What do YOU do?

a smile and a shrug
is what people expect when
they ask what you do?

I was reading Marrit Ingman’s new column over at Austinmama, and she got me to thinking. No one ever asks me what I do anymore. It’s not like I go to a lot of social functions where the question comes up all the time, but even so. When I go to the doctor’s office, when I get my hair cut, when I meet anyone for the first time and all of the usual pleasantries are exchanged, no one ever asks, "So what do you do?"

Do all stay-at-home moms smell of paste and burned cookies and therefore surreptitiously inform people of "what we do" before we are even asked? Is there some kind of vibe? Are folks afraid I might whip out a wallet full of baby pictures and bore them all to tears while they’d rather be bored to tears by a conversation on high-tech marketing tactics?

Sometimes I’d like to be asked what I do. And not so I can make the tired bon-bon joke. I’d like to really, seriously talk about what it’s like to try and make a living as a for real and true writer. I’d like to talk about career paths for women who work AND stay at home. I’d like people to understand that staying at home doesn’t mean I’ve suddenly lost all capabilities of having a conversation about Web 2.0 technology or about the latest trends in book publishing or reasons why the US version of The Office is nowhere near as funny as the UK version.

I don’t know that people immediately assume moms who stay-at-home don’t have things to talk about other than their kids, and I’d like to hope this isn’t the case. But I miss being asked what my opinion is. I miss being able to brag about what I do.

And I don’t mean to sound like like I DON’T want to brag about the wee one and his accomplishments, because, obviously, I enjoy doing that very much. I just don’t think it should be assumed that a woman who stays at home with her children only "does" that everyday.

I want to meet someone, smile awkwardly, listen to their question and answer, "I’m a mama and a writer, what do you do?"

And then I will make a tired bon-bon joke.

2 thoughts on “What do YOU do?

  1. Hi Kari, sorry to hear that people have stopped asking about your occupation, but do you not think that the tummy is giving it all away at the moment. The sad fact is that people don’t see the person behind the bump, and they are missing out. Losers!!
    Let them all drown in the cesspool of their ignorance and rejoice in the fact that you, proud mother and published poet amongst other things, shine far brighter than they ever will in their own pitiful existences.
    And as a secondary point, yours was the first ‘first edition’ book I have ever owned.


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