I’m a telecommutter. I work from home. But my family doesn’t seem to get it! Mami expects me to be her caretaker. She expects me to move down South and fill the role of The Nanny, but with less leopard print. This is the master plan she’s concocted without consulting me. “I want you to find housing for me in Charlotte,” Mami suddenly exclaimed to my eldest sister as she rocked my 14-month-old niece to sleep. “I will go first with Sujeiry until you and your husband finally relocate,” Mami decided. Say what?! My ears perked up at the sound of my name. My eyes shot up from my laptop and turned to face my mother. “Hey, lady. Why do you assume I’m coming with you?” I asked, containing my middle-child-syndrome rage. Mami’s brows raised as if not moving in with her would be simply outlandish.
Sure, I’ve been living with her since 2006. But that was out of financial necessity. Yes, I’ve experienced five long years of her controlling ways and Oscar worthy, teary-eyed guilt trips. But I refuse to live a life of doctor’s appointments, Bengay and bouts of fanatical cleaning peppered with, “You missed a spot!”
At least not until I’m old and rickety myself.
I’M SERIOUSLY A PROFESSIONAL
So, why does Mami believe this is our future? Because she doesn’t believe I will succeed. Mami just doesn’t take my career as a Writer and an Artist, seriously.
Recently, Mami knocked on my door while I was on a call with an AOL representative from Washington, D.C. The door was locked, as it often is when I am busy creating or on a professional call. And so I didn’t respond to her knock. Yet that didn’t stop Mami from pounding on my door as if there were a poisonous rattlesnake (she’s terrified of snakes…and water…and heights…and dirt) on the other side. I continued to ignore her desperate pleas, covering the mouthpiece on my cell so the potential client wouldn’t hear the ruckus. Ultimately, Mami stopped knocking, but not before yelling, “I hate this damn lock on your door!”
When I finally stepped out of my bedroom/office space, I walked into the bathroom and asked Mami what she wanted. “Olvidalo ya!” (“Forget it, now!”) She grunted, followed by a, “Talking on the phone with your friends is more important.” I explained that it was a business call, fighting the urge to say “bidness” like a pimp. I told her that my conversations aren’t always about the latest episode of Gossip Girl (will Chuck Bass ever end up with Blair?) or Justin Bieber’s baby scandal. Still, Mami refused to listen. She shook her head, exclaiming that I just didn’t want to help her, as if she had a golden Oscar in hand. Mami refused to understand.
Because she can’t.
NOT WORKING 9 TO 5To my Dominican mami, a job is a place one goes to by 9 am and returns from after 5pm. It doesn’t matter if I’m cleaning toilets or selling candy bars on the downtown 1 train. Working 9-5 means I have a real career! A job means a check is deposited into one’s bank account on a weekly or biweekly basis. A job means financial stability and success so one can travel, buy property and not have to live with one’s mom in an apartment. I don’t blame Mami for this mentality. It is all she knows. And since getting her to understand that what I do is valid has become exhausting, I’m just going to continue ignoring her at my locked door. I have a plan, though at times it seems I’m going in circles. I am an adult with a career. I actually have a job and do not spend my entire day chatting en el Facebook, as Mami says. And no, lady, I won’t leave my computer screen when I’m writing a story (blank stare on her end) to get you the remote (she had already sat down)! No explanation will suffice. Only wads of cash that will help support her. Once she sees those crisp dollars bills, once she sees me on television hosting my own show and my published Love Trips book (with the advance check, of course), that’s when she will respect me and be proud. Until then I am forced to live under her roof, dreaming of Depends diapers, Clorox wipes and BINGO.
Now, let me get back to that stubborn spot.