The aluminum foil:
Curse be on me that I wasn’t taught the basic art of cooking by my mother. I land in my marriage unarmed and without any back up plans except my husband’s consolation that we didn’t need to cook a lot and so we ate out mostly. Well, this was a great thing to do until I had a party of in-laws who wanted to eat my cooking. I assured my husband that I knew how to cook somewhat and that it wasn’t so bad. Even though he didn’t trust me, he was decent enough to pretend that he did and didn’t order food for the party.
The party was great. The food was amazing. Everyone had second helpings and some nice people even helped themselves a third time. I went into the kitchen to get dessert. A well-meaning relative followed me. Soon she exclaimed,
“But that’s not how you put the foil on the pan! Who taught you how to cook?”
Actually, no one! For a self-taught person I’m a great cook but somehow the same women who had been singing praises until then developed a hyper focus for the aluminum foil. My cooking, it finally dawned on everyone, was useless in how tasteful, how pretty, how abundant. It was measured by one fault which didn’t affect the cooking.
Woman on woman crime? Right there! All my hard work was judged against a wrongly put foil. That became the highlight.
The laundry mix-up:
I’ve done laundry so many times but of course the mix-up happens when well-meaning but essentially intrusive relatives are visiting.
But let’s start with a disclaimer! I could be more careful with how I separate the whites from the rest of them. I could may be spend sometime sorting the different items. I could potentially choose a gentler cycle for the delicates in my laundry.
When the laundry came out, one of the aforementioned relatives was present in all her cackling glory. This is why some humans have been likened to hens and even though it’s a sexist slur, sometimes it does sound like a lot of cackling focused around a poor woman’s ineptitude.
Also when the laundry came out my whites and my husband’s pinks or my husband’s whites and my pinks had mixed and now everything was a delightful shade of pink. To me, who is a consummate connoisseur of colors, this was a most fortunate event but for my relative? This was where the badge that said “housewife” on my lapel should’ve been ripped and replaced with “Idiot”. Thankfully that type of punishment died with Elizabethan era dictators and so she contended herself with talking about this mishap for years to come. Which is justice well -served, in case you’re wondering!
The baby came out all wrong:
Stop double-taking over that! It’s true. My baby came out all wrong as per, not several, but many relatives. They all reminded me the multiple ways in which this could’ve been a success and due to sheer negligence I delivered a baby that was so wrong in so many ways that if babies could hear and understand, this kid would’ve been in therapy their whole life.
First of all the gender was all wrong. She was supposed to be a boy. And why wouldn’t she be a boy? All her aunts had boys as their first child. All her aunts’ best friends had boys as first child. Even the housekeeper’s first child was a boy. How dare she change her gender without so much as a note in advance? Also, why was she hanging low if she was a girl? Why had my belly swollen if she was a girl? And why was I craving sour if she was a girl? Those are boy signs. This girl should’ve hung high, hidden in my back and should’ve made me crave sweet. I know what you’re thinking! Didn’t you get a gender sonogram? I did! And informed my family. And they still didn’t believe it to hold much water against their “calculations” and “predictions “.
Then her head wasn’t perfect and round. This was the other wrong thing. She also wasn’t as light-skinned as my light skin promised for her to be. She also didn’t look like me or her dad and if I hadn’t spent those nine months and the time before that in confinement I would’ve been stoned to death for giving birth to the neighbor’s kid. She was reluctantly accepted as ours and then shunned until she got lighter and her head got rounder.
How my kids suffered due to corporate bullshit:
It is some of my relatives’ astute (in their opinion ) observation that my kids are a product of neglect and lack of love. And this is all because of my job as a corporate bigwig. I’ve been asked subtly if may be a more humble job would be better suited to my humble self. Of course, the fact that my kids are watched by a nanny and go to school are not missed by these relatives and therefore they have to remind me that those two things happen because I work. I want to point out to them that they don’t work but still send their kids to school but if I had so much stamina I would’ve been a mother-in-law or at the least a sister-in-law. I’m a business owner because of some critical deficiencies in domestic political acumen.
I’ve also been asked if I could cut back hours. Sure I can! But I don’t want to. Ever heard of free will? You have but those people haven’t. Their philosophy is that I should find a way to cut back hours without taking any cut on my paycheck? Now you see the conundrum?
I’ve also been reminded that my kids will likely end up being complete hooligans because I don’t watch them all the time. The simple rebuttal is that I wouldn’t be able to watch them all the time all their life anyway so they might start being on their own for an hour or two everyday, with their nanny. This is good upbringing in my book.