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Anyone Not Have Kids And Not Work Too?
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If you've read some of my posts you know I was very ill prior to going gluten free. I was at the point where I couldn't work, I had to drop out of (or take a leave of absence) grad school and at one point my doctor revoked my driving privileges. I have gotten so much freedom back since changing my diet in January. I'm working up to going back to school full time. In the mean time, I'm finding it awkward to meet new people and try to explain my current place in life. The first questions when meeting people are always: "Do you work or what do you do for a living?" and "Do you have kids?" My answer to both those questions is no. I don't want to spill my medical history when I first meet people, but I also sometimes feel like people make judgments about me for not working and not having kids. We have only been living in this area for about a year, so at first I would just say we moved for my husband's job (which is true) and I haven't found anything yet (semi-true, since I'm not exactly looking for work). The semi-true statement would sometimes bring on more questions though, like "well what do you want to do? or what type of job are you looking for?" And that presents more of a problem because I would have to say, well I was in grad school for ____ before we moved, so I want to finish school first. So then they would ask what I'm doing about grad school and I would be forced to either A. admit that even though it is close enough for me to commute I haven't been physically able to drive that far (until recently) or B. just say "I'm putting it on hold right now." without further explanation. Awkward silence always follows either response. This whole line of questioning just made me not want to meet new people for quite a while. But now I'm stronger and healthier and closer to being able to make that commute for grad school. But I'm still in a transitional stage. I'm just wondering if anyone else is in my place. How should I answer questions when meeting people? Sometimes I just want to scream: "My identity as a human is not in a JOB!" But it really is like that in our culture, people put you in a box based on your profession. If I had kids (which I really want and have not been able to have) some people might still judge me for staying home, but most would just accept that my current "job" was to be a SAHM. But to just be a SAHW seems to be unacceptable in our culture. Ugh. Okay, this was longer then I intended and got into a bit of a rant, but if anyone has anything constructive it would be appreciated.

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Yes, there is that pressure that you have to "do" something to "be" someone. I would merely say that I had to drop out of grad school due to health problems, and that as soon as I can get things under control I will be able to make career decisions again. And if they question you further, just tell them to MTOB in a nice way, like "I would prefer not to discuss that."

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In the mean time, I'm finding it awkward to meet new people and try to explain my current place in life. The first questions when meeting people are always: "Do you work or what do you do for a living?" and "Do you have kids?"

Before I married my second husband at age 46 (10 years before I was diagnosed with celiac disease and 6 more food allergies), I was a freelance watercolor artist. After we married, I really didn't need to earn an income, because I had investments from inheritance and my husband earned enough for the 2 of us. (I never had children, due to undiagnosed celiac disease.) After about 5 years, when I had many undiagnosed or misdiagnosed health problems (all related to celiac disease), I decided to retire from teaching painting, doing 10 annual arts and crafts fairs, 'feeding' galleries with new paintings and competing in Juried shows, while trying to adjust to a new marriage, sell 2 homes, landscape 2 new properties, etc. I told my new husband I couldn't be an artist and be married at the same time. I didn't feel well, but I wanted to make the marriage work. So I became a 'SAHW' (thanks for the acronym!). Over the past 11 years I've done volunteer work (led groups at my church, a celiac support group and organized annual celiac disease awareness walks and food fairs) and taught myself to sew garments, while raising and freezing fruits and vegies for us, doing household chores and learning how to feed myself and husband with 11 different food allergies.

When people ask me those silly questions, I tell them either (1) I'm retired (at age 63) or (2) I mooch off my husband or (3) raise produce and do alterations. All those statements are true. If they want more info, they can ask.

SUE

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Before I married my second husband at age 46 (10 years before I was diagnosed with celiac disease and 6 more food allergies), I was a freelance watercolor artist. After we married, I really didn't need to earn an income, because I had investments from inheritance and my husband earned enough for the 2 of us. (I never had children, due to undiagnosed celiac disease.) After about 5 years, when I had many undiagnosed or misdiagnosed health problems (all related to celiac disease), I decided to retire from teaching painting, doing 10 annual arts and crafts fairs, 'feeding' galleries with new paintings and competing in Juried shows, while trying to adjust to a new marriage, sell 2 homes, landscape 2 new properties, etc. I told my new husband I couldn't be an artist and be married at the same time. I didn't feel well, but I wanted to make the marriage work. So I became a 'SAHW' (thanks for the acronym!). Over the past 11 years I've done volunteer work (led groups at my church, a celiac support group and organized annual celiac disease awareness walks and food fairs) and taught myself to sew garments, while raising and freezing fruits and vegies for us, doing household chores and learning how to feed myself and husband with 11 different food allergies.

When people ask me those silly questions, I tell them either (1) I'm retired (at age 63) or (2) I mooch off my husband or (3) raise produce and do alterations. All those statements are true. If they want more info, they can ask.

SUE

Thanks for sharing Sue! I do many of the above you mentioned. I garden and cook almost everything from scratch, I sew small items (last thing I made was shower curtain), and keep my house clean. I also paint, or well I used to. I think I'm going to get back into it for therapy and maybe I can just say I'm a freelance artist (love that term, BTW). My undergraduate degree is in psychology and I was working on a high level counseling degree, but I minored in fine arts. I can't use the "retired" word yet because, well I'm only 30 years old. :P But I love the line about mooching off my husband. :lol: We have been so blessed to be able to live off his income these last few years. It took a while for him to work up to the position he has now, but he has a really good job with benefits. I still have to be frugal, but I love doing frugal things. I even made a post here about bargain hunting! Thanks for helping me focus on all the good things I can do. The first thing I want to start doing now that I 'm back to relatively good health is start volunteering in my church nursery again, but I feel like I'm still not 100% dependable (I still get accidental glutening too often) and we have just found a church we like with in the last few months of searching. So it's all baby steps to getting able to pitch in and feel useful again (to someone other than my husband). :)

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I see nothing wrong with being either a SAHW or SAHM or both. I would love to be able to work part time at least and be home more. I am the happiest when I am spending time with my husband and kids, baking, canning, gardening, sewing, and doing other stuff. I do enjoy my profession and would like to still keep doing that but just cut back. A girl can dream. My in laws are self employed. When people ask what they do for a living I just tell them that. They have done many different things over the years and saved and invested. Now they go around to yard sales etc scouting for things to buy to sell on ebay. They do just fine for themselves. I would love to have that job! ;)

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I was basically a full time military wife for a few months before I got pregnant and I just told people that I was a full time military wife for the time being. I guess that is acceptable as a job because despite having a degree to teach, no one bothered me about it.

Just tell everyone you are on a leave of absence or hiatus or a break to "find your path" if it really bothers you. I say enjoy getting healthier (and getting sleep...oh how I miss sleep) and forget everyone else : :D

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I was basically a full time military wife for a few months before I got pregnant and I just told people that I was a full time military wife for the time being. I guess that is acceptable as a job because despite having a degree to teach, no one bothered me about it.

Just tell everyone you are on a leave of absence or hiatus or a break to "find your path" if it really bothers you. I say enjoy getting healthier (and getting sleep...oh how I miss sleep) and forget everyone else : :D

Thanks for the reply! Boy I wish I were getting sleep! I'm still suffering from some insomnia. I'm trying to give myself a curfew and I'm able to get in bed by midnight most nights, but I wake up for at least one bathroom break (even with limited liquids around bed time) and my internal clock wakes me up at 6:30 AM almost every day. So on my good days I get around 6 hours, but not consecutive. It is nice to be able to take a nap during the day if I need one though. :)

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mmm nap. Just focus on getting better and then rest of them can go to He double hockeysticks.

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You say "we just relocated here and I'm taking this opportunity to go back to school." Exactly why is no one's business. If they press you can say you have a partially complete degree that you had to put aside for a variety of reasons and you're excited for the chance to finish it.

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You can definitely spin it towards the "i was getting us settled into a new place" and now towards the "i'm looking into returning to my interrupted graduate studies, but haven't determined the best way to do so" route that can then be followed up by the discussion of how challenging it can be to move somewhere new OR what you were /are going to study. if someone is struck dumb, you can always ask about something random to do with settling in, like best place to buy fabric or favorite bookstore, etc. or their opinion on the universities/colleges near by.

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Say "I'm a well kept woman." :lol::lol:

There is no shame in being a housewife, stay home wife, whatever you want to call it. But I do know people judge which is just so lame. Why in the world does anybody care? What if you were a stay home wife by choice because you enjoyed the domestic life?

I'm a SAHM and due to my illness I had to hire a woman to help me with cleaning and taking care of the children for a few mornings per week. I was so sick the house was a total disaster and I couldn't get shopping done because taking my toddler and young son was just too exhausting. Shopping by itself exhausted me and then when I got home I hadn't enough "spoons" left to unload what I bought.

Well, this mom in my homeschool group got jealous of me and started talking trash behind my back. "Can you believe she has a nanny and maid that helps her? How spoiled is that?" etc etc. She was even emailing other people to do things and excluding me and then saying stuff by email about me. I had NO clue there was a problem with her. We never had any negative experiences. I really knew her more as an acquaintance who came to my park day once a week. My good friend told me so I would know to steer clear of her.

I was so mad. It is at GREAT financial sacrifice to us because insurance doesn't pay for it. In addition to being a SAHM and homeschooling my son, I run a business from my home and I'm an author. I'm sure she would LOVE to be so sick she could barely function so she could hire a helper too.

In the larger scheme of things, she isn't a blip on my radar. I could care less what she thinks. If someone is judging you for what you do then they aren't worthy of your friendship.

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I've been a SAHM for the last 18 years. While I agree with those who say that you have nothing to be ashamed of when people ask, and owe no explanation for your 'life of luxury', I would add another perspective as well. Some people simply don't know how to talk if they're not talking about work and children (unless maybe about bashing their spouse). When you answer 'no' to both questions (about work and children), they simply have no idea what to talk about next.

Perhaps it would smooth the conversation a bit if you are prepared ahead of time with some topics you can go to in those times when it seems the silence has become a bit heavy. I would select a few hot topics of the day or local issues, which aside from easing the conversation will also send the message that you don't live in a cave and are aware and involved in the world around you, on your own terms.

Sometimes when we make unconventional choices for ourselves we need to also take the lead in making others feel at ease around us. Confidence is attractive, and although your choices may not have been the ones you would have chosen had you not been sick, making peace with them and 'owning' them will go a long way toward helping others accept and be comfortable with you too. I say this as a northerner in a southern state, a homeschool mom who tends toward unschooling (suffice it to say this makes me a minority even with other homeschoolers), a mom with more than the average number of children... I've made the choices that worked for me and my family and refuse to allow others to make me ashamed of them. At the same time I don't want to live in isolation, so I have to also treat their choices with the respect I'd like to receive. I try to focus on whatever points we have in common and minimize the points of difference. Does that make sense?

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Say "I'm a well kept woman." :lol::lol:

There is no shame in being a housewife, stay home wife, whatever you want to call it. But I do know people judge which is just so lame. Why in the world does anybody care? What if you were a stay home wife by choice because you enjoyed the domestic life?

I'm a SAHM and due to my illness I had to hire a woman to help me with cleaning and taking care of the children for a few mornings per week. I was so sick the house was a total disaster and I couldn't get shopping done because taking my toddler and young son was just too exhausting. Shopping by itself exhausted me and then when I got home I hadn't enough "spoons" left to unload what I bought.

Well, this mom in my homeschool group got jealous of me and started talking trash behind my back. "Can you believe she has a nanny and maid that helps her? How spoiled is that?" etc etc. She was even emailing other people to do things and excluding me and then saying stuff by email about me. I had NO clue there was a problem with her. We never had any negative experiences. I really knew her more as an acquaintance who came to my park day once a week. My good friend told me so I would know to steer clear of her.

I was so mad. It is at GREAT financial sacrifice to us because insurance doesn't pay for it. In addition to being a SAHM and homeschooling my son, I run a business from my home and I'm an author. I'm sure she would LOVE to be so sick she could barely function so she could hire a helper too.

In the larger scheme of things, she isn't a blip on my radar. I could care less what she thinks. If someone is judging you for what you do then they aren't worthy of your friendship.

Ooh, this is exactly what I'm talking about. As far as I know, no one has gone around trash talking me, but I have gotten a few comments to my face before like, "wow that must be a luxury" Or "Must be nice to be able to be lazy". If I had had a child before getting sick I would have had to hire someone to help me too when I was really bad. I couldn't get out of bed or take care of myself back then. Right before the doctor said I couldn't drive anymore I would go to the store and be too tired to unload the groceries. I ended up just trying to get the cold stuff out and leaving the rest until my husband came home from work. It's a terrible feeling being that weak. But that was the state of my health. And I didn't have a diagnosis back then either. We just kept going for tests and I just kept getting sicker. Going off gluten, soy and most dairy has fixed so much it's a miracle. But I feel like people don't even understand how debilitating this illness can be (if they have ever heard of it at all). I feel like if I told them I had cancer or something "more serious" then they would understand why I'm not working. But maybe not. Maybe there will always be jerks who have never been really ill a day in their life, like the lady that trash talked you. Thanks for sharing you experiences.

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I LOVE LOVE LOVE the "well kept woman" bit, I am going to use that!! Although...I am a fulltime student, mother and military wife...dang I wish I had had that a few years ago! That is just the BEST response!!

:P

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Well, this mom in my homeschool group got jealous of me and started talking trash behind my back. "Can you believe she has a nanny and maid that helps her? How spoiled is that?" etc etc.

You do have that tiara on your head.

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Where I live, many women stay home even with no kids. It just proves you are financially successful in some fashion. Having a cleaning lady and baby sitting is normal. Its the ones who have the full time nanny or day care so they can go to the gym, hair, nails, shop, etc and then say they are a stay at home mom that bug people.

I just say I do nothing. Some people laugh and some look confused.

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I've been a SAHM for 24 years, and people do seem to think I ought to go back to work now that my youngest is a teen. I may just use the "I mooch off my husband" line, since that's what people seem to think anyway. "Well-kept woman" sounds less defensive, though, and cuter, so I don't know... Thanks, you've both given me some options for the awkward questions.

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I just say I do nothing. Some people laugh and some look confused.

I would be absolutely appalled to meet a woman who does nothing. Most I know do gardens, art, volunteer, house remodel/maintainance, etc...

Women never do nothing....

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This is a subject I feel rather strongly about. I think it's none of anyone's business as to the reason for what any of us choose to do with our lives at any point.

I was employed full time for 8 years before deciding to stay home and raise my two sons. It was a conscious decision, one that my husband and I agreed on.

When the youngest was in high school, I went back to work first full time, and then part-time, which suited my family and I perfectly. It was during this time that I was forced to quit my job due to my declining health as regards the as-yet undiagnosed Celiac.

Since then, we have moved 4 times and are in the middle of another relocation. Right now, I would say my job is packing, unpacking, and chief relocation logistical person. :P

I just don't see any shame in a woman (or a man for that matter) running the home if that's what works for the people in question. Just because a person is not employed outside the home does not mean that they don't contribute--I do many things other than cooking and cleaning....for instance volunteering for several different organizations...but also taking care of any number of things my husband just doesn't have the time for because again he is working in another city apart from where I am. Back when my kids were in elementary school, my husband worked for 10 months one year in a different state and was only able to come home every other weekend. It was important for us to have me there for the boys.

That's my situation, everyone has their own and their own reasons for the way they live--there are days I'd love to still be out there in the work force and maybe I still will when the time is right but one thing I would resent is having someone snark about it when I would never think of criticizing another woman's choice.

I just don't think it's necessary to spin it any differently--maybe when I was younger I did but as I get older I care less and less what other people think. To answer the OP's question, I simply say I'm a homemaker.

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I was asked by a friend of my dads what I do for a living once and I told him not much. My dad got so mad at me because he thought I was being rude. Maybe I was, but I didn't really want to discuss it at the time (and yes I was full time employed). We are much more than our profession. I agree even if someone does not work outside of the home, women are usually doing something and not sitting idle. So if you stay at home then in my opinion you do have a "job".

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GlutenFreeManna,

I feel the same way as you. I got really sick in January. It was like my whole body just broke down at that point. I pretty much cut out a consulting gig I was doing, but I did manage a class through March. After that, even going to class 3 times a week and studying was impossible. I couldn't think, and I was in a lot of pain.

I've been out of work and out of classes since then. It feels bad. I worry about the future, especially since I was in the middle of a career change and my work life was unstable anyway. The only way I've survived is because my husband has a good job, but I don't want to be dependent on him forever.

I don't have any solutions (unfortunately). It's hard especially since celiac is not considered a real medical emergency by doctors. (I'm not even diagnosed celiac, just gluten intolerance.) From my doctor's reaction, I thought recovery would be a few weeks. I wouldn't want a fatal disease, but it is easier to explain something like cancer to people.

Glad you posted.

lucia

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I've been a SAHM for the last 18 years. While I agree with those who say that you have nothing to be ashamed of when people ask, and owe no explanation for your 'life of luxury', I would add another perspective as well. Some people simply don't know how to talk if they're not talking about work and children (unless maybe about bashing their spouse). When you answer 'no' to both questions (about work and children), they simply have no idea what to talk about next.

Perhaps it would smooth the conversation a bit if you are prepared ahead of time with some topics you can go to in those times when it seems the silence has become a bit heavy. I would select a few hot topics of the day or local issues, which aside from easing the conversation will also send the message that you don't live in a cave and are aware and involved in the world around you, on your own terms.

Sometimes when we make unconventional choices for ourselves we need to also take the lead in making others feel at ease around us. Confidence is attractive, and although your choices may not have been the ones you would have chosen had you not been sick, making peace with them and 'owning' them will go a long way toward helping others accept and be comfortable with you too. I say this as a northerner in a southern state, a homeschool mom who tends toward unschooling (suffice it to say this makes me a minority even with other homeschoolers), a mom with more than the average number of children... I've made the choices that worked for me and my family and refuse to allow others to make me ashamed of them. At the same time I don't want to live in isolation, so I have to also treat their choices with the respect I'd like to receive. I try to focus on whatever points we have in common and minimize the points of difference. Does that make sense?

I like your advice. It's very inspirational. Thank-you. :)

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Here's why I need to stay home: still waiting for a furniture delivery.... Do that with a job! :)

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Here's why I need to stay home: still waiting for a furniture delivery.... Do that with a job! :)

True dat, Karen!

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:lol: I love you all! Thank you. I left a little plus mark on each post to let you know I read it and appreciate it.

So let me get this straight..next time I'm asked I will reply: "Well I'm a kept woman mooching off my husband who spoils me while we live in luxury, I do nothing at all, really, I'm a homemaker who freelances in a little bit of everything." And then perhaps I can add that I need to get home to wait for the furniture to show up. :lol::P

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