August 23, 2008

EXPLAINING MY LACK OF SUCCESS

I hate meeting new people or catching up with old acquaintances. It's the worst aspect of coming home for a visit.

I, she states emphatically, am not enterprising. My shame is that I would've made a terrible pioneer and probably would've never crossed the Atlantic for the New World. I don't like adventure, and I'm not the least bit entrepreneurial.

I am a born follower.

When our future children start school, I will get a job. Not a career, a job. I have no interest in a career whatsoever. I fancy myself a sort of Renaissance Lady who likes learning new things for the sake of learning, but I am not ambitious. I went to grad school merely to kill time while my husband finished school. I liked school and was good at it, but I can't imagine myself in any sort of career.

I say all of this to set the stage for the question I hate most: "So, what do you do?"

I don't do anything. I don't know how to answer that. I do a monkey's job two weekends a month. I don't make money. I have no job to speak of.

I was voted Most Likely To Be President by my graduating class. I have no idea why. I am certain I am a disappointment to them.

But I am fine with my life. My husband likes me the way I am, though I am sure he will enjoy the extra money once I get a job. I have no regrets at all about where I am in life. (Except if I'd known it would take more than two years to have a baby, I would've gotten some sort of job at this duty station.)

But any time I get the "What do you do?" question, I feel like I need to explain all of this. I feel like I need to prove I'm not a bum. Or I have to explain the two dead babies, so at least I have an excuse for not working.

Yesterday we ran into the mom of a kid I went to school with. "So, what do you do?" I fake laughed and said, "My husband is in the Army, so I follow him around for a living." She looked disappointed. "I just remember you were so successful in school."

Ouch.

I'm just typing this to get it off my chest. I hate that question. I hate not having an answer to it. I hate the look people give me when I don't have an answer for them.

Sometimes I answer "I'm a trophy wife" if I think I can get away with it.

I hate how the question makes me feel inadequate when really I am happy with my life. I shouldn't let it bother me, but it does.

I just need to hurry up and have a kid so I have an excuse for staying at home.

Posted by: Sarah at 01:15 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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1 Well people are just downright jerks if they don't understand how hard being a SAHM is. When my SIL's dad died and my brother had to take up alot of the slack my SIL said, now he'll see how hard it is. And I didn't argue. I don't have kids and I know how hard it is. But part of the feminist movement also brought male expectations to the female realm. I don't know how we got 'here' but it seems to me that we are our own worst enemy sometimes.

Posted by: Mare at August 23, 2008 06:26 PM (APbbU)

2 When I read your post before the comments, I thought, "just say you are a writer." You write a lot. And whether you are being paid shouldn't really matter. I am beginning to get in this awkward position too. I think "I'm a trophy wife" is a great answer, but I have yet to use it.

Posted by: Butterfly Wife at August 24, 2008 05:37 AM (RVPJQ)

3 It's a ridiculous 'ideal' mindset people have and funny how whatever THEY are doing is ideal. I went to law school because, at the time, I thought it was something I'd always wanted to do. Now, I can't find a damned job b/c it's just inconceivable to the powers that be that I, a former professor and current mom, could possibly have time to devote to such a job. Never mind I finished 3 years of school in 2, but whatever. On the other side, you have those who think I'm a terrible mother for taking time away from my kids to do school and all that and then likely have a job in a profession that requires tons of time. I've worked in one form or another since I was 12. I've never had only one job. Frankly, I'm ENJOYING being unemployed right now. People just have their ideas about what others should be doing b/c they are trying to make themselves feel better about what THEY are doing. Whatever works for you is what works. You're a writer, a designer (look at all the knitted designs you do!), and an advocate for military families...those are the first 3 things that pop into my mind & I could certainly come up with an entire list! People need to just mind their own businesses.

Posted by: Guard Wife at August 24, 2008 08:37 AM (F5iCn)

4 Sarah, Maybe you were voted "Most Likely To Be President" because you were extremely responsible, compassionate, intelligent, and always going above and beyond. You were a good leader and you still are; the only difference is your interests have changed. I would say the things you do now make you more of a success or at least as much of a success as someone who has a career. You give and give and you've never been one to "toot your own horn." You have a wonderful life (loving husband, Charlie, a nice home, and most of all a caring spirit). That is true success! Don't ever underestimate yourself! Your mama

Posted by: Nancy at August 24, 2008 09:33 AM (coA+L)

5 When your mama mentioned Charlie, I immediately thought of Animal Trainer. Specializing in dogs. If someone wants to use your talents, just tell them that your all booked up, you don't have to go into details. Rosie

Posted by: rimholz at August 24, 2008 12:33 PM (6Mz/s)

6 Late to this but...what is wrong with declaring right out that you are your husband's wife and a hopeful mother to be and quite happy? I, too, have issues with the "what do you do" except it comes with the "where did you go to school" question. But NEVER be ashamed of being a good wife and properly decent human being. You are one of a very few, m'dear. Admit it proudly.

Posted by: LauraB at August 29, 2008 01:00 PM (rWCdE)

7 Like others have already said, it doesn't stop when you have kids. It's even worse when people find out that I have a law degree. Then I get the squinty look like "What's wrong with you?! Why are you at home when you could be working?" The worst part is that I usually get this from other women.

Posted by: MarineWife at August 31, 2008 10:24 AM (Vbk4m)

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