Wednesday, July 29, 2009

You Work, Don't You?

Of course I work!
The latter part of June and the whole month of July has been “camp time” for the kids, translating for me, to - in and out of the car all day, everyday. In summers past, I’ve thought, “Oh, I should have sent my kid to this or that.” This summer, I made up for it. Between the three kids, they’ve done swimming lessons, a course called Seeing is Believing: Virtual Worlds, vacation bible school (attending and volunteering), field hockey camp, and now art camp. And, my middle daughter is graduating from a program at church that has required some extra duties to earn all her badges before the big day.

We’ve also managed to visit Grandma and Grandpa twice, entertain eight year old cousin Ethan for a week, and to hit the pool and beach a number of times.

With all this running around, my grocery store routine has been severely altered. Like some of you, I usually make the two hundred dollar trip (give or take) when the fridge and the pantry begin its descent to vacancy, but the trip didn’t happen during the past two weeks. Instead, I have been dropping in and out of the very convenient grocery store at the edge of my subdivision to get the needs of the current and next day.
My social status is really climbing with the employees at the store!

On one of my trips, a General Mills person is displaying samples of Fiber One Bars. I don’t know what the official job title is, but you’ve seen them; they go to different grocery stores to check on the shelf placement of their product and to set up promotion tables. Ms. General Mills is trying to do her job when one of the grocery store’s employees tell her to move a cardboard box out of the way - in a demanding tone. She gets flustered, then turns around to see me eyeing her Fiber One Bars. I’m a perfect target. She gets to vent while seducing me with the goods.

“How rude of him!” she says.

“Here, take one of these.”

“How can I set up without an area to unpack!”

“Have you tried the strawberry? Here,”
as she passes me the third bar.

“It’s not even in the way of the customers!”

“This is a new flavor. It tastes a little like coffee. Here!”

Realizing I’m on a roll with these breakfast bars, I say, “I like the chocolate flavor.”

She tears open the oats and chocolate flavored box, and hands me another.

“People can’t even do their jobs without being harassed! You work, don't you?”

Hmmmm….I’m standing here ogling the Fiber One Bars, in my shorts, T-shirt, and flip flops. My tired and hungry kids are waiting for me in the car, probably wondering why it’s taking Mommy fifteen minutes to buy some tomatoes and flatbread.

Do I burst her bubble by telling Ms. General Mills that I’m a stay-at-home mom, and reciting the stay-at-home mom motto: “Yes, I DO work and it’s a hard job!” Do I take the risk of seeing her disappointed look when she realizes that I can’t relate to having to deal with arrogant people everyday? Or, maybe I would have gotten the patronizing pat on the back, and, “Yes, you do! Your job is harder than mine!” (And that’s okay. I don’t mind hearing that.)

I took the high road (I think), and simply said, “Yes.”

She was grateful for being able to talk to me, and I appreciated her friendliness and generosity.

As I was inching away from her, she handed me several pages of coupons, with an expiration date of 12/29/09. I’ve hit the jackpot.

“Here Ma’am (or was it Darlin’?). The bars are on sale now, and if you use the coupon, you’re only paying about one third of the price.”

She was right. I dashed over to the cereal isle and bought a few boxes.

When I got back to the car, Hayley whined, “I’m hungry. What took you so long?”

I reached into my purse and pulled out one of my seven Fiber One Bars and said, “Here, take one of these.”

Are you a stay-at-home mom? Do you have a standard answer to, “What kind of work do you do?"
Stay-at-home mom or not – all comments welcome.


Hilary said...

We are definitely going to have to talk about the "You work, don't you?" question at another time. I will say, I do love the chocolate and oat Fiber One bars; I tried the mocha ones and they weren't that great. I also tried the caramel ones and they were SO sweet. I don't consider myself a Fiber One Aficionado, but they do get the job done.

Anita said...

HILARY, I agree. Grabbing one on keeps me going until I can get a real meal. And yes, I am very interested in hearing about your "Do you work" encounters. :)

andrea said...

I usually say something along the lines of "Yes, I work, and I'm on call 24/7" and let them think what they will. It does bother me that when people hear stay-at-home mom, they think you do nothing all day. Heavens, if you were a maid or a day-care worker (i.e. getting paid for what you do for free) people would all say, "Oh, what a hard job!"

Anita said...

Hi ANDREA! Thanks for visiting my blog and for your comment.
My oldest is now 13. During all that time, I've been a stay-at-hme mom, and I've found that the older I get, the less I react to the various reactions I get when I say, "I'm not employed." :)
I'll pop over to your blog to see what you're writing about.
Visit again soon!

the mom said...

Here in Italy it's quite common being a "casalinga". In Sweden it has hapened people have found me to be rude if I tell them I don't work, so usually I avoid talking about stuff like that.
Was it a hard desicion for you to become a stay at home mom?

Anita said...

THE MOM, Here in the states, sometimes people debate and argue over whether it is better for moms to work outside the home for salary or to be a stay-at-home mom which allows mom to always available for the children.
I think every family has to decide and like everything else in life, nothing's perfect.
After I turned 30 and started thinking seriously about marriage and children, I started having the desire to be a stay-at-home mom, so it was not difficult at all to stop working when I became pregnant at age 37. Because I was so much older having my first child, and because I had worked as a computer programmer for 15 years before marriage and children, I was ready to experience a different kind of life. I believe that I will work for a salary again some day, but I don't know when.