Disclaimer: This is NOT an indictment of all ‘Soccer Moms.” Just a particular one with whom I had dealings with this summer. You know the type.
Dear Soccer Mom,
I just wanted to tell you thanks for having my stepdaughter over to play with your daughter. Based on what I heard afterward, it sounds like they had a wonderful time. My stepdaughter can hardly wait for school to start again so they can see each other every day.
I also wanted to commend you for being the first mother to actually make me feel inferior. Not only about my life as a stay-at-home dad, but the rest of my existence as well. Does the local Y or community college offer courses in such a practical life skill?
To be fair, it’s entirely possible I’m being overly sensitive here. There is an awkwardness that sometimes comes over me when explaining what I do to other men. But this never happens when I’m around mothers. Yet from the moment you arrived and proceeded to climb down from your 10-foot high SUV, you immediately put me on edge with a single disapproving expression. Please understand there’s nothing wrong with owning a nice vehicle that can crush inferior automobiles and keep British Petroleum solvent for ages to come. Nor is there a problem with wearing a skimpy white tennis outfit that fails to hide horribly spray-tanned skin that looks like a worn out catcher’s mitt. Whoops. Sorry. You’ll have to forgive me. I shouldn’t be taken seriously. Although had this been our first meeting, I wouldn’t have even thought to judge you on such superficial observations. But then again, isn’t that what you did to me?
I suppose I could understand why you would be incredulous over my assertion. You’re probably thinking “How dare he?” But I’d like to know what was going through your mind while you were gawking intently at the apartment complex where my family lives. I would’ve thought nothing of it until you hesitated after saying “this place is….” It seemed like you were searching for that perfect word to complete your sentence—a word with just the right blend of tact, disdain and sarcasm. I think you nailed it though, with that slight pause before eventually going with the adjective “nice.”
I agree this place is nothing spectacular. It’s just that we needed something quickly inside this school district, since it’s one of the best in the area. Also, being in a lease makes it easier for us to move closer to my three sons in Chicago once the opportunity presents itself. I was in the middle of explaining all of this to you before you loudly interrupted to remind your daughter not to mess up the car’s interior. Almost thought you punctured my eardrum there for a second, but don’t worry, my hearing’s fine and my stepdaughter understood the implied message concerning the leather seats.
Oh and thanks for informing me to retrieve my stepdaughter early because of that thing that suddenly came up. What was it again? Oh yes—a “previously unplanned errand in the afternoon.” If you recall I made good on your request. But then again, how could you forget the dented minivan I pulled up in? Judging from your facial expression, I thought maybe parking it in front of your exquisite home caused your property value to plummet. Forgive me, I jest. If the neighbors in your finely manicured cul-de-sac inquire as to the van’s presence, feel free to explain I was a pizza delivery or that the house cleaners had come a day earlier than usual.
Maybe I was reading too much into our encounter, but I think not. Not when you burst out with, “How did that happen?” after I admitted to being a stay-at-home dad. Someone may have already brought this up after tennis at the country club, but the economy is not exactly thriving. So, as any basic economics textbook will confirm, being unemployed is not all that uncommon during such conditions. It was kind of funny though, the way you chuckled under your breath while mentioning how your husband couldn’t lose his job because he’s too valuable to his company. I thought that once myself which is why I laughed along. I love irony the way hobos love free hot dogs.
I hope you believed me when I answered yes to all those questions pertaining to my proficiency at cooking edible meals, cleaning our rundown apartment, getting the girls ready for school, picking up groceries and performing all those other duties you pay others to do on your behalf. I liked the way you mentioned how your hubby would make a royal mess of things if he was forced into the Domestic Services Corp. Guess he’s not quite as valuable at home as he is at work.
And yes, you did hear correctly. I’m a writer and yet I somehow manage to avoid alcoholism. Can you believe it? Despite your instant assessment that, “it must be hard to live off such a low and unstable income.” Even I’ve wondered the same thing you did aloud—that part about how you couldn’t see anyone ever succeeding financially in such a “profession.” I suppose that’s why I felt compelled to add the part about my consulting work with financial firms. Sometimes feeling inferior makes you do funny things, and besides, I didn’t want you calling CPS because you thought the children were living in squalor with their slovenly stepfather.
After so many probing questions, I trust you were still able to make it to that unexpected errand in time. You probably could’ve saved yourself 20 minutes by asking the one question that all the others appeared to have some basis in: What tax bracket did I file my federal return under? When you approached my wife and me at the school musical this spring, I’m betting you took one look at how well-groomed we were and it served as confirmation we all were born of the same affluent stock. Stock! Get it? That’s probably silly of me to think, but I only mention this since that’s how you’ve been judging me all day. My wife always says money can’t buy class. And guess what? I just now understand what this means. Ha! Thanks!
Well, here’s to surviving the new school year. It’s too bad the girls didn’t have the chance to hang out much after they practically acted like sisters before their summer play date. I’m sorry the several invites for your daughter to have a sleepover didn’t seem to fit with your schedule either. And really, it’s my mistake. I should’ve taken a hint. Honestly though, it’s probably for the best. I don’t want my stepdaughter using the words “Botox” and “augmentation” in her vocabulary until she’s old enough to vote.