I never know what to say

Moving to a new town means a new home, new surroundings, new experiences, new schedules and meeting new people (or reconnecting with childhood friends like I am since we moved back to my hometown).  I’m not a shy person (by far!) so I have no problem striking up a conversation with someone.  Eventually though, the dreaded question is asked… “So, what do you do for a living?”. 

 

As a former career-girl, I’m still quite tongue-tied by this question.  I proudly use to say that I had to find a man who was willing and able to be the stay at home dad because I was going back to work as soon as I could after giving birth.  My career was my focus, and I was proud of it.  Having children changed everything!  When I HAD to go back to work when my twins were 3 months old because I didn’t have benefits (in Canada, we can take up to a year) so my (now ex-) husband stayed home for 7 months as his work had top-up.  Since then, I have regretted having to go back to work and I’m glad I get the opportunity to be with them now.

 

A year and a half ago, I unexpectedly became a SAHM, partly because I couldn’t find childcare and partly (mostly) because of my marriage breaking up.  Last fall, I had secured a full time contract back in my former career, at a level where it was as if I hadn’t been away from that career track for 4 years.  Unfortunately, 6 weeks into the position, my childcare fell through.  Finding care for my daughter is easy because she’s “neurotypical” but finding care for my son is a bit more complicated because he has Autism

 

When I say that my job is looking after my kids, I’m still not at the point of saying it with pride, even though I am very proud of it!  Friends have looked after my kids for the odd commitment I’ve had where their father couldn’t take them, and they usually tell me that they don’t know how I do it, they didn’t realize how much my son needed to be watched like a hawk, and that I make it look so easy. ~Blush~

 

So, when I’m asked what I do for a living, I tend to use the past tense: “I used to be a fundraiser, and an organizer, now I’m a SAHM.”  Logically, I know that if anyone else has a “problem” with it or looks down on me for “wasting” my university education and 2 college diplomas on being a SAHM, that’s their problem.  The question is, how do I change my own thinking so I can stop being “apologetic” to myself about being a SAHM? 

 

Perhaps I should switch out the words “Stay-At-Home-Mom” with the 2nd definition of the acronym “SAHM” on this online dictionary … “Sexy And Hot Momma”…tee hee… 😉 

 

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10 thoughts on “I never know what to say

  1. Awesome post…

    You know… I am a working mom – but might I suggest you check out a little Vygotsky. If autism is considered a social disability – then it seems to me that being there for your son is one of the most important jobs you can be doing – in that you are focusing on building the relationship. I think relationship is key! In essence, Vygotsky suggests that as children we learn about our society and culture, and are socialized through our relationships with the competent adults in our lives.

    I work as a special education teacher – and it is my amazing husband who stays at home with our son (age 12) who also has autism and is enrolled in a distance education school. I know that he sometimes questions the importance of what he is doing. Honestly though, I think he is giving our child the world, and we have both seen an enormous positive change in our child since we’ve changed our lives so that this is possible.

    …on the other hand “Sexy and Hot Mama” is a pretty great handle…

  2. You still are a fundraiser & organizer. Along with a host of other things. I understand, as I too was a career gal until a few years ago. I think calling ourselves personal assistants is accurate. We just do not have to tell them for whom LOL…& we are not lying.

  3. This is such an American phenomenon. My non-American friends are always blown away that in casual conversation, the first question that comes up in this country is “what do you do?” as if how I earn my income determines my value as a human being. About 20 years ago, I invented an appellation for such inquiries. It’s of no use to anyone but me, but when I get asked nowadays, I answer that I do whatever I need to to pay my bills and get by. If a follow-up question ensues, then they get way more information — and discussion/debate fodder — than they were prepared for. The question just makes my blood simmer. Paid employment does not equal human value.

  4. I struggle with this, I read a lot of posts about this…it’s really a shame. I spend a lot of time wondering if my ’embarrassment’ comes from inside me or is a reaction to the way others are actually perceiving me. I am definitely disappointed that I wasn’t able to maintain both a family and a career. But I’m not at all sure it was my fault. So why am I embarrassed about it? I find it very complicated. So…I don’t have any answers or advice…just a sympathetic nod. Reading ‘perfect madness’ helped me a lot. But it didn’t solve the problem.

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