So When Are You Going Back to Work and Other Rude Things Said to Me

I’m so freakin’ happy!!! Wait happy? Yes, happy and most definitely relieved. I posted some time last week that I’ve been without access to work as a medical transcriptionist for quite a bit of time. Well, it’s goin’ on week 2 now and mama here needed a new gig. I also wasn’t in love with being an independent contractor. I was getting a lower rate of pay and I’ll have to pay my own taxes for the little bit of time that I had that status. No thank you… I was just re-hired by the company I left in early April. I did IC work for a company that subcontracted with the company I just left which I didn’t realize until I had started with them. It completely pissed me off because I could’ve just stayed were I was, had my taxes handled and had use of a company computer. Lesson learned. I start with them again in 2 weeks, so I’ll be treating these next 2 weeks like a vacation.

I work part time because with a house to take care of and a special needs child that needs well special tending to, I have no time, or desire, to work full time. I know, how un-modern woman of me… to not want to have a career and have it all. Well, that depends on how you look at things. To me I do have it all. I have an amazing husband who works very hard so I don’t have to. Yeah, I said it. I work hard taking care of our home and children, I don’t want to have to work hard at work. I work smart, not hard. There’s a big difference. And don’t get me wrong, I really do enjoy working. I document medical reports from home – nerd girl work. I love science and most branches of medicine but I can’t stand the sight of blood or anything purulent, macerated and God knows what would happen if I saw a degloving injury up close and personal. I googled images of that once and the first image I glanced at almost made me yak. So working behind the scenes, away from the gore, is the safest option for me as far as working in healthcare. I also have 3 very cool kids, a nice home and a car of my very own. What more could I really want?

All of this, being without work and frantically looking for a new job all while wondering if I should just full time stay at home mom it again, has made me not-to-fondly remember a time when my husband’s nosy ass aunt asked me if I had any plans to ever work again. I was 22 at the time and my eldest (and only then) wasn’t even 18 months old and here this woman is asking me this question. Like, why’s it any of her business anyway?

That lone question from that woman triggered what felt like an interrogation and then judgement.

We had visited some of my husband’s family up in Connecticut and I had gone with his aunt to visit one of her friends. She wanted me to go along with her because at the time my daughter was going through severe separation anxiety. If felt like she needed to be attached to me in some fashion 24 hours a day. Of course I’m exaggerating a bit for effect, but it certainly felt that way. His aunt had been telling me about her friend’s insanely gorgeous house and that I just had to see it, especially since it probably wouldn’t be her’s much longer as her friend was in the middle of a messy divorce.

Her friend seemed nice and the house was amazing. It. Was. Huge. Like I would love to live in a house like that as long as I wasn’t the one who had to clean it. It was just too much house. And I’m pretty sure if we could live in a house like that we would probably be able to afford the 2-3 housekeepers needed to keep the place spotless. I mean it was just that insanely big.

If there was any part of that house I could’ve isolated and taken home with me it was the kitchen. I giggle at that idea because that kitchen was as big as the apartment we lived in at the time. So, where would I have put it? I’m kitchen crazy as it is. When we were looking for a house back in 2000 that was the first place I’d look at in the house. I mean, it is the heart of the home, right?

Well, it was in that kitchen where this little interrogation/judgement session began. I had just celebrated my 2-year wedding anniversary with my husband and I really didn’t get along very well with his parents, so I wanted to keep things somewhat friendly with his aunt and the rest of his family. I didn’t want to be that wife. I was also still new to this family so I guess you could say I just didn’t know any better. I was also only 22 so I didn’t have the chutzpah yet tell these nosy ass women to mind their own damn business.

So the interrogation/judgement session went a little like this:

  • “Don’t you think you should be doing more with your life?”
  • “That little girl of your’s is adorable and all but she’s working your last good nerve. It’s so obvious. You need a serious break from her or you’re going to snap.”
  • “Staying home with a kid isn’t enough for a young woman nowadays.”
  • “You need to go out there and make something of yourself.”
  • “You don’t want to end up like your mother-in-law. All she does is sit around and exist. She has no purpose in life. You need to have a purpose.”
  • “You’re going to be very resentful if all you do is stay home, clean house and be a mom. You will come to resent your husband and child, and then where do you think that’s going to leave you?”

Seriously? Who the hell does this to a 22-year-old somewhat newlywed/new mom?

Now I will agree that being married with a toddler at such a young age isn’t for everyone, but I’m not everyone. But like I said before I was only 22 and a fairly new family member with very little backbone. If she pulled this now – wait, she actually did. Back in 2011 where I had 18 years of marriage to my husband under my belt. I had broken my wrist in mid 2010 and lost my part time job because of it. Being out for 6 weeks while my arm was in a cast, then another 3 months of physical therapy of course the company I worked for at the time couldn’t hold the job for me. I didn’t hold a grudge against them. It’s business and I understood that. But that did leave me with no job for almost a year. We were on vacation in Florida, where a good portion of my husband’s family lives now, and the same aunt asked me if I was working. When I said I hadn’t been for almost a year she almost went bat shit cray cray. “Why not?!?!?” It was like she was demanding to know. All I said was simply, “Because… I don’t have to…” My answer pissed her off, I could tell. I had a job lined up to start once we got back from vacation, but that was none of her business.

Anyway, if the same aunt or any other member of my husband’s nosy family had the nerve to ask me why I wasn’t working, or any of the other questions I was interrogated with the day in that really nice kitchen, these are the answers I’d throw back at them. I’ll be 45 in September and I’m starting to understand the saying I don’t have a filter. Because I don’t. You know that thing that prevents your initial thoughts from flying right out of your mouth like as soon as you think them without you thinking gee, this may hurt their feelings…. Yeah, I don’t have one of those anymore. It just comes out now.

  • First and foremost, how my husband and I decide to raise our children is really none of your damn business. Honestly, unless you’re paying our mortgage and/or bills mind your own damn business.
  • What more should I be doing with my life? I’m raising future citizens of the world – I can’t think of anything more important than that. I mean, that’s a pretty hefty responsibility. One of these future citizens has special needs and his needs come before any job. My marriage, our children and our home are my top priorities.
  • I am something – I’m a wife and mother. Despite what many in society would like us to believe, being a wife and mom is pretty significant. And it is enough. Just sayin’.
  • I’m not sorry if our terribly archaic way of raising our family bothers you. Yes, we kind of have an old-fashioned way of doing things. It works for us. Why is this your concern? And here’s a little fun fact about me, I grew up with just my mom. No dad. I mean, yes I biologically have a father but he was rarely, if ever, around. So my mom had to work because even though he was ordered by the court to pay child support, he never did. My mom had no choice and I hated it. Yes, I’m going to admit that. I understood why she could never attend my school plays or be a classroom mom, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t bother me. It sure as hell did. I also hated being a latchkey kid. My grandparents lived right across the street from us, so they were there if I needed something, and I loved them dearly, but I would much rather have had my mom around. So I knew even when I was little that if I got married it would be to someone who had ambition and drive, and he would earn enough so I could stay home and raise our kids because that’s what was important to me.
  • My husband’s aunt always picks on my mother-in-law. Okay, she may not be the most worldly lady you’ll ever meet, but so what? She’s my husband’s mom and the grandmother of my children, so leave her the hell alone! You know what, maybe my MIL is really a genius in disguise. Think about it. She hasn’t had to work since she gave birth to my husband and she gets my FIL to wait on her hand and foot. I think maybe the aunt is a bit jealous. That’s what my husband thinks. Not necessarily that she’s jealous of my MIL but apparently his aunt’s MIL (his paternal grandmother) hated his aunt but she loved my MIL. My husband has always told me to disregard anything his aunt has ever said because misery loves company. I think he’s spot on with this.
  • Yes my kid was a handful back then. Please show me an 18-month-old who isn’t a bit of a handful. Am I right? Both of my sons were the same way. They grow out of it – it passes. Then it gets better. I was tired and cranky, but I’ve never resented any of my kids at that age.
  • The only resentment I ever feel is when my two older kids don’t help out around the house as much as they should. I shouldn’t have to beg them to help out as much as I do – but they’re getting better at it.

Yes, there are women today who chose taking care of their families over let’s say saving the world. I find it a little amusing and somewhat disturbing that other people find this upsetting. Why’s it anyone else’s business?

By the way, that friend of the aunt bragged about being a career gal and how it was her time now and blah, blah, blah…. I remember looking her dead in the eye and saying, “Yeah, and now you’re getting divorced….”

Hmmm, maybe I did have some chutzpah back then after all…

So ladies, if you find yourself being interrogated by some supposedly well-intentioned family, in-laws, friends, whatnot about when you plan on returning to work after you gave birth to a miniature version of yourself feel free to tell them to f*ck off. Okay, maybe don’t say that. Just tell them it ain’t none of their business and then you just go and do you whether that’s being a stay-at-home mom or going back to work and focusing on your career (I support this too) – whatever it is that feels right to you, makes you happy and what you can afford – because I get it, sometimes you have no choice and you have to go back to work.

Has anyone ever tried to make you feel guilty for your lifestyle choices?

*Photos: Top photo was taken in Miami, FL back in 1999. I was 26 and early pregnant with baby #2. My husband is holding our eldest, who was 5 at the time, and that’s my MIL on the right. Just felt like I mentioned her so I should pop a photo of her in here. Second photo is of my 2 boys back in late 2008. My older boy was 8 and my youngest was only 2. This was just before my youngest was diagnosed as autistic. Last photo is of my eldest and youngest at the park in late spring 2008, so little dude wasn’t even 2 yet. She was almost 15. She caught him coming down the slide. I truly love when you can see the love come through in photos.  

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