“I can’t believe you gave up your job Ciara. So what exactly do you do all day?”
If I had a pound for every time I have been asked this since I gave up work last year, I’d probably be sitting pretty with a lovely new Mulberry dangling from my arm right now. But alas questions don’t equal coinage and instead I have to fake laugh at the Jeremy Kyle / Loose Women jokes (so original!). I can’t pinpoint exactly why this question irks me so much. Maybe it’s because of the underlying presumption that stay-at-home-mums are a bit work shy and spend their days cackling with other mums in coffee shops while their children slumber peacefully in their buggies (Ha, the thought!). Heck, I’ve even been told to “get off benefits and get a real job” in response to this satirical take on full-time motherhood (Benefits? Where do I sign up?).
Or is it maybe my own insecurities that cause me to mentally eye-roll every time I hear that question. I’ve pretty much worked constantly since I was 15 years old. There has always been a strong work ethic in my family with my own mother having to return to work only a few weeks after I was born and working full-time ever since. For me there were no gap years, no time taken to go travelling and explore the world. Instead I was firmly focused on getting qualified and securing a good job for myself. I was lucky to have a supportive mother and step-father who funded me through uni and a generous bank manager who funded me through law school. Fast forward six years into a legal career and here I was stepping off the ladder, moving out of London and choosing to look after my child full-time. Maybe I haven’t quite got to grips with my new role and the suggestion that those years of study and hard work and the generous contribution from family and Natwest have somewhat been wasted?
Either way, I can’t help but feel that the “what do you do all day” question is just every slightly loaded and judgy and second only to the most irksome comment of all: “oh so you’re a lady of leisure now”!
Am I maybe a bit over-sensitive to this topic or does this question annoy you to?