If you thought at my age that question would not bother me, you would be wrong. Through the years people have asked that and I am never sure just how to answer. What they really want to know is, what do you do for money? How do you earn a paycheck? What is your job? It makes me squirm. It seems often, we are made to feel less valuable if we don’t work-for money. I have recently been asked that again and even now it made me squirm and want to crawl into a hole. It shouldn’t be that way. We all have choices in life and I have made mine. I should never be made to feel less because of it. Now, I know that usually that is not the intent of the question. But then there are times, I am made to feel that I am less valuable or my time isn’t as important because I “don’t work.”
So how do I answer it? I could go the Roseanne route and say “I am a Domestic Goddess.” Isn’t that a choice? It should be as there is nothing wrong with that. It is often the most difficult job of all. What do I do? I write. I tell people that. I have a couple blogs and I have published a book. I am working on my second one. Most people don’t take the answer “I write” seriously. It doesn’t come with that weekly, steady paycheck. But it is one thing that I do.
I used to work. I chose to leave my last job when my second son graduated high school. I have wrote about him in the past and in fact, our life is the subject of my second book. He has a disability and needs someone around. That was me at the time. He does now have direct care providers so I am needed much less here for him. (He does get up before the crack of dawn each day and I have to be up, so my day starts at 4:30 a.m. seven days a week!)
I get questioned on my choice to have him live here. That is not only my choice but his. His independence is something that is always worked on, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he has to go to a group home. This is his home. He is comfortable here. He has been asked if he wants to live in an apartment or elsewhere and we get a “no thanks” or an adamant “NO!” Why shouldn’t I honor his choice and how he feels? I won’t go into my day and how different it is with him. Many times, I have to miss out on things because I have to be here, but that is my choice. No one has to understand it, most don’t, but I don’t feel they should question it or look at me like it is a wrong choice.
I am most days exhausted with everything I have to do, deal with. Many days I wish I was still working and had that distraction, and of course the paycheck. Right now I don’t. I shouldn’t have to be made to feel less than you because I stay home, because according to most people, I am not ‘working’. I can guarantee, I am not sitting in a chair watching soap operas, eating bon bons!
What do I do? I live my life the best I know how with the circumstances I was given, with the choices I have made. I try to have the best life I can, the best way I know how. I try to make the lives of others around me better.
Try to remember the next time you want to ask someone “What Do You Do?” to remember it may be hard for them to answer, try to respect their answer, to know, we all have choices and we make the best ones for ourselves. What I do, may not work for you, but it does for me.