Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"What Do You Do?"

Currently Reading:  Finished The Color of Grace and How To Resist Prince Charming by Linda Kage and wow!  TCOG is not your typical YA nerdy girl-meets-popular jock-and-through-trial-and-error-they-live-HEA.  Noooooo....it's about what happens when assumptions are made, putting your trust in the wrong people, and not knowing where to turn or who to believe when a crisis hits.  Wonderful YA story!!  HTRPC was also a wonderful story about what happens when a woman falls for her dad's boss and trying to keep their blossoming romance a secret.  Again, jumping to (wrong) conclusions can land you in trouble!  Both are Recommended Reads.  Well done, Linda:)  Now onto Reality Check by Eric Garrison, who, it turns out, went to HS with me, only he was the class two years behind me.

Until 1991, meeting people who asked me what I did was easy.  College student.  Driver at Crossroads.  DST at ADC.  Server at ACC.  But after marrying and becoming pregnant, 'Stay-At-Home-Mommy' was met with 'Uh...that's nice.  Oh look, someone I need to speak to.'  And they'd act like I had leprosy or something.

In 1993, the answer was easy.  "Full-time babysitter."  This would bring up a discussion on child care, how daycare rates were outrageous, etc.  I tried my hand at being a Tupperware Consultant, and people avoided me like the plague.  Not sure why; it's not like I ever forced them to buy or even take a catalog.  I guess none of my friends were interested?

In 1997, I heard the term 'domestic engineer' for the first time and grabbed it.  This often brought humor, when a mortgage lender didn't understand, and called me, asking if I'd been a DE for seven years, why hadn't I made any $$?

"Because full time mommies don't get paid."  

By 1999, we'd moved to a new community and people had noticed me scribbling in notebooks during various sports practices, and word was getting around I had written a book or two and was trying to get published.  When I accomplished this goal in 2003, people were thrilled for me!  I could now drop the DE title and say 'Published Author'.  When we moved in 2006, it took me a year to really get to know anyone in the community, but when I did, my newfound 'celebrity status' was met with admiration.  Especially when the publishing took off in 2011, and 12 books followed.

I've paid a heavy price the past two years; my weight has shot up, due to sitting on my butt for long periods of time, plus the family has no respect for my online job and constantly puts me down for not cleaning the house like I did seven or eight years ago.  My spouse is also not happy with my weekly karaoke habit and it's now a joke among my friends that I turn into a pumpkin at midnight, though I am 'allowed' to stay out until 1am.

My royalty checks are met with ridicule.  'Oh, boy...we're rolling in it now...'

But griping about what I do isn't the point of this post.

No, my QT post this morning showed another way to answer this age-old question.  A cashier at a grocery store pointed out she's more than 'just a cashier'.  She offers hope to those who look depressed, sad, angry, or even furious, as they come past her.  She listens to their brief tale and offers a ray of sunshine.  She sees it as her mission to offer a kind word to anyone and all who need cheering up.

And it got me thinking:  What is it I do?

-I encourage other writers/potential authors.

-I provide a safe haven for any child/teenager who walks through my door.

-I listen and offer advice when needed.

-I pray for people's needs when I see them on various social networks, and for those I already know.

-When I sing, I'm either entertaining or giving people a good laugh.  And in the church choir, we're praying out loud. 

I am sooo much more than 'just a Domestic Engineer' or even a Published Author.

How about you?  What do YOU do?

Karaoke Update:
-Dark Lady (Nailed it, and posted video)
-Dream Lover (bleh....too low)
-Dreams (okay, but won't sing it again.)
A birthday party was going on, so lots of singers Saturday night.  Next week, I should finally finish the 'D' titles and move on the the 'E's:)


vicki batman said...

I love this post. Yes, you are so much more than a DE. Sometimes, people would ask what did you do today? I'd be exhausted trying to remember everything I'd done. The writing encourager is an important job. Thanks!

Jeanine said...

Great post. I live in NYC and when I say DE to people there is no espect and when I say romance writer there is no respect either. One has to work on Wall Street to get some respect in this town -- LOL!

Melissa Keir said...

I've been the domesticated engineer for years. It was a blessing to know that my children were cared for and learning each day. But often among the working friends I was sitting at home eating bon bons. Now as a teacher, I get talked down to for not having a real job. I get summers off you know. I get snow days off. Sometimes it takes just one person like the cashier to remind you what a wonderful person you are... I hope you remember it! Because you are!

Naomi Bellina said...

Parenting is the most important job in our society. Just ask anyone who was raised without good ones. Cooking, cleaning, shopping, if you paid someone to do all the domestic chores it would cost a fortune!

Fiona McGier said...

Unfortunately the only time being an at-home mother is lauded is when politicians are trying to get women back into the "barefoot and pregnant" mode, so there will be more jobs for men...instead of working to create more good-paying jobs.

I used my English degree to raise 4 intelligent and well-spoken adults, 2 of whom are still in college. But I had to work menial jobs when the husband was home, since most full-time career jobs won't let you work only nights and weekends. So now due to lack of contacts (many of the people I worked with years ago are retired or dead) and recent experience, along with ageism, I'm relegated to being a "bottom-feeder" for the rest of my life. I'm working 2 part-time jobs, and while I enjoy being with the students when I sub, I don't get to teach them much, and the pay works out to little more than minimum wage. My other job is in retail, which I hated before, and hoped to avoid in the future by getting a college degree. Now I'm catering to rude people who leave their cups and other garbage from snacks around the store for me to clean up, or trash the fitting rooms with balled up clothing, or yell at me because we don't have their kids' sizes in uniforms and school starts tomorrow! Sigh.

So I tell people what I do is whatever I can to help pay the bills.

And if I mention I'm a published author, and they ask what I write, I have to be prepared to defend romance as a genre. "No, we don't all write about women who like being beaten", "No, it's not plotless porn", "No, it's not just for the ignorant, since many educated women and men read it", and "No, my family isn't ashamed of me, nor am I." My favorite is, "Then why are you still working? Why aren't you spending your days counting your royalties on the way to the bank?" As if.

jean hart stewart said...

Answering this was easier before I started writing erotica. People accepted I was an author, but not that I write erotica. Lots of raised eyebrows now.

Anonymous said...

I'm the caretaker for my SO with Parkinson's, And, yes, it does narrow down my writing time, but I wouldn't have it any other way. He's W/C bound, so that limits what he can do, but he still tries to help me all he can. Took the cat awhile to adjust to the W/C--now she sleeps in it if he's transferred himself to the lounge chair to watch TV. My writing habits are now a lot more fluid and I've learned to be able to stop when I need to do something else and come back and go on seamlessly. Being a caretaker is not a part-time job, so now writing is. But I've adjusted. Jane