If you haven’t heard it already, it’s coming. Like red wine, it comes in different varietals, but will surely give you a headache. It happens on innocent afternoon strolls and in the safety of the pediatrician’s waiting room. The words may change but the insinuation is always the same.
‘Awww … is Mommy sick today?’
‘Awww … is Mommy working today? What a good Daddy.’
‘Awww, that’s so cute … giving Mommy a day off, huh? I bet she needs it.’
Now, not to sound sexist here, but I’ve never gotten one of these inquiries from a man. I generally attribute this to a kind of genderal lack of interest in the subject, but the more likely culprit is the Mommy Ego. We first encountered this Mommy Ego in the NIC unit, where our son spent his first four weeks of life surrounded by a multitude of nurses. Ninety percent were moms, and 100 percent of them had the best proper care techniques, and zero percent could understand why their co-workers would do things any other way. But we shall save that for a separate post.
The point is, you can’t control the questions and assumptive comments that will come your way. You can only choose how you react. I recommend you mix and match a bit, just to keep things lively. Let’s work with question number three above, and consider your response options:
The Easy Way: ‘Yep, she sure does. Bye bye, now.’
The Harsh Truth: ‘Actually, my wife is working, so I’d hardly call that a day off. And if anyone needs a break, it’s me. Thank you for your out-dated, uninformed stereotyping, though.’
The Soft Truth. ‘Well, no, my wife is working, and I’m actually the primary caregiver of the family.’
The Deaf Guy. ‘….’
The Non-Sequitur. ‘Yes, and I heard that Holland had a record tulip harvest this year. What a co-ink-y-dink.’
The Instant Guilt Complex. ‘Actually, my wife has passed on. It’s just me and little guy now.’
The Drew Peterson. ‘Yeah, she’s got quite a few days off, heh heh. But they got nothing on me.'