Sunday, November 01, 2009

raging at me, in my kitchen

On Friday the Sober Husband and I hosted our first children's slumber party (we've had the odd child stay over here and there, but it was our first time being outnumbered in our own home in the wee hours of the night by visiting children). As the guests arrived, I was in the kitchen, assembling a salad which resembled a haunted forest: broccoli trees, little ghosts made of hard-boiled eggs with eyes made of tiny pieces of black olives, trailing bits of spaghetti dyed green with food coloring, etc... I invited a mother dropping off her child to join me in the kitchen for a glass of sparkling wine while I concentrated on putting my little steamed broccoli trees into bases made of potato to get them to stand up in the forest.

We chatted and sipped sparkling wine as I crafted my haunted salad, and it was pleasant, until the visiting mother's mind turned to money. She began by complaining that her family had a great deal of difficulty paying the tuition for our children's private school. Her voice got louder and shakier as she announced that within a few years, they would probably have to change schools as a result. Then she began to rant about families with a stay-at-home mother who get financial aid from our school. Spit flew from her lips as she loudly raved on and on. "How can they think they don't have to work? It drives me crazy, how they can accept that money and not go to a job. The rest of us are working so hard, and it's JUST WRONG."

After what seemed like an eternity of angry, loud ranting, a silence fell over the kitchen. The angry mother picked up her flute of sparkling wine and took a long swig. We both knew this was a personal attack. I am a stay-at-home mother, and our family receives a modest discount on our tuition.

There were a lot of things I could have said -- things like "your family takes several expensive vacations a year, and we rarely leave the city limits" and "believe me, the school imputes an income to both parents regardless of whether they are employed for pay or not" and (my personal favorite) "fuck you", but I stayed silent and concentrated on cutting up tiny slivers of black olives for the eyes in my hard-boiled egg ghosts. The angry mother drained her glass and left.


the Drunken Housewife said...

You're up early, Silliyak!

I am glad that I am not that angry at anyone and that I don't take anyone else's lifestyle as a personal attack upon me.

hughman said...

"If you wonder what god thinks of money, look at who he gave it to."

Too bad she can't afford manners.

Jane Lebak said...

The charitable part of me wants to wonder if she'd totally forgotten that you're a SAHM.

The uncharitable part of me wishes you'd invited her to quit her job and apply for financial aid, then keep the family afloat on one income. Because no matter how much of a tuition break you're getting, it can't possibly equal the salary you could be pulling down working outside the home.

Claire M. Johnson said...

Infuriating waste of decent booze. Insults you in your own home, but certainly doesn't have any qualms about pounding back your liquor.

2amsomewhere said...

(shaking head in sheer amazement at the boorishness of the visitor)

I think you made a wise move. People so lost in their own sanctimoniousness are seldom receptive to gentle persuasion, let alone full frontal refutation.


jane said...

that's the most cheek i've heard about ANYBODY exhibiting in quite some time. FFS, aren't people great? yikes.

Missy said...

Ouch. She imagines that she would somehow get a break in a price if she didn't work, but the truth is, she'd have higher prices. The discounted prices allow the school to accept more students which lowers the price for all.

Having been on both sides of the Mommy Wars, it makes me so sad that nastiness like this exists. She completely forgets --or chooses to ignore--that SAHM fill in all the volunteer hours and "extra" stuff for school and after school activities.

People really do forget who they are talking to; last weekend, one of my good friends from the ballet company began talking to the other moms about how well their daughters were dancing together and how much they had all learned and how they had really kicked it up a notch.

Unfortunately, the ballet director has been so focused on those girls, he's completely dismissed--in a very public way--the lower level corps girls.

It was the Charlie Brown equivalent of standing around and comparing treats at Halloween and as the Charlie Brown kid, I was lookign at a rock.

It hurts like hell, frankly, to be in that position.

What can you say? In the end, nothing.

Missy said...

The fact that you both knew this was a personal attack is really, unforgivable. Okay, in the theological sense, it's not, but in the personal relationship sense, it's not.

It was horrifyingly bad behavior on her part to say such things.

As you said, DH< it's a thing to be glad about that you don't take others' lifestyles as a personal attack.

K said...

It probably didn't start as a personal rant, but when she realised it was, didn't apologise because it was how she felt.

Good for you for not responding to her rude comments.

Hopefully one day she'll realise that there's positives and negatives to everything, but you can't always see them from both sides.

And hopefully she grows some grace and manners, cause it sounds like she's sorely lacking in both.

Dread Pirate Davi said...

Last time I checked, you HAVE a job. A full-time job. A 24/7 job. Raising two bright and sassy girls, which I'm absolutely sure takes more out of your than your old job as a litigator did.

So tell that mommy to fuck off and reimburse you for the wine.

hughman said...

damn! i hope she doesn't read this blog! she will never show her face at school again.

NonymousGoatsePants said...

You had a knife in your hand. It would have been much simpler to just stab her. Ok, maybe in the leg so she doesn't die.

But she deserved a good stabbing.

I've always wanted to be a SAHM, but I'm afraid of the operation. That and my job is pretty fun.

Actually, now that I think about it, I don't want to be a SAHM so much as a kept man. So if any rich wimmenz are reading this and need a man to keep in the style he has been accustomed to, just let me know.

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pie_ho said...

I hope she DOES read this blog, realizes what she did (without knowing her, I choose to believe that she is so wowed by your highly educated and accomplished demeanor that that she assumed you couldn't possibly be a SAHM or a financial aid recipient), realizes that her attitude toward SAHMs and financial aid recipients is misguided and toxic, and apologizes profusely in word and deed. But since you said you knew it to be a personal attack, I'm just going to have to hope that her karma rewards her appropriately!

the Drunken Housewife said...

She knows full well that I'm a stay-at-home mother. How do I know that? Because she and her husband have on many occasions over the past several years asked me to help them out when there's no school on a weird day, leaving them with a childcare issue.

the Drunken Housewife said...

p.s. Also, I should know better than to share financial information with people (other than anyone who reads my blog, ha), but a year or two ago she went into details about getting financial aid, and I, in one of those to-make-the-other-person-feel-better moments, said that we got a little bit of financial aid as well. Stupid!

Jane Lebak said...

Wow, this person is quite the gem of humanity, isn't she?

If she's already applying for financial aid, then why isn't she able to afford it? Oh, yeah, those expensive vacations and so on and so forth, which you're too polite to point out to her.

But it would have been just lovely if you'd ended the silence with her by asking how she enjoyed her last trip to Cancun (or wherever it is she goes.)

It's a shame you're going to be busy the next time she needs you to do something for her during working hours.

pie_ho said...

Is she usually awful to you, or was this behavior out of character?

the Drunken Housewife said...

I should say, in the interest of fairness, that the expensive vacations I was referring to were not international so far as I know. They go to Disneyland (world? I never keep those straight) a couple of times a year and sometimes to places like New York, I think. Not that it is any of my business, but I hear about these trips (the mother in particular has talked to me about Disney; she's one of those grown-ups who is insane for it and so they go often).

The Sober Husband and I are hoping to save up to take an international vacation by ourselves, to somewhere like Barcelona or Cuba. I once shared that with this other mother, who recoiled and said in a nasty voice, "Well, I must just be unusual, because I wouldn't dream of going anywhere without my daughter." I found that pretty rude and said that after ten years of going nowhere without the children, I was ready for a second honeymoon and that also I can't afford to take an international vacation with the children. In any event, the much-wanted second honeymoon is nowhere in the picture due to financial reasons.

NonymousGoatsePants said...

I probably wouldn't vacation without my houseape, either. My wife and I both work, and I already feel guilty about the time he's apart from us. It doesn't seem to bother him too much, though.

But I can understand others' need or desire to get away from the kid for a week or so. Besides, I'm sure there's stuff I do that others consider eccentric or weird (obscene?). So I usually just agree that "that sounds like fun!" when those type of subjects come up.

I still say, stab her.

the Drunken Housewife said...

I wouldn't routinely vacation without my children, but I just want to do it ONCE. I think it would be a very good thing for my marriage. I don't work, and I haven't spent more than a weekend away from the little mutants since they were born (and when I was away for a weekend, which happened twice, the husband was with them).