They never ask...2:02 AM
Something happened that I found particularly interesting this weekend. We were invited to a birthday party which included dinner and drinks and lots of conversation. At first I wasn't really feeling it, but I am super happy that I sucked it up and went. Although my belly got in the way more than once, it was so nice to be out of the house and all dressed up. I know the birthday girl pretty well. We have our kids play together often and we try to get together when we can. Conversation flows well between us and we are pretty close in age to each other. There were a few other women that I had met before and then there were some that I didn't know at all. The best thing that this woman and her husband did was separate us into two tables: men and women.
At first it looked odd but it ended up being perfect. Conversation wasn't muted or constrained to work and gender jokes flew freely. Let's all admit that women and men use different humor sometimes and quite honestly I find that sometimes the men take over the conversation, whether it is formal or informal. While at first I wondered how well I was going to get along in conversation with everyone, things worked out well in the end.
But the next day, while my husband and I talked about the party, he suddenly turned to me and said, "Why didn't X know that you have published as book?"
Principe gets upset with me that I don't talk about my writing enough. He is right, too. I really should push the fact that I am a writer more often. But to this question I had a simple answer: "He never asked."
This person, no blame really to him, has never asked me what I did before coming to France and having kids. He has never asked me what I studied, etc. Now, I don't blame him. It isn't very often that we all get together and the husband sits around asking ME about my life. Usually we are talking about our kids and life right now. Which is normal. If it ever goes into work the only work talked about is our husbands' work as they are ones working at the moment. Most expat wives don't work if they have young kids. The only two that do (of the ones I know) were here years before having kids and had their jobs already set up when they got pregnant. I am sure there are other cases, but without speaking the language well-enough, or having something set up before hand, it quite frankly isn't that easy to find a fulfilling job. In my opinion, anyway.
But it get me thinking about my life and how I am perceived. I don't mind being known as a SAHM. That is basically what I am and I made the choice to be that. I like being the one to cook the meals for my kids and take them to the park. I like seeing them everyday, even if they sometimes drive me crazy and I wish I could get out of the house long enough for a yoga class twice a week! But in the end it is something that Principe and I worked out when we first got pregnant and I still agree with the decision we made.
On the other hand, sometimes I wish that people would ask me what I did before hand or what I want to aspire to or what I studied. What was my life like before kids, but I guess when they know that I am not working in the present, they don't really see past my "momhood". I know that this man respects me and my place in the home right now. It is quite often that he comments about how hard a job it is to be a mom. He is in no way disrespectful about me or anything mom-like. And I have to admit that if I never told Principe about the former lives of my current friends he probably would never find time to ask them. Just human nature, I guess.
At any rate, does it bother you when people don't ask you what you used to do, or what you studied?Does it bother you that they assume you aren't doing anything on the side? I can't say that it bothers me as I don't throw it out there saying, "I AM EDITING MY BOOK TODAY!" just to let it be known, but maybe I should! LOL! No, it doesn't bother me, it is all just an observance. Does it bother you?