'What do you do?' is such an awful question, almost, almost, as bad as asking a stay-at-home parent 'what do you do all day?'. I work outside the home and I am a stay-at-home parent. I do the first one part time and get paid pretty well, all things considered. I do the second full-time for no pay at all. I am a stay-at-home parent five days a week, on public holidays and weekends, on-call 24 hours a day, with no sick leave or lunch breaks, no superannuation, no fall-back if something happens.
Mums need a union. Badly.
The sick leave thing has been difficult lately.** When the doctor asks if I need a medical certificate to cover my absence from work, more often than not the answer is 'no', because who would I hand it to? 'Sorry Dear Boy, you're on your own today'. I drag myself out of bed when Dear Boy wakes and spend a lot of time performing 'happy, engaged mum' when what I really want to do is lay in bed with a lemon and honey tea and a big box of tissues and watch all three seasons of Veronica Mars. Or a full Sorkin marathon from Sportsnight to The West Wing to Studio Sixty to Newsroom with a scattering of The American President, A Few Good Men, Charlie Wilson's War and The Social Network. I provide him with food, I clean it up when he drops it onto the floor, I change him, I play, I offer him crayons and paper and wipe down the walls and floor when he's done, I take him out into the garden, I read to him, I lay on the bed in his room until he falls asleep and then I go and do the other things I need to get done for the job that pays rather than curling up and sleeping and recuperating.
Because who else is there? Lovely Husband has the same lurgy I do, although (as always) worse. It's assumed I'm the one who sucks it up. I think this happens in many more homes than just mine. It's generally just assumed that mums suck it up no matter what's at stake. It's assumed that mums just get the job done.
Because, yeah, I guess that what's we do.
Does that answer the question without mentioning my job? What do you do?
** Yeah, sorry, I'm bitching about being sick again. I'll stop as soon as the antibiotics kick in. Hopefully that's soon because I'm registered to do the Mothers Day Classic 'fun' run next weekend.