Monday, September 3, 2007

Maybe It's Because I Don't Have Eyes in the Back of My Head

I was at a neighborhood picnic this weekend where most of us there had kids. There is a new, young couple in the neighborhood that most of us had met before, but had not hung out with. They came and we got to know them a little.

Later in the evening and several drinks in, the woman of the couple started asking the moms there about being parents. She is a career-driven scientist and wants to have kids but is worried about being able to stay on her career path (that requires looooong days at work) and not feel guilty all the time about leaving her kids.

When I told her that I was a stay at home mom, she busted out with this: "You don't seem like a stay at home mom. At all."

I totally didn't know what to say to that. Thank you? Fuck you?

And what do stay at home moms seem like anyway?

I'm afraid I just gawked at her for awhile. Fortunately she was too tipsy to notice.

8 comments:

  1. Hmmm. I've been a stay at home Mom and a work outside the home Mom - and I'm pretty sure I 'seemed' the same both ways.
    The way you said it made me laugh tho.

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  2. I hate people like this. H-A-T-E.

    Hate. Did I mention the hate?

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  3. It's true what bettejo said: whether I've worked or stayed at home I've been the same person all along. I'm sure she meant that you seemed too smart and worldly or witty for the cultural stereotype of a stay at home mom talking in baby talk and...I don't know what else, I'm sure there are stereotypes that I am not familiar with since all the mothers I see as a therapist are full-fledged earnest, hard-working humans regardless of where their work takes place. I, in fact, regret that I did not stay home MORE and work LESS when my children were little. I will always regret that. There may be a touch of envy and guilt by working moms in that sense.

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  4. I think a great deal of the friction and unfair stereotyping between women who care for their children full time and women who work outside the home full time is due to unrealistic expectations. Society says we women are supposed to do it ALL. We are supposed to have a perfectly clean house, full of perfect little children who sit quietly while we accept our Nobel Prize. That’s the expectation. But it sure ain’t real life. So I think it causes real women to feel inadequate on both sides of the fence. It ought to be okay to NOT have kids, and excel in a difficult career and be really happy. It ought to be okay to have kids, stay at home making their lives great and be really happy. But the fact that reality does not fit the expectations forces a lot of women to bite off way too much and creates a lot of unhappiness. Just my take…

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  5. I think a great deal of the friction and unfair stereotyping between women who care for their children full time and women who work outside the home full time is due to unrealistic expectations. Society says we women are supposed to do it ALL. We are supposed to have a perfectly clean house, full of perfect little children who sit quietly while we accept our Nobel Prize. That’s the expectation. But it sure ain’t real life. So I think it causes real women to feel inadequate on both sides of the fence. It ought to be okay to NOT have kids, and excel in a difficult career and be really happy. It ought to be okay to have kids, stay at home making their lives great and be really happy. But the fact that reality does not fit the expectations forces a lot of women to bite off way too much and creates a lot of unhappiness. Just my take…

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  6. She doesn't have kids... what does she know! We were all stupid back then.

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Thanks for commenting! May you be visited by unicorns and kittens.