Does anyone else get this? You meet a new person (woman) and do the "Hi, I'm so and so," "Oh hi, I'm so and so. So nice to meet you." Now you want to get to know her better and move beyond the "this party has lovely flower arrangements (table cloths, stemware, fruit salad, whatever)" so you ask the first thing that pops into your mind "So, what do you do?" She looks embarrassed, maybe looks around for escape, and finally answers "I stay home with the kids." Arrrgh!!! I AM NOT trying to make you feel bad about not working outside the home. I just want to know what makes you tick, what floats your boat, what you do to fill up your days (fun and necessary).
It was so much easier in college and early career days. You'd meet someone new and find out what they were studying, about the new job they just started, the time they were planning to spend in the peace corps and that would easily lead into other interesting conversation about the value of essay exams over multiple choice, the inadequacies of human resource departments, life in Africa, AIDS, etc.
Then my female friends started having babies and changing things around so they stayed home more. I think this is great! If you are able mentally and/or financially to stay home with your kids full time, kudos to you, it's a lot of work. You should not be embarrassed that you stay home, or work part time, or that you work outside the house full time or that you don't have kids and think they are slimy little boogers and keep that thing away from me, thank you very much (although you may not want to express that last one out loud).
BUT, back to my question. I'm not asking you to justify what you do, I just want to learn more about you. Great responses would be (I'm basing this off actual women I know. I'm not saying any of the following women need to work on their responses.): "I have two kids and I sew and sell custom purses and diaper bags between running around after them." (check out http://fly-bagz.com/) "I have a blog about baby products that I write after the kids are asleep." (check out http://theshoppingmama.com/) "Currently I'm training to qualify for Boston (marathon)." "I'm a project manager for xyz and I travel ALL the time." "I take care of my kids during the day and strip at a local club at nights." (OK, OK I don't know anyone who does the last one.)
Maybe I need to change my question.
I'm not a huge fan of "what do you do for fun (around here)?" For one it sounds like a cheesy pickup line. And let's be honest, a lot of the things that fill our days are fulfilling but not necessarily fun. I've never run a marathon, but I'm pretty sure a whole lot of it isn't fun.
"What do you do to fill your days that makes your life both fulfilling and interesting?" Just doesn't roll off the tongue and would probably be greeted with blank stares or laughter.
"How do you spend your days?" Might be a little better if not taken too literally. (Yesterday my day went: feed the kid, change diaper, clean up kitchen while he played, put him down for nap and get changed to go to store, feed the kid, change diaper, got to post office and grocery store, put him down for nap and put away groceries, feed the kid, change diaper, play with kid, wash new-used diapers that came in the mail, update insurance to new address, put him down for a nap, feed kid, change diaper, get dinner in oven, bath, night time diaper, feed, bed.) Booooring, but fulfilling. This one actually might not be too bad if I can get my mouth to say it rather than the normal "what do you do?" What do you all think? Any other suggestions?
"I'm a full time mom."
A final note about "I'm a full time mom." Word of advice, every mom is a full time mom whether she works outside the home, at home, or not at all. That little one is on your brain from birth if not conception or before 24/7. Working outside the home or in a home office--part or full time--does not make anyone less of a mom. And staying home does not make you more of a mom. So if you don't want people throwing eye darts at your back or secretly wishing you would humiliate yourself publicly, learn to remove this phrase from your portfolio completely. Try: "I'm a stay at home mom," or "I'm taking a break from work to spend more time with the kids while they are young."