No, I’m not talking about that particular glare parents use when their children step out of line in public. Mind you I do have that one down pat. Instead, I’m referring to the one I give when I’m asked The Question.
It’s a question that all stay at home parents have to field on a regular basis and it becomes no less irritating over time.
The Question is “Do you work?”
I know it is just a way to make conversation, but it annoys me just the same. Part of me wants to get all sassy and say “No! I just sit around the house all day eating bon-bons."
I usually get The Question when I’m out and about with my brood and I have sat down while they swirl about, be it the mall, a doctor’s office or the park.
A nearby stranger comments about my children and asks either are they all mine or how many do I have. We chat for a bit and then they ask. And that is when they get the look.
Yesterday I was asked the question during Nate’s soccer practice. I was chatting with a grandmother of one of Nate’s teammates. She is a pleasant women and I was enjoying our conversation. When she asked about my employment status I didn’t say a word. I arched my brow, spread my hands towards my children and gave a little smile. She paused at the end of the question and then continued. “Well you do work, but do you...”and then trailed off.
At that point I was happy that she had acknowledged that I do indeed work.
I replied at that point by saying, “No, not outside the home. They are my work. Anyway, I don’t even want to think about the childcare costs.”
Then we were back to watching our respective charges and talking about what was happening on the field.
I guess what I find so irritating is that most people do not recognize that what I do is work. Infinitely aggravating, but infinitely rewarding work. Before children I was once gainfully employed and I do plan to return in a few years, but for now my children are my work.