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Last week, I was at my favorite cafe for an afternoon snack with the kids. We were having a great time and I even got my 3-year old to say, "I'm just livin' life, Mommy!" I was relaxed, happy, and in no hurry whatsoever. Then, I get the comment. (I inevitably get a comment from someone when I go out in public because I have three children under 5 and I'm not screaming my head off.)
The guy (whom I gathered was a lawyer) asks snottily. "Are these all yours?"
To which I simply replied, "Yes."
"Oh, you must be really busy,” he adds.
Then he trots off to get a refill on his crappachino. His comment didn't hurt my feelings, but I was thinking, 'This guy doesn't know what he talking about.'
When the cafe waitress, Megan, was busily setting chairs and tables out onto the patio, I pitched in and helped while the kids watched. (Megan was a little stressed and had let me in early because I'm a dork and didn't realize the change in Summer Hours.) Then, my two oldest ones helped, too, without me asking. This lawyer guy seemed touched. After the heavy lifting was done (and he didn't offer to help, btw), he started to ask me the stats on my youngest (1.5 years, 24 lbs, running, favorite words "NO!" and "TRASH").
As it turns out, the lawyer has a 1-year old as well, and even though it was Wednesday, he had only seen his son twice that week. The 80-hour workweek was making him feel really guilty about his fathering, while wearing him out in the process. He said that his wife started at home with their son, but soon went back to work and his mother-in-law keeps the baby now. (I was thinking that she was probably felt like a single parent with all the hours he was working.) He also added that his mom was a SAHM and that he wishes his son would have his mom at home, too.
To make himself feel better about the situation, he suggested that maybe I was really worn out with the kids. Nope. I'm actually really happy. This caught him off guard. In fact, I told him that I've started a little online business to tell other SAHMs what's working and not working for me.
I then said that I was compelled to start the business because of my bachelor's in business and communications, my master's in marriage & family counseling, and my experience as a SAHM. I am enthusiastic about being a SAHM! I want other SAHMs to be, too!
Plus, I'm really not into jumping through someone else's hoops, so I "invented" being a consultant for SAHMs instead of going through supervision, limited license, and full license for counseling. Well, this seemed to get the guy's attention. He sat while I stood in front of him telling him that he had other options.
I then launched into a great seminar regarding online businesses, sheeple, lifestyle design, and of course, Tim Ferriss' The 4-Hour Workweek. I assured the lawyer (who is my age) that he didn't need to bust his hind-end working to make someone else rich while he misses out on his kid growing up and ignoring his wife until she gets fed up and leaves him. He was hanging on every word, repeated "The 4-Hour Workweek" at least 7 times, and said, "Wow, thanks. I'm going to check in to that!"
So even though I went from the overly reproductive housewife to the SAHM that schooled him in the middle of our local cafe, there was no malice or haughtiness in my approach to this lawyer. I've pretty much settled my "I'm just a SAHM" issues and I could see that the guy was running the lawyer hamster-wheel trying to get ahead in life.
I don't need to defend myself. And I'm glad that I wasn't defensive because I would have missed an opportunity to really talk with someone about being a SAHM and running your life the way you want to.
I hope that he jumps off the hamster wheel sooner rather than later because he'll never be able to get these years back when his child is little, his wife loves him, and he has his health and ability to do something else.