Off and on throughout my past, I've had issues with my parents--to the point that I stopped thinking of them as family and merely as the maternal grandparents of my children, in fact. Well, before that point, I'd been much closer to and more receptive to discussing things with them. (Not that this made them any more receptive to hearing anything I had to say or taking any advice I was qualified to give.)
After the birth of our first baby, I was cheerfully expressing how much I enjoyed being at home, and was looking forward to moving into our prospective new house because it would be lovely to have housekeeping there and fill up the house with kids. My father smiled indulgently and made a comment about how I'd get tired of it eventually, I'd be ever-so-happy when it came time to send the kids off to school, and then I'd be able to get back to my real calling: being a lawyer.
I told him that wasn't in our plans, that I much preferred being a mommy, and that I was sick of trying to solve problems for people not bright enough to realize that you shouldn't drive after downing a twelve-pack of beer in under thirty minutes.
"Oh, you'll get tired of it, you will. You're much too smart to find it interesting. Besides, with the kids in school, it's not like you'll have anything to do all day."
"School?" I laughed. "You must be confusing me with someone else. We're going to homeschool. We told you that already."
My father began to shake his head sadly, and said, "What a waste of an education. You have all these opportunities, and you're just going to throw them away. What a waste."
He was fully aware of how extremely crummy the schools were in our area, considering that I'd gone to them myself and nothing had changed there in the meantime. He was aware that I had only ever worked as a lawyer in my solo practice, because jobs in established firms were so thin on the ground that if you didn't have connections, you may as well forget it. He had long since been aware of our intentions, because Mr. P. and I had discussed them openly in front of him and my mother. But he waited until I was there without Mr. P., in their house, holding my precious month-old baby in my arms, to act like this was all news to him and that I was clearly making an unacceptable choice.
I admit that the silence that followed his extremely rude comments was as much stunned as angry, considering that my mother had been a SAHM even while my sister and I were in public school, and he'd never once suggested she had "nothing to do all day" or that she was "too smart" for it. Classy.
So I pretty much just stared at him until he got uncomfortable enough to accuse me of being rude. Then he began chattering happily about how I was going to be "the next Racehorse Haynes" until I announced that I was going to see if Mom needed any help in the kitchen and walked away. (I was then pronounced rude again, but he preferred to sulk over berating me for that act of concentrated evil.)
The next day, I was conveniently too tired to leave the hotel room Mr. P. and I were living in while we waited for the closing date (he had already started the job that required the move). Frankly, staying in a hotel room watching brainless TV with a fussy new baby was preferable to being reminded that my father's ego-fueled ambitions were much more important than spending time on and with my own husband and children.
Still, it was satisfying to watch him squirm as I just stared at him like he was out of his mind.