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Mar 16 2009

Watch your ASSumptions

Wow. After the Costco sirup incident, I didn’t think there’d be another. Apparently I wear my “hey Costco checkout folks! Make questionable statements about me and my decisions! I need blog fodder!” t-shirt when I go over there. It’s bad enough that I went hungry and sick and with a four year old, but add in the comments and dang

You know that ole’ phrase? If you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.

Please don’t make assumptions about me. I’m really not what I seem.

The bagger gal, after I freaked her out by handing her bags instead of settling for boxes (and it would have been one box and crap just stuck around it in the cart anyway) asked J why he wasn’t in school today. He ignored her, like he pretty much does everyone he doesn’t know, and I answered.  Actually, I croaked out an answer. My strep, while under attack by the antibiotics and ibuprofin (heals broken hearts!), is mounting a counter-attack. Something is settling into my chest and stealing my voice. I sound like Harvey Fierstein. Anyhoo, I croaked out that he only has preschool Tuesday and Thursday, but wahoo!, will have full day kindergarten next fall. Continuing with the pleasant small talk, I was asked what I planned to do then. And I very honestly answered that for the first week I was going to sit in the middle of the floor and appreciate the silence. No, I’m not kidding. That may be the whole first month. More small talk: “yeah, you always have to decide if it’s gonna be another kid or back to work.” Me: “Oh, he has an older brother and we’re DONE (I believe I did use caps on that word when it came out of my mouth).” And then she lowers the boom: “So it’s back to work then.”

Part stunned, part simply voiceless, I just kept my mouth shut.

She simply assumed that because I wasn’t having more kids I was heading back into the workforce. Um, no. While I know my brain would love the mental stimulation of work outside the home, it isn’t right for my family at this point. And have you seen the unemployment numbers? I really don’t think I could find a job in this economy; I’m not qualified for anything other than teaching and since I’d rather eat glass with a side of lemon juice and salt, that’s out of the question. And what’s this about me heading “back to work?” WTF do you think I’ve been doing the last eight years, lady? It hasn’t been playdates and make-believe and blanket forts every day, that’s for sure. This here blog is testament to that.

Why are women expected to return to the workforce the minute their children begin school? Why isn’t staying home and supporting the family a justifiable reason for not returning? Has our value been reduced to simply what our paycheck says? I make nothing as a stay at home mom; does that mean I’m worth less than a mom who works “out there?” Does that mean I’m worthless?

It irritates and frustrates me to no end that women are looked down upon for staying home for their families, and are tsk-tsked if they go out and work outside the home. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Why is this acceptable?

So, no, Costco lady, I’m not going back to work when the boys are in school this fall. I’m not having more kids and I’m not going back to work. Perhaps in the future, but not now. I’m going to stay home and support my family and figure out what I want to do when I grow up. And then, if it’s right for everyone involved in my life, then I’ll step out into the big bad workforce and engage my brain and my heart by doing something outside these four walls.

I’ll be sure to run it past you first, Costco lady. Just in case you have more unsolicited advice for me.

Comments

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10 comments

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  1. Imee

    Yeah, I remember that phrase! I hate when people assume. It’s true, there’s such ridicule towards women, and I couldn’t have said it better when you said “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” I mean, honestly, what’s a girl to do? Especially in a financial crisis like right now, you’re kinda torn between being a stay-at-home mom who’s supposed to take care of the kids, or being a full-time employee just so you & your family won’t go a day starving.

  2. melissaz

    I hated that, too. And now that I’ve gone back, I’m getting the other side. Totally bites.

  3. Chelle

    so…does the job of parenting stop once a child is in school? I think not. I actually believe that it is equally important to be present and available (more than one might be able to be with the addition of an outside job) for kids once they enter school. And, don’t even get me started on how important it becomes once they hit the Middle School years.

    Me thinks the Costco lady eeez jealous.

  4. cursingmama

    how apropos, for St. Patrick’s day, the Costco lady might’ve been Green with envy.

  5. Shea's Mom

    She probably just couldn’t fathom that you didn’t NEED to work in this day and age. Still pretty presumptuous though.

    Sick and scary that the norm is both parents working their butts off and who is raising the kids? The corner store and video games – that’s who!

    Good for you for being home. Glad you can. And, when you grow up and figure out what you want to do with your life, you let me know. Maybe I can come work with you!

  6. ChiTown Girl

    Maybe (like Shea’s mom said) she just assumed you might need the second income. Yeah, I’m one of those annoying people who always give others the benefit of the doubt. She probably didn’t mean anything by it.

  7. jennie

    right on Jen! I am under the impression that older children especially teenagers need an adult that is around and somewhat engaged in their lives. I can attest to what happens when one is left up to their own devices;)

  8. Mama Zen

    My favorite is when I get the “what a waste of all that education” attitude. So, I just sit around and drool, now?

  9. kim/hormone-colored days

    I highly recommend a transition year (or five) if it’s what works best for the family.

  10. mrsvierkant

    Egads… And you didn’t strangle the woman. You have my admiration, especially since you are still recovering from your illness from hell.

    Oh, and that woman really has a life working at Costco… Oh, wait now I’m making assumptions. 😉

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