be submitted,school project. Dressed in smart formalwear, not a hair out of place and not a kid in tow, she was all smiles.We got talking and after a few minutes of meaningless conversation,she asked me ” So you are still not working,right?”I assure you, this topic has been covered between her and me, more times than I care.Mostly , to this question, I would smile and answer “No”. But this particular day, with one eye and ear on the constant whining child, I felt irritated, very very irritated.
I asked her “Do you see me in a dress with my hair all glossy and a drink in my hand?”. I continued “Do u also hear the music and can u see the beautiful food( not cooked by me) on the table?”.Trust me, she was spooked by this time. “Tell me, do u like the lighting?” I asked. I kept staring at her waiting for her response, she stammered,looking around “No!!”.I say, very calmly “So, you see,I AM WORKING!!”, and I turn my trolley around and walk away leaving her open mouthed in the middle of aisle number 5 “household cleaning and detergents”..
But later in the evening it got me thinking,why are we stay-at-home mothers so looked down upon by the “working ” mothers?Ask me “am I working in a professional capacity?” But don’t question me about “working”, when all I do is work.
Yes,I am a stay at home mom. Yes, I quit my job during my first pregnancy. Yes,I always meant to start “working”, but couldn’t find it in my heart to leave my infant son.After a few years my daughter came along,and I just continued to be “non-working “.
Some might wonder what is the big deal about a simple question that has been posed to so many women, so many times.True,no big deal. The thing is this question should not be asked, especially with words dripping sarcasm,to people who do nothing but work( quite often a thankless job).
Do we get paid? Not exactly!!
Duty hours??Anyone who has cleaned poop and vomit at 3:30 in the morning would know.
Leaves?Hell,no!! But we would like some.
Deadlines?Try turning a shoe box into a house,with only some coloured paper at hand.You see,kids just remember to tell u this stuff at 10:30 in the night.It needs to be ready by 6:00 in the morning.
Dress in the morning and have adult conversation all day is my idea of mini heaven.
This is just a small insight into my “non-working ” life. The list is endless.
By now some of you might be wondering is this my frustration and anger about being stuck at home all day. No, this is my frustration at being judged for my choices.My choices don’t make me any less smarter.
I look at you and respect you.How you juggle it all, work, home ,kids. I admire your strength,your resolve. I don’t question your choice of leaving your only child in the care of a stranger or not making it to any sports day,ever.This is your choice and it works for you.
Staying at home all day and turning into a crazy woman by 9:00 pm (everyday) is my choice and I stand by it.This is not about one choice being better than the other. It’s only about doing to the best of our abilities, what is best for our families.
So my friend if you cannot come to terms with my “not-working”, keep it to yourself.Next time you question me about it at, let me warn you, I will again leave you open mouthed in aisle number 5 and March right back to my “non-working” life..