Sunday, November 22, 2009

Don't Even Ask.

You are chatting with another mom. She is in a suit. You are in jeans. You sense the question is coming before she even says it. You've heard it before. The only difference is the phrasing:
  • So, what do you DO?
  • Do you work? I mean, outside the home?
  • Wow, you’re a full-time mom?
  • Do you have a job?
  • Your kids are all in school now though, right?
Lydia and I long ago gave up trying to answer that question. On my most snarky days, I say, “No, I don’t have a job. I actually do nothing. I’m sooooo bored.” Lydia plays along and usually comes up with some crap about her extensive volunteer work, serving on a "Board" or something. [Editorial comment: I try to look smug and casual as I'm saying it. But, usually a little hysteria peeks through. Rather than seem breezy and impressive I come off as demented and self-important. It's pretty awesome. - Lydia]

Its hard not to feel the judgment oozing from the asker. These are the same people who asked you such beauties as:

  • Did you plan your pregnancy?
  • Are you going to breastfeed for the full two years?
  • How much weight did you gain when you got pregnant?
  • Wasn't your due date last month?
  • Does your child go really go to that daycare?
  • You let your kids watch TV?
These are questions with an agenda. I'm not talking about played-out "Mommy Wars" philosophical stuff. Or about good-natured curiosity or getting to know someone. I am talking about people who don't mind their manners or their business.

A woman I only sort of know wins the prize for this kind of question. [Editorial comment: I know her. That woman is a damn heifer. - Lydia]. I guess she didn't like my outfit. I was dressed for my (part-time) job and dropping off the kids at school when she saw me and said, “Oh My God. What do you do for a living?”

Granted, most moms don’t show up in black leather jeans and channeling Johnny Cash. But seriously?! Pardon my delicate sensibilities, but on the day you show up wearing Land’s End matching sweats with your toothbrush STILL IN YOUR MOUTH is the day you forfeit playing critic with Clinton and Stacy. [Editorial comment: I like Land's End sweats. - Lydia.] Can we at least agree on a minimum threshold of attire before casting stones at another's wardrobe? I know I can go WAY over the top, but please, on behalf of every other mother who HAS to see you at drop off, put. on. a. bra.

My response to her charming question: “I’m a hooker." We’ve never spoken again. It’s been nice. And those jeans still fit. Bonus. [Editorial comment: Kate is not a hooker, but she is ridiculously gorgeous.- Lydia].

The above heifer/hooker exchange was irritating on many levels:

  • Level 1: Unprovoked rudeness.
  • Level 2: I am no more defined by the fact that I can rock some leather jeans than I am by the fact that I am currently professionally under-employed.
  • Level 3: If I were just a single gal, that heifer might have thought that question but she certainly wouldn't have said it out loud. Why?
  • Level 4: If I promise not to hate on you because you're a cow, can you please show me the same courtesy? [Editorial comment: On behalf of all the heifers out there, yes. - Lydia]
There is no right answer to these stupid questions. So stop asking. I love the time I have with my kids right now. But it's a recession, people, and my line of work is cut-throat. If the right full-time gig came along, I would take it. In a heartbeat. Lydia, conversely, is practically being stalked by her former employer in the hopes that she will come back to work. To this, she says "hell nah" (trying, and failing to imitate Whitney Houston) and goes back to folding laundry. Though she rants constantly - she chooses to be right where she is. [Editorial comment: Yes, in a filthy house with three ungrateful children and a geriatric cat. Jealous much? - Lydia]

At some point we've all gotten the urge to ask another mommy something, knowing the answer will result in you feeling just a little bit better about yourself. Is it really worth it? Aren't the indignities we suffer as butt-wipers and dish-washers enough? Do we really need to make it harder on each other? [Editorial comment: I once had a female DOCTOR I worked with make fun of me because I was still breastfeeding my nine-month-old. To the point where I almost cried. In a meeting. Stupid doctor. That wasn't cream in your coffee, hotshot. - Lydia] So when you get the itch and you want to ask if they "still work" or if that juice box is organic, just like yours, think about me and Lydia. Keep all the acerbic, witty things you want to say in your head. Then send the snark to us.


Popular Posts