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what do you do?

October 11, 2011

Aside from being asked “Are you going to have more kids?” do you know what the most irritating question from a stranger is? Especially from a single, childless male?

“What do you do?”

I don’t know Mr. Single and Childless…what do I do? Well let’s see:

  1. I clean and clean and clean up after my husband and child. This is a full-time job, in and of itself.
  2. I spend time doing more unpaid and unrewarding work like driving my kid to school and cooking semi-edible meals.
  3. I do freelance work cutting out hundreds of 1st grade spelling test flags.
  4. I also have an actual paying job where I get to do fun things like make Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations.
  5. In my spare time I hang out at the park where I threaten kids with their lives if they don’t stop throwing sand in my kid’s eyes.
  6. I have a fourth unpaid job where I blog about people who ask me stupid questions.

In my typical neurotic fashion I’m probably just looking into this one a bit too much. I probably imagined the emphasis you put on the word “do” Mr. S & C. But the truth is that I didn’t appreciate your condescending tone. Not one bit.

You'd think my husband would lend a hand with the flags but instead he took this unflattering photo of me, kicked back on the sofa, and then turned on the TV.

And while I realize that I need not justify my days to you I think it’s safe to say that I’m a pretty busy person. Possibly busier than you, in fact.

Spend a day in my shoes Mr. S & C and you’ll see what I do. I dare you.

121 Comments leave one →
  1. October 11, 2011 1:44 am

    hmmm Oh ho well he took a picture and now you could use it .. that is good na 🙂 ooops he he he

    I guess we all look at our own life being busy and all and fail to understand that the other too can be busy and working hard …
    human nature i guess

    • October 11, 2011 2:49 pm

      Interesting view Bikram…I guess it is human nature.

  2. October 11, 2011 2:44 am

    Haha Ali is hilarious, although I probably wouldn’t say that if my future husband did that! Mr S & C is a classic case of ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’! On weekends/days I’m not at work, I can be doing absolutely nothing all day yet still wonder where my day went- life is hectic regardless, and throw in a kid and a husband and I take my hats of to any stay at home mom! That being said, I would love to spend a day in your shoes, only because I have no doubt that you own some pretty hawt pairs of shoes 🙂

    • October 11, 2011 2:50 pm

      My shoe collection is much to be desired but if you are interested and have a small foot, Maya has quite a selection!

  3. October 11, 2011 3:12 am

    You do a lot more than any other full time wife. I like the way you put down your thoughts… and your sarcasm cracks me up.. I laughed like mad at the 6th point!
    Stupid people and their questions! I wonder what’s their business with others family planning.

    I am joining you on FB.. Stay connected. Here’s the link to mine ‘’

    • October 11, 2011 2:51 pm

      I don’t think I do a lot more than any other wife/mom but I do think I do a lot more than Mr. S & C. 🙂

  4. October 11, 2011 4:06 am

    haha, i’d say your job is highly underpaid and hard work! but you are good at it. At least I think so! Mr. s and Mr. C can take a hike.

  5. October 11, 2011 4:15 am

    They can suck it. I cannot imagine doing half of what you do. Mostly because patience is a virtue I do not possess.

    • October 11, 2011 2:52 pm

      If you get married/have kids you’ll do it and more because you have to. Because there’s nobody else to pick up the slack. Trust me…I’ve tried to find someone!

  6. October 11, 2011 4:21 am

    Mr.S&C will never ask this question once (or if ever that happens) he gets married, even then I just hate, prying questions like these.

    • October 11, 2011 2:52 pm

      Yeah because once he gets married/has kids he’ll start realizing firsthand just how busy his wife is! Or maybe he’ll be like Ali and he’ll never think about it?

  7. October 11, 2011 4:26 am

    I hate those types of questions. Since I stopped working in December it’s been a little weird to answer that sort of question. Am I retired? Sort of. Am I bored? Lordy, Lordy No!! I have started BCDC which is wonderful to me. Since I always wanted to write, here I am, finally doing it every day. Is it the great American novel? No. Could it be…maybe! You’ve got me thinking now, Ameena. I may have to “borrow” this topic. I’ll give you credit for getting me thinking about it, I promise! 😉

    • October 11, 2011 2:53 pm

      I love blogging and think it could lead to something great one day! Why not, right?

  8. October 11, 2011 4:41 am

    I love you, Ameena! People are so clueless sometimes. You keep doing you! 😉

  9. October 11, 2011 5:32 am

    Love it! I hate the “But, don’t you want children?” question myself. And, I just saw a photo of you and Maya over at Burp and!

    • October 11, 2011 2:54 pm

      Yup – met Sophia at a blogger meetup this past weekend! It’s a small world.

  10. October 11, 2011 6:19 am

    I remember shortly after I quit working, I met some colleages for drinks and one woman, who I always hated, said to me, “so, you’re just a housewife now?”. Totally killed me and brought up every doubt I had about my choice. However, like you, I clean, I cook, I do all the investing and bill paying, I take care of everything the kids are doing, run my special needs guy to therapies and fight with insurance and the school on his behalf, do the taxes, all of that enabling my husband to have the career he has. Definitely not bon bons and soaps.

    • October 11, 2011 2:54 pm

      The “just” thing would have really set me off…what did you say to her?

      • October 11, 2011 3:13 pm

        Well, she still lived at home with her parents so I just said, “so, still living with mom and dad”. Kind of snarky of me but that “just” and the word “housewife” irritated the crap out of me.

  11. October 11, 2011 6:27 am

    I hate how people try to define others by what they do for a living. A career is great but it should be supplemental to life not the sole basis on which your world revolves around. I guess it’s hard for some to see beyond their desk job and realise there’s this thing called life going on around them!

    That guy wouldn’t stand a chance in your shoes in your shoes Ameena 😉

    • October 11, 2011 2:55 pm

      You put it very well Nada…somehow we think that one’s career defines them, even though it should be their personalitiy that defines them…

  12. October 11, 2011 6:35 am

    I love your answers. Then next time maybe just ignore people like him completely. The nerves of some people! So nosy.. and not to mention extremely rude! Maybe that’s why he’s still s and c …

    • October 11, 2011 2:56 pm

      I muts learn the art of ignoring…it’s just not something I’m very good at!

  13. October 11, 2011 7:10 am

    It always fascinates me how this emphasis on what ones DOES is such an American thing. People in other countries don’t seem to care – and yet we are so fixated on it and it’s the go-to cocktail party convo starter. Your answers are perfect!

    • October 11, 2011 2:56 pm

      You are absolutely right Emily! We are fixated for some strange reason…habit maybe?

  14. October 11, 2011 7:12 am

    And to think that pro-sport players get paid millions….how bout we pay the Mom’s??? Who’s with me on that one?

  15. October 11, 2011 7:19 am

    Ameena when people have that tone I think it’s because of their own insecurities. You should feel confident in what you do and not feel bad about your life and choices one bit. I also really don’t like when I tell people I don’t work and they say how lucky I am.

    It’s not luck. My husband and I made a choice and there are consequences like…….. less money. But it is important to us and we sacrifice things others would not to make it work.

    • October 11, 2011 5:52 pm

      One of my many problems is that I am not confident enough to let these things roll off me. I have lots to work on.

  16. October 11, 2011 7:40 am

    Ameena, that is definitely not an unflattering photo; quite a nice candid in fact and really illuminates how gorgeous your hair is!
    But I am also not a fan of the stupid inquisitive questions- with me the most irritating one was, “What are you going to do now?” post-graduation- now I can answer it, but before I simply did not know and did not want to elevate my stress levels by discussing.

    • October 11, 2011 5:53 pm

      You are so sweet Sara, thank you for the compliment!

  17. October 11, 2011 7:52 am

    u have an amazing blog ameena!!!!i fell in love with the blog…i cant see the GFC to follow u.??

    • October 11, 2011 5:53 pm

      Thank you for the kind words Pavani. I am ignorant….what is a GFC?

  18. October 11, 2011 7:56 am

    I often wonder what I did before I had kids, because now, there is ALWAYS something to be done. I’m not a stay at home mom, but the stay at home moms I know don’t lack for things to do, either. They’re just doing a better job than I am at many things like cooking, baking and cleaning, and they typically volunteer more than I’m able to.

  19. October 11, 2011 7:57 am

    you do so much! i love hearing about it all.

  20. October 11, 2011 8:51 am

    I used to cringe when asked that what do you do question? I felt so terrible about not having a better paying job and I let it define me and make me feel awful. Well, I have a different position now and am feeling better regarding work and myself so it doesn’t make my stomach drop anymore but I still don’t like it so much. You DO a lot!!!!

    • October 11, 2011 5:56 pm

      I know I need to stop being so defensive…in the moment this is hard.

  21. October 11, 2011 9:01 am

    I only have a dog, a blog, and a full-time job – I have no idea how you / moms do it! Mr. S&C needs to recognize 🙂

  22. October 11, 2011 9:18 am

    Can I work for you? I’m good at Excel and PowerPoint…and I could handle children if I had to. You KNOW you want an assistant. 😛

  23. October 11, 2011 9:21 am

    Right. Like my co-workers want to know what I do with the extra 2 hours in my day that are no longer consumed by work (plus the extra 30 minutes of traffic I am saved from).


    Run Errands

    Sitting on the couch simply does not make the list. Ever.

    • October 12, 2011 6:49 am

      Running errands is a full-time job…especially here in LA where driving 1 mile at rush hour can take up to an hour.

  24. October 11, 2011 10:05 am

    Ugh. People really need to think before speaking.

  25. October 11, 2011 10:36 am

    Oh my gosh! I can TOTALLY relate! Well kinda? Every since I left work to finish my PhD, I get that all the time! Stuff like…it might be so nice to have some time off…or, enjoy this free time in your life…Ummm working on my dissertation 12 hours a day is not relaxing….For me its not the single and childress though, its the Mrs Married with Kids….mind your own beez wax lady!

    • October 12, 2011 6:50 am

      Mrs. Indian Aunty Married with Kids is one of the worst offenders…agreed.

  26. October 11, 2011 11:15 am

    The next time Mr. S&C asks you this, say to him, “I do everything your mom did while you were growing up …. AND MORE!” And then ask him what he does 🙂

    • October 12, 2011 6:51 am

      He’s so clueless he’d probably have no idea what his mom did!

  27. October 11, 2011 1:41 pm

    I’ve started turning down social engagements because I work full time as a SAHM (and blogger and WAHM English teacher).

    Is that twisted?

    • October 12, 2011 6:51 am

      I’m stumped….what does being a WAHM English teacher entail?

  28. October 11, 2011 1:54 pm

    the best response is absolutely nothing..and i love it 🙂

    • October 12, 2011 6:52 am

      I haven’t quite mastered that yet Nuha…I need to learn the art of silence!

  29. October 11, 2011 2:56 pm

    I hate that women/mothers get asked this question way more than men! What the French?

    I recently read a psychology article about how stress levels are higher for women because they have to play more roles in a day, aka more jobs. NOT because we are weak/more sensitive!

    • October 12, 2011 6:53 am

      I like the premise of this study…it sounds very accurate.

  30. October 11, 2011 3:57 pm

    I know.. I now avoid talking to my relatives because every single time I get asked “When are you having a baby?”. Even my best friend attacked me that I’m being selfish by not doing it, and how my husband will look at me with “different eyes”. Honestly, why can’t people take care of their own life and leave me mine. People should be asking questions like: “Are you happy with your life and what you do?”, not giving unwanted suggestions and assumptions of how I should live. And I’m rather bad at ignoring too.

    • October 12, 2011 6:55 am

      Forgive me for saying this because I should MMOB, but your best should NOT be lecturing you! Least of all about when to have children!

  31. caloricandcrazy permalink
    October 11, 2011 4:02 pm

    Oh no he didn’t!

    Well written post. I love the attitude!

    I have to agree with Sara, your hair is gorgeous in that photo!

  32. October 11, 2011 4:22 pm

    At least its not Ali who is questioning what you do all day.

  33. October 11, 2011 6:59 pm

    I think you struck just the right tone here. Who the heck does this nobody think he is??? It reminds me of times of past when a certain husband of mine – I won’t be specific here, used to ask me what I did all day at home with the kid (he smartened up after we had a second kid). This question would enrage me. And then once I went back to work and he took one day a week for childcare (one measly day), I’d come home, look at his face and see that he finally knew what I’d done all day.

    • October 12, 2011 6:57 am

      I’m never specific when I talk about my husband either. 🙂 I love it.

  34. October 11, 2011 7:03 pm

    My parents did all of my school project’s and now they complain that I am spoiled….

    • October 12, 2011 6:58 am

      My parents didn’t do any of my projects! But I’m such a control freak that I plan to do all of Maya’s.

  35. October 11, 2011 8:33 pm

    6.I have a fourth unpaid job where I blog about people who ask me stupid questions.

    Excellent !! :))

  36. October 11, 2011 8:39 pm

    I had to explain it as well. Gosh, the nerve most people have these days. It’s mind boggling. Bet we are doing more than them, haters 😀

  37. October 11, 2011 9:12 pm

    I believe being a mom is the most difficult job in the world, and hence why I shy away from wanting kids… so so scared Ameena! that would definitely irritate me and i got asked that question when i quit my job and sat at home. i was busy, but without a child… i’d be fuming if i did have a child and got asked. sorry! ignore S&C. 🙂

    • October 12, 2011 6:59 am

      I was so so scared too…I think being fearful is actually good though because it prepares you for how hard parenting really is. Whereas going into it thinking it’s all fun and games will leave you very disappointed!

  38. October 11, 2011 9:24 pm

    I get asked when the hubby and I are going to have kids almost daily.

  39. October 11, 2011 9:38 pm

    Yes, that is always a loaded question for me too (what do I do, and the children thing). People don’t realize that although Mr P is an adult, he needs full time care and maintenance. Being his wife really is a full time job!
    *kisses* HH

    • October 12, 2011 3:49 pm

      Absolutely, I should have had a #7 – Maintain Ali.

  40. Piya permalink
    October 11, 2011 10:06 pm

    worst question for stay at home moms – which btw, is the hardest job of all! xxx

    • October 12, 2011 3:50 pm

      I could never be a SAHM mom…it’s so much harder than anything else.

  41. October 12, 2011 1:06 am

    Yeah I think most people won’t realize this and use that condescending tone while asking that question …. its annoying i am sure. All the unsung work that you do as a mommy and a wife and then your job… i say bravo to that (Y)

  42. October 12, 2011 3:38 am

    It’s an annoying question even if it was from someone married and child-ful. I would’ve said “not much”. Ha.

    • October 12, 2011 3:51 pm

      I always think of good comebacks AFTER the fact. Need to be quicker on my feet…

  43. October 12, 2011 5:50 am

    I always feel uncomfortable when people I dont know ask me that question…What are they trying to figure out? If I went to college and got an amazing job?

    • October 12, 2011 3:52 pm

      I think most are just trying to make conversation – or that’s why I ask the question. But I always ask it in a polite, non-condescending way…I think tone makes all the difference.

  44. October 12, 2011 8:28 am

    Well the good news is that the color on your magenta/pink blouse ROCKS.

    You should ask Mr. Rude what he does…when he finishes announcing his career, you should ask him (in a very innocently confused, soft tone, as if you are truly, truly surprised): That’s it?

    • October 12, 2011 3:52 pm

      Actually, I’m wearing my Old Navy pajamas in that photo, but thank you!

  45. October 12, 2011 8:30 am

    When we move to our first appartment my roomate and I were bombarded with what do you do? questions… it usually came as hi what’s your name? what do you do?… we hated it so were thinking of creating some strange jobs in case someone asked us like being illegal immigrant smuggler (in Chicago). Stupid questions deserve stupid answers… you can always say nothing… oh wait I think I am standing, breathing and thinking… maybe not 😉

    • October 12, 2011 3:53 pm

      I might just say nothing next time and see what happens…if I can work up the nerve that is.

  46. October 12, 2011 11:34 am

    Ah, the “what do you do?” question. I actually find it very interesting that people have the dying need to define others strictly by their professional success. Not having a traditional 9-5 job doesn’t mean you sit on your butt all day. Lol, you should answer such people by telling them that you have a Suga Daddy!

    • October 12, 2011 3:53 pm

      I think Ali would love to be considered a Suga Daddy!

  47. October 12, 2011 11:37 am

    People underestimate how much mothers have to do for their children/family. And you’re not even a stay-at-home, so you have even more to do. I realized just a fraction of what my mom has to do when I moved into my first apartment. Suddenly having to do your own cooking and cleaning–it’s a rude awakening!

    • October 12, 2011 3:54 pm

      When I got married and had to do everything myself I totally had a newfound appreciation for my mom as well!

  48. October 12, 2011 12:05 pm

    “An exotic dancer”, have a problem with that?”

    I take offense to those types of questions when posed in a patronizing manner. I normally steer clear of such imbeciles, but normally they find me! They would never be able to accomplish what we do any given day!
    I remember you had a problem the last time with some of your neighbors, wanting Maya to learn Spanish to be able to fit into their circle….something to that effect, ( hope I am not mistaken), I think that all of these people are just testing your last nerves!

    Take care!

    • October 12, 2011 3:55 pm

      Either people are testing my last nerve or I need to grow up and stop being so defensive…not sure which one I’m leaning towards right now. 🙂

  49. October 12, 2011 1:32 pm

    Well, I see you do a lot in your day 😉 Its the joys of being a momma and a wifey!! I think you’re pic is cute and I think you can tell these people that “I Rock My Life” that’s what I do!

    Ugh. Excel and Power Point drive me up the wall…thank god I don’t have to deal with any office crap any longer!


    • October 12, 2011 3:55 pm

      Sadly, doing Excel spreadsheets may well be the highlight of my day!

  50. October 12, 2011 2:07 pm

    The ‘don’t you want children’ question really used to get to me. The hubby and I waited almost 10 years before we decided we were ready for kids. It piqued everyone’s interest no end. ‘MYOB’ I say!

    • October 12, 2011 3:56 pm

      I can only imagine Sam…we waited 5 years and it was quite the topic of conversation!

  51. October 12, 2011 4:45 pm

    LOL That was a hilarious outlook … but you are right it is a thankless job!

    ♡ from ©

  52. October 12, 2011 7:51 pm

    Lordy! At the other end of the spectrum is where I sit, totally in awe of motherhood. For years, friends and family would ask “When are you going to have kids?”. They’ve given up asking. I smile sweetly. No answer is sometimes the best answer to questions from others. Adds a sense of mystery…;)

    • October 13, 2011 2:53 pm

      No answer is the best answer…I need to employ the same tactic!

  53. October 12, 2011 11:44 pm

    Teehee, that’s what makes you a supermama!

    I wouldn’t mind making PowerPoint presentations…but Excel likes to screw with me and make me feel even more idiotic for my lack of mathematical ability.

    I had so much fun seeing you again at the picnic! Oh, here’s a picture of San Sebastian, that awesome city I was telling you about:

    • October 13, 2011 2:54 pm

      San Sebastian is beautiful! I am definitely going to try to check it out – thank you Mimi for the suggestion.

  54. October 13, 2011 9:22 am

    I get the question “Are you going to have more kids?” all the time. I have only one child because my first late husband passed away when my son was hardly two and when I met my present husband, we were too old to raise another child. My answer used to be factory closed because no more supply of raw materials. My answer to Mr. S & C is, I work for the Walker and Turner Corporation and my position there is “One leg kick” and let him go figure what I do! LOL! Oh, I would love to help you cut the flags:D

    • October 13, 2011 2:55 pm

      “My answer used to be factory closed because no more supply of raw materials.”

      You are one gutsy lady!!

  55. October 13, 2011 10:49 am

    Oh my goodness Ameena – Too funny! The thing with those kinda questions is that I’d just like for them for them to stick it where the sun don’t shine!

    Good on ya for writing this post and setting the record straight – as it were 🙂

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

    • October 13, 2011 2:56 pm

      Thanks Devaki! I’d like them to stick them there as well… 🙂

      • May 31, 2012 5:46 pm

        I am researching ioiarmntfon on my paternal Great-great-great Grandparents who lived in Sterling, NY in 1860. Their names are William James born 1818 and died before 1893 and Phoebe Ann Doan James born abt 1820 and died in Martiville May 1898. My great great grandparents were Jessie James son of William and Phoebe James and Adeline Sweeney James. I am trying to find more inforamtion on this family. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.Thanks,Anita Davis Surphlis

  56. October 13, 2011 3:20 pm

    I can’t stand it when people that have no idea about anything related to you decide to impose judgment or anything resembling an opinion. Ugh – how irritating.

  57. Leslie permalink
    October 13, 2011 5:33 pm

    I’ve tried on occasion to say that I’m undecided about an issue, then turn the tables by asking the questioner what criteria do THEY think I should consider. I’ve varying degrees of success with this technique.

    Why do you think this is a bad picture? I see a devoted mother, concentrating on her task in a gorgeous-colored sweater with swinging, straight, amazingly shiny hair. I would have liked to see your face, but aside from that, it’s a nice pic. Am I being dense?

    • October 14, 2011 6:53 am

      Well for starters, I’m in my pajamas. On the Interne.t Luckily Ali didn’t catch my glasses in this photo. He knows better! 🙂 See you soon!

  58. October 13, 2011 7:50 pm

    Ameena, I feel your pain. I’m also highly qualified but underpaid…you are a wonderful mom & a deserve to be treated with respect! 🙂 I’m with ya girl! xx

  59. October 13, 2011 8:33 pm

    Honestly, I don’t think I will ever understand how moms do it. I’m completely overwhelmed with my life and I don’t have kids to take care of on top of everything else. Some people just don’t get it. You do everything.

  60. October 13, 2011 10:11 pm

    The most annoying question I’ve ever been asked was “So what do you do all day at home with all your time? Must be pretty boring.” It was one of those “Oh no you DIDN’T just ask me that” type of question. This was back when K was only 6 months.

    • October 14, 2011 6:51 am

      So curious as to what did you say? People used to ask me that all the time when Maya was little and I barely held it together!

  61. October 14, 2011 5:09 pm

    I am feeling quietly thankful all of a sudden that I no longer have to volunteer at schools.


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