Please Stop Telling Me I Should Do Things For A Living

The title, alone, sounds ridiculous. Please stop telling me I should do things for a living? What do I expect – to sit around and do nothing as a grown ass adult?

No. That’s not what I mean at all.

A couple weeks ago, we had a little family and friend get together for my toddler’s second birthday. It wasn’t too extravagant. About 20 people came by. We had burgers and broccoli cheese soup, a cake, and a donut display. Truth be told, he slept for 75% of it, having started his nap that day a little late.

As I always do: I made the party set up a little on the extra side. The table of desserts and foods looked Pinterest-perfect, which truth be told I always do. Not because I feel that I have to, but simply because I want to. It’s what I do to feel alive.

Yes. I want to have personalized water bottles and theme-specific drink glasses. Yes, DIY tables cape projects actually make me feel like I’m living my best life. This is just something that’s important to me as a parent, to give my kids some of these fun picturesque memories that I didn’t have as a child.

Sue me.

Just as with all parties I throw, meals I cook, or hostess gifts I bring, the comments almost immediately rolled in:

 Oh Heather, you should do this for a living! Seriously you should get into event planning, think of how much money you could make if you did this for a real job!

You are doing too much for someone that doesn’t get paid!

Imagine how nice this party would be if you were getting a paycheck to throw it!

[Insert drawn out eye roll]

I completely get that this is meant to be a compliment, and isn’t it just so late-stage millennial of me to be offended by something someone said that was meant to be nice?

But honestly: is there ever going to come a point when a woman can be a mom and have that be enough?

As in this is just what mom does – she throws parties, and those parties are extra.

Or when a woman, who is a mom, does something nice and it’s just a part of what she does as a mom – not something she should do in another sphere for a financial payoff; will that ever just be enough? That Mom did something really nice for us?

And really, when did we fall into this black hole of equating the things people do solely by how much money they bring in?

When people tell me that I should event plan or personalize shop or bake for a living, they are telling me that what I am actually doing for a living – raising and educating three human beings while running a household so my husband can pursue his dream job – is of little or no value to them. Like it’s temporary, or just something I do for fun while figuring out what I’ll do when I become a real adult.

Every time I am told that I should do something else for a living than what I am actually doing, a little piece inside of me breaks in half and turns on itself. What if what I do has no value?

Moreover: what if my children heard someone say that to me (which they have)? Will they begin to find no value in anything I do? If they want to do what I do when they grow up, will they feel as worthless as this makes me feel?

And the big one: what in the hell am I doing spending all this time with people who share values I don’t espouse, or want to raise my kids to learn?

There’s a folly to it all because it is meant to be a compliment: that I do something so well I could make money by doing it professionally. But does it really teach our children the value we want to teach them – that something is only really valuable if it brings home a paycheck? And, taking it a step further, that if someone does something for free they are either wasting their time and energy, or not contributing to some grander vision?

I’ve asked so many questions, to which I have one answer: a mother’s contribution is not defined by how much money she does or does not contribute to the household budget.

As I said, I do these parties, the Sunday dinners, the homemade gifts because I want to. The things I do that I do not get paid for as a stay at home mom go well beyond that, too. It’s the homeschooling, the Mom Therapist Mode. The extra curricular activity taxi cab driver. The scheduler-medication administrator-personal chef- laundry woman-housekeeper. It’s all of it.

Becoming a stay at home mom was the most valuable decision I ever made, and one even my husband continues to believe is not what I really want. Women have come so far, how could I ever want to define my life as just a mom? You could do so much more if you did something for a living.

Please stop telling me to do things for a living. As I see it, I am. I’m doing a lot of things for a living – not for a paycheck or a promotion. But to live.

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Top 6 Reasons Your Hubs Ain’t All That

Multiple times during the week, now, I am woken by some sort of tragic event going on in my bed. Sometimes it’s my husband spreading out like the entire California King is needed to fan all of his parts – pushing me to the small edge on my side of the bed. Other times he is punching me in the back as he flops from one side to the next. Last night, it was the covers. Around 3:15 AM, he – for some reason, in his sleep – pulled the entire comforter off of me and bunched it up in front of him, leaving me to freeze.

As I lay there, angry and desperately trying to get back to sleep, I composed a blog all about husbands in my head.

Top 6 Reasons Your Hubs

Ain’t All That

#6 Home Becomes Work Becomes Home

Perhaps it is a sign of the crippling economy, but it seems that men can no longer come home from work and hang up their hats, leaving work hanging there with it. Now, when the Big Daddy Breadwinner gets home, he has to talk about work, think about work, let work interrupt his evening activities, check emails from work, answer phone calls about work, allow work to disrupt him from getting his house stuff done, and go to bed with nothing but work on his mind.

I’m all for the general “how was your day at the office, dear?” conversation over dinner. What the hell else are you going to talk about? But there is that and then there is taking it too far.

The fundamental problem with this is your husband is allowing work and his job to define who he is, rather than what the real definition of him is:  a conglomerate of many different things, which includes father, husband, friend, son, etc; not just “employee.” Perhaps this is just a California thing, where it seems as though everyone lets their jobs completely dictate their lives, but the old adage should always be kept in mind to keep a healthy work/life balance: it’s just a job.

#5 The Identity Crisis

A while back, I wrote a blog called “Stop Being Such a P*s*y.” I will never forget the response of one man in particular, who said that men are in the midst of an identity crisis as a result of smothering mothers, the Feminist Movement, and people like me calling them p*s*i*s

Bull shit.

A man isn’t a man because of the identity that he holds, the masculinity that he asserts, and his oppression of women. He’s a man because he has a dick. Period, end of sentence. It’s what he does with that Big D, though, that makes him either a real man or a p*s*y. But this incessant whining that in the last few decades women have oppressed men by demanding equal rights; and that men need to reclaim their masculinity by putting women down is just stupid.

And furthermore, if a woman is upset about something a man does – even her husband – she has a right to say it, wherever she wants. This doesn’t cut at the man’s masculinity; it is honesty with the intention of fixing an unhealthy behavior. I’m so tired of people acting like saying how things are is a bad thing. Your husband ain’t all that if he can’t take a little honest criticism. If a man is acting like a jerk, he’s acting like a jerk. He won’t know to fix it if no one tells him.

#4 Honey, You Married My Parents

My in-laws are coming over for dinner next week and I am again reminded that my husband is really his father and tries – routinely – to treat me the way he has observed his mother treated.

There is a reason why psychologists say you need to set a good example for your kids:  they will inevitably believe that this is an acceptable way to treat their spouse. If he doesn’t want to hear it, my husband’s dad will simply ignore and not respond to my mother-in-law. One time she was sitting there and she just kept asking question after question after question, all of which were ignored. I’ve seen it happen on more than one occasion, and when I talked to my husband about it he said “yeah, well that’s what you do when your wife is blathering on, spewing her emotion everywhere.”

Indeed.

Your hubs is just as much his parents as my hubs is, and he ain’t all that because of it. How he handles it, though, does redeem him.

#3 Feeding Time At the Barnyard

It is astounding sometimes to see the way that my husband eats. Here’s how it goes: I spend about three to six hours preparing a delectable, healthy, and perfectly seasoned meal. I hate to cook, so this is a really big deal for me to do every day, day in and day out. Nick comes home and promptly takes his plate, smothers it in a complete layer of salt and pepper, then sits down to inhale the food – periodically slurping it up; only to be disrupted with guzzling and slurping down whatever he’s drinking to wash the pig slob down.

Sometimes I think about just installing a trough.

I see men eat like this all the time, and quite frankly it is horrifying. Whatever happened to the days when a husband put his napkin in his lap? When he waited and tasted the food before piling it with seasonings? The days when “boy Mom, this sure is a swell meal” came out of his mouth? The slang swell should clue you faithful blog followers into how long it’s been; nonetheless, your husband would be all that if he would adopt such slang himself.

#2 Bodily Functions & Personal Hygiene

Gross. Gross. Gross.

Since graduate school ended and I took to being home all the time, I have become evermore aware of the bodily functions and personal hygiene we have in this house. My husband and your husbands alike all ain’t all that simply because they are pigslobs.

They miss the toilet, every time.

They wear underwear with gaping holes in them.

Which also have stains in them (I just vomited).

They have a never-ending case of foot fungus.

And as if that is not enough, they top it all off by laying around and scratching their balls nonstop; emitting bodily sounds intermittently as if “excuse me” is foreign to their vocabulary. And then they deny it all when you mention it.

#1 He’s Competing With A Million Other “Best Husband In the Whole Entire World LOL OMG ! ! ! ! ! !”

 If you are like me, every day you check your Facebook and are inundated with all your friends – God love them – posting on their Facebook statuses all about how their husbands are their heroes, their everything, and THE BEST HUSBANDS IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD LOL OMG ! ! ! ! ! !

I wrote a blog about this a while ago too, although I think it was far too logical. The crux of my argument was that:  obviously, everyone can’t have the best husband in the world because there can be only one “best” of anything. Far too intellectual, but if I were to continue I would say that obviously no one can have the best husband in the world because there are none.

As a result of this, though, your hubs ain’t all that because he is competing in this post-modern age of Feminism and people like me calling them p*s*i*s with other husbands to outdo each other, and live up to this “best husband in the whole world LOL OMG ! ! ! ! ! ! ” standard. So he does one of two things: (1) tries to outdo other husbands and becomes completely effeminate in the process; getting his floral thong in a bunch every time you admit any of his faults thereafter; or, (2) decides he cannot win and so does absolutely nothing. Mine falls into the latter category, and I know the majority of his friends are pulling their pink thongs out their asses right now in rage over the fact that I said it.

I’d have to argue that those are the top 6 reasons why your hubs ain’t all that. There are obviously more, like mommy issues and my afore-mentioned sleeping traumas. Like I said, I’m sure a lot of my husband’s friends will read this and complain how can you tolerate her saying those things in her blog? Well, because it’s all true. My hubs ain’t all that. Neither is yours. Neither are you.

5 Things A Housewife Should No Longer Feel She Has To Do

Today I got into a little bit of a tit-for-tat disagreement with my sister-in-law on Facebook (of all places). Keeping in mind that we do not spend much time with this side of the fence (which seems to have created a bit of a rift), she has become increasingly more active as of late in voicing her judgments and opinions on my Facebook. Unfortunately, she is not very educated and terribly immature, and thus opens herself up, then, to the ridicule of my friends and family who know better. A few weeks ago, she posted something about how much she loved Christmas on a webcomic I had shared and a cadre of friends began mimicking her incessant refusal to mind the rules of grammar and punctuation (one poster said “OMG LOL, I can’t wait to get a Hello Kitty toaster !! ! ! ! !”). I, myself, have bit my tongue on a number of occasions – particularly when she spells words like “gross” – grose, such as she did the other day when I posted that I couldn’t wait for a White Castle slider when I get (home) to Chicago in two months.

Today I could not take it anymore, though, because her comments went beyond the realm of simply judgmental, annoying, or inherently stupid. So I said my peace politely, although it left me with a horrible taste in my mouth. The conversation went something like this:

In a Facebook status, I joked about the irony of cleaning before the cleaners come: “Cleaners are on their way which can only mean one thing: must pre clean so we don’t look like slobs.”  A few of my friends commented immediately, indicating that they do the same exact thing, and one friend and I got into conversation about how worth it the cleaning service is – particularly when you have kid(s).

All of a sudden, Hello Kitty Toaster chimed in, saying I like to burn the calories and see all my hard work in the finished results !! Plus cleaning supplies last a long time… doesn’t equal the price of a cleaning lady !! just saying…

Fair enough.

I responded, continuing the conversation. For one, maybe I just live with complete and utter slobs, but we go through cleaning supplies like gang busters and when the cleaning service only charges $60 to completely disinfect, deallergen, and clean up after us, the net increase in the monthly budget is negligible. So I mentioned this. I also mentioned that there also is the “I’m not a slave”-factor, in the sense that just because I am a woman does not mean I have to spend all my time cooking and cleaning. (And in truth, I still have to clean up after the slobs…) The last comment I made on it was simply that having children around when you are trying to clean is much different than having no children (Hello Kitty Toaster of course falls into the latter category).

hmmm… well lets agree to disagree … no judgement here !! Just a different opinion

Fuck you, Hello Kitty Toaster. I hate it when people say that. It’s like the proverbial “I have nothing to say but am going to ignore your comments anyway.” I didn’t actually say fuck you – (despite the fact that her husband once told me to “go fuck yourself off” – great family, eh?…), but I wanted to. In the end, with her pithy “agree to disagree despite the conversation going on”-response, Hello Kitty Toaster shut the conversation down, leaving me annoyed and feeling like the housewife gong had again been struck.

Thanks, buzz kill.

But does she have a point? Is it better to clean house? She’s a housewife, although she has no kids. She actually does little but teach dance classes to children and some sort of yoga to adults. I’m not one to judge whether her existence is meaningful or not, although beyond this “teaching,” she is often nothing more than a bimbo. A blonde, uneducated, LOLOMGROFL !! bimbo. And – as I said – a housewife. A housewife who prepares her husband’s plate for him as if his arms are broken.

But still … does she have a point?

After thinking about it for the better half of the day, I still stick by a resounding “NO.” This isn’t the 1950s anymore, and while there is something to be said about a woman that will cook her man a nice dinner once in a while, this should not come as an expectation by any standard of judgment. Even when women don’t work – when they stay at home and raise the kids, or stay at home and work on other projects – I don’t think that the decades-old standard of housewifery need still apply. If the woman wants to abide by archaic standards of oppression and servitude, by all means, but for me, there’s a simple list of 5 Things a Housewife Should No Longer Feel She Has To Do:

#1 A housewife should no longer feel she has to change her last name. This is such an archaic practice and I’m not sure why people still do it. More over, nothing is more offensive than someone who cannot accept the fact that a woman chooses to keep her former name. My last name is and always will be Schmidt. I have multiple degrees tied to it and there is no reason to switch (something a lot of cultures practice as well…). Accept it or I’ll stop opening your mail.

#2 A housewife should not feel her station in life is to cook and clean. If a woman is not working and she and her husband make an agreement that she will do all the cooking and cleaning as a part of staying home, that is one thing. If a woman is not working for some other reason, though – be it to raise the kids, go to school, work on some other life-fulfilling project that does not necessarily bring home the bacon, then all bets are off the table. Nothing is more pompous than a man that acts like his wife should feel guilty for not cooking a luxurious meal every single night, either.

#3 There is no reason a housewife should serve her husband – food, slippers, whathaveyou. It’s always nice when you are tired from a long day and someone gets you a drink while you relax. Nothing beats coming home to find a plate of food dished up for you. But the concept of a woman fixing her husband’s plate every night – especially at family events for all to see her servitude – is ridiculous. I feel like punching Hello Kitty Toaster in the face, and asking her husband if his arms are broken, every single time I see them do this.

#4 A housewife should not feel obligated to bear children.  Again, every relationship is defined differently, but there are tons of options for having and raising children if a couple wants to do it and the woman does not want to put her body through the trials and tribulations of childbirth. I’ve heard a number of pompous assholes in my day say they could never truly love a child that is not related by blood. I call hog wash on that, and in a big way. A child is a child is a child and blood line does not make them any more or less so, just as sperm donation does not make or break the title of “dad.”

#5 Lastly, a housewife should not take any shit just because her husband is the man of the house. I don’t know many people I could call “men” that lie, abuse, and emotionally manipulate their wives. The other day I read a great article about “gas lighting” – which was described as an epidemic in our country. It is never acceptable for a man to make his wife feel she is wrong for having feelings, crazy for being upset, or the bad guy for wanting something out of the relationship too. Nor is it ever tolerable for a man to scream and yell, or to humiliate, talk down to, or demean his wife. Ever.

Of course maybe this 5 Things … list is why I don’t get treated to date nights and diamonds on Valentine’s Day like most other housewives do…