So what do you do?

I just had a really great conversation with my friend, Dana.  I have known her for uh, forever.  I think we became friends in 7th grade.  Or 8th- do you remember??  She has had the ability to make me laugh since the day we did meet.  Especially through the trials and tribulations of going to an all girls school, meeting boys, singing music and dating, uh, well, uh, ok, just dating. 

She has had a banner week.  Truly amazing.  You can visit her blog to see.  D- I am so so excited and happy for you and e-boy!!!  And now, sheesh, I will have to call you Dr.  That is AMAZING.  I am in awe- you are so wonderful.  Cannot wait to see what happens in the coming months. : )

Ok, so that said, speaking with her today reminded me of seeing her for our 15th high school reunion a few years ago.  We had a blast.  But an experience I had there crept to the surface of my mind.  I think about it often, and still get a little miffed and a little sad about it.

Going to an all girls school was in most ways a really wonderful experience.  I loved the atmosphere, loved my friends, loved not having to worry about boys.  But I knew back then, that really, what I wanted to do with my life was be a wife and mom.  I toyed with the usual teenage aspirations of being a pediatrician or a Broadway star, but in my heart of hearts, I knew.  Fast forward a number of years, and here I am, smack dab in the middle of my dream. 

I did go to college, I did get my teaching credential, I did teach for a number of years.  And then, I was blessed with the world’s most amazing husband, and later, Jack, Sam and Katie.  By the time I attended our 15th reunion, I had Jack and Sammy and was well into my second trimester of my paper pregnancy.  So there we were, at a cocktail party, with classmates of mine I was excited to see, talking and laughing and catching up on our lives.  There were some teachers there too.  So I was standing with Michael and Dana, and a few other women, when one of our old teachers joined in the conversation.  She went around the circle of old friends asking about our lives now.  Alicia is a film maker who had recently won an Emmy,  Amy owned her own company, Kate is a paralegal in a well respected law firm, Dana is all around smart, working in psychology….then Ms. C turns to me…"SO, Jenny, what do you do?"  I smiled at her and said, " I am at home raising my boys."

This is no exaggeration, she looked at me, or dare I say, glared at me, and WITHOUT SAYING A WORD, turned and walked away.  I looked at Dana, who just started laughing with me and Michael.  I was half expecting that reaction and half stunned that she was that rude to me, after fawning all over the other women.  Now, thankfully, I am totally secure in my career choice,and know without a shadow of a doubt, that I am in the perfect place.  I am in awe that I am able to love and care for this silly, kooky, family.  And I am so proud to be a stay at home mom.  Perhaps I should have come up with a more witty retort for the question of "So, what do you do?"  I could go on for hours about what I do each day, and how so many different jobs are rolled into the title of homemaker.  But I know what I do.  I know why I do it.  And they have names.  Michael, Jack, Sammy and Katie Mei.  And I am proud.



19 thoughts on “So what do you do?

  1. Having gone to the same school and having taken the same college as well as life path I can back up every word Jenny has written. I often have wanted to write a post about our alma mater and how “women power” etc. is what they preach yet they don’t give you a second glance if you have chosen to stay home, raise your family and be a wife. As long as you are staying at home while writing the next best selling men bashing novel they would approve but if you are staying at home cooking dinner and sewing headbands for your friends from high school they are more than willing to quite literally turn their backs on you.
    Jenny, strap on your seat belt for this one considering how many ex-Westridgettes read your blog and only three of us are stay at home moms.

  2. Let me preface this by saying that I would have loved to have had kids and gotten married long before this, but I believe that each of our lives turned out exactly the way it was supposed to. i mean, COME ON, we knew by sophomore year that Kate would vgrow up to drive a Volvo (she does). We KNEW that CeeJay was going to marry ML and have beautiful, happy, LMU-onesie wearing babies. And we all knew that you were going to be one of the best moms that ever walked the face of god’s green earth. And don’t forget what a c-word Ms. C was. That’s right, i said it.
    And thank you for the lovely shout out – you made me cry and laugh at the same time.
    And so, in your honor: I wuk up this mornin’ and I’s feelin’ blue, I told my sweet baby I went out wit yu! She hit me wit a skillet, and i said AW Babe, and she said BOY get outta my way! chicka-dayr-dayr, chicka-dayr-dayr, chicka-dayr-dayr-dayr-dayr!

  3. And eew, i had forgotten she had been that rude to you.
    It just goes to show that all the education and all the woman-power in the world doesn’t make up for a total lack of manners and class.

  4. I often feel like I have to qualify my “staying home with my children” title by saying that I did go to college and get my degree, I just don’t use it for money at the moment. Not that it’s anyone’s business anyway. 🙂 Love ya!

  5. I remember a good friend telling me, “Yes, you got your college degree, but you don’t use it now.” I politely told him, “I use it every day.” He had to agree.
    Why do some people think that you don’t need an education to raise children????
    I agree with drM, all the education in the world does no good if you do not possess manners and class.

  6. I am not bashing anyone for whatever choices they have made, go to it do what makes you happy. What tickes me off is that screwy school that brainwashes you with you are woman you can do or be whatever you want. We are here to educate women to be strong, bla bla bla, well that is unless you are choosing to be a stay at home mom then they treat you like you have wasted your perfectly good life and you have wasted your education. Can you tell Jenny and I have discussed this one at length?

  7. And another thing, wasn’t Ms. C DRUNK at the reunion?
    I remember when we would have “alumnae career day” and it would always be lawyers and interior designers (who live in france)and science professors.
    And I have to say, if the world had more mothers like you ladies, then maybe I would have fewer “clients” at the jail.

  8. Yes, I am here! The other Westridge allumnae who is a-dare I say it-dum, dum, da…a stay-at-home-mom! No!!! She said it out loud! Another failure as far as they are concerned. I am happy were I am. That is not to say sometimes I don’t beat myself up about “what am I doing with all my education”. But then I think of the alternative and am happy to be home teaching my children every day. It is not for everyone. In fact some of my working mom friends ask me how I do it!
    I do remember about dear W., that during my second semester senior year, after our college counseling elective was completed, we were trying to figure out what class we wanted to fill that time slot, and many of us wanted to have a cooking class. Mrs. Allen, our college counselor teacher, looked at us like we were INSANE, and basically said not over her dead body! That was just too domestic for a Westridge girl! Ok, so we won’t need to know how to cook for oursleves in this lifetime? Needless to say, we didn’t have a cooking class.
    And then when I got to Colby (where I went to college) I remember seeing Women’s Studies as a class option, and I was like, dang, after only two years at Westridge, I’ve had enough Women’s Studies to last me a lifetime!

  9. Wow, your generation of Westridge must be WAY different from mine. As far as I know, nobody gets shit because they’re a stay at home mom. But actually, now that I think about it, the friends I DO keep in touch with are not SAHMs, and neither am I, so maybe we don’t hear about it. Not that any of us truly keep up with the Westridge world, so maybe that’s a part of it, too. The women from my class who DID end up SAHMs (who, coincidentally, are the people I would NOT choose to hang out with, which has nothing to do with their working status, it just is a fact–didn’t like ’em then, don’t like ’em now), I think they donate a lot to the school so maybe they don’t get institutionally spanked for not raising the career bar as alumnae. I dunno. Westridge gave me a most excellent education. I did not go to college until my later 20s, but I still felt ready and able to handle anything life threw at me, including the ability to debate, dicuss, and dissect. I could, and still can, write eloquently and persuasively, because of stuff I learned at Westridge. Would I send my daughter there? Hell, no. We are so, so not a Westridge family. But if it were a different kind of school, one with less status and stigma attached, I would love her to have the all-girl’s experience. She would love it. This is veering off topic! Sorry. Anyway, y’all do what you need to do to feel fulfilled. That’s what matters.

  10. Our highschool government teacher (also the town Mayor), asked me what I was doing when we ran into him @ Pizza Hut and I told him about our wonderful kids and that I was a SAHM. He informed me that I didn’t need to let my smart brain go to waste, that I am very intelligent and good do a lot of good in the world! LOL WHAT?????
    What does he think raising 3 kids is doing? We also own our business but I was not about to tell him that I do all the book work…I could have cried after he said that to me!
    But now I realize I should have slapped him! LOL 🙂

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