Carolyn Hax: Husband calls her return to teaching a ‘hobby’

Carolyn Hax: Husband calls her return to teaching a ‘hobby’

Carolyn Hax: Husband calls her return to teaching a ‘hobby’

Placeholder while article actions are loading

Hi Caroline! After I had my son, I left school to be at his home. He’s 6 now and I’m getting the itch to go back.

The problem is that it would be a landslide in our lives. My husband works long days and is not home for dinner during the week. He didn’t travel for work during the pandemic, but that is picking up again.

I like to stay at home with our son. Now that he’s back to school, my days are a bit quiet, which I like, but sometimes it gets lonely. If I went back to work he would have to spend time in aftercare and he is a real homebody. My husband is supportive of my return to teaching, but also reminded me that it would essentially be a hobby. My ego is feeling pretty hurt right now.

Feeling lost at home: to teach, a hobby What a stunningly contemptuous thing to say. Wow.

If that was somehow his way of saying you’d only work to pay for your son’s care, then I’ll lay my head back on it and try to work with that. Because that’s where I see the problem.

Except, no, I don’t: work isn’t all about money, and a career like teaching is one of the ultimate examples of that. It is a paycheck for work, but also for being part of a community, shaping the future, satisfying our purposefulness and experiencing the joy of seeing the world through the eyes of a child.

It’s also specialized, exhausting, sometimes demoralizing work – and, may all gods help us, even deadly – so people do get paid for it. Yes.

But if you want to do this for you, that’s great – getting paid for it at least makes it income neutral for your family. Which is not the same as a freaking hobby.

This is true for any work you fulfill, it does not require a higher purpose.

And if you’re not comfortable with the aftercare, or if your son is, consider home care after school, such as a nanny, or a job that allows you to finish when he does (more/usually ), or choose a program he likes, or or or. There are choices. There are variations. There are options to investigate this in follow-up discussions with your husband. There are no reasons to drop the word “hobby”.

Dear Caroline: A friend who has a history of passive-aggressive comments with nasty undertones recently happily told me how a few years ago she saw two fat women in their bathing suits walking on the beach, thinking how she would never expose herself like that. “Oh, and guess what, it was you and Susie!”

When I said she was fat, she protested that it was a compliment.

She had patted the belly of a (male) friend in front of six people the previous year and said, “When do you expect to give birth?” I called her here later to point out that she had embarrassed the man who had said something to me. She pooh-poohed it and said he thought it was funny.

Am I too sensitive? I was offended by her comments. She always fasts to stay thin.

– Feeling fat and ashamed

Feeling fat and ashamed: You feel fat-shamed and gaslighted because she’s fat-shaming and you’re gaslighting.

And she puts her own acutely dysfunctional relationship with food on full display for all to see — so you have the opportunity to feel sorry for her, too. That’s your choice.

But whoever screwed up her body image did it masterfully, intimacy-killing.

Either way, you have options. You may decide that someone who says these things has no place in your circle of friends – because there is nothing “passive” about her social aggression and no “under” about her annoying tone and because we don’t owe anyone our free time that is not good for us and others. Not even a minute.

You may also decide that you like or love her or feel obligated to her for a whole host of other reasons that have nothing to do with her physical problems — and you’re ready to accept this oddly specific animosity as more of an expression of her self-loathing than anything else. In that case, keep answers handy to distract and redirect. ‘No, I’m not doing this with you. Next topic.”

You can also go straight ahead and draw your line: ‘You’re my friend, but the way you talk about weight is cruel. I’m walking away now.” As you walk away, of course.

Or you could try the 180: “When you lash out, I hear someone is really struggling with food and weight and body image. If you ever want to talk, I’m here.”

Since she can send that back to you hard, rest assured that option 1 is ready whenever you are.