Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Scolder

I work with a Scolder. She’s only a few years older than me, but in the five years that I’ve known her, she’s always struck me as an old woman. She only recently, in the past few months, began working in my department. In those months, I’ve been “scolded,” like a child, more times than I can count.

She scolded me a few months ago for saying that I was coming back to work after the baby was born. (“After you have that baby in your arms, you’ll feel differently.”) She scolded me for not showing enough (“You know, Ellen, you are supposed to GAIN weight while pregnant. Ha ha.”) She scolded me the other day for saying that I was planning on being here for three more weeks, to try to finish my enormous work project (“That’s silly. You don’t know that. You might only be here two weeks.”)

It drives me nuts and it makes me want to tweak her on her nose. But I realized that almost all of her “scolding” has had to do with my pregnancy. And she used to be that way about marriage, before she got married last summer. For four years, she scolded my married friends left and right about their marriages. (“You wouldn’t feel that way if you were single.” “If you only knew how hard it is to still be looking for a good man…” “Well, some of us WISH we had that problem. You don’t know how happy you should be.”) Anyway, I realized that her marriage scolding has turned to baby scolding.

Maybe it has to do with having an idealized view of how life is supposed to be. Maybe it’s just obsessing over that next goal in life. Maybe it’s not being able to see life from another’s point of view. But it made me think about the times that I do the same thing. I spent so long focusing on getting pregnant and having a baby that I hope that, even through the tough sleepless nights and cracked nipples, I can still savor and enjoy it. And not go obsessing on the next big life step.


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