A typical lazy summer morning, kids off school thankfully still in bed, I get up, grab a cereal bar (yes I know they are not as healthy as I think they are) and run out the door to meet up with my walking buddy. After our 45 min walk around the park, I get home, shower and wake my kids who think summer means they can sleep all day, for breakfast. They will make their own breakfast I am promised, though what a 14, 10 and 7 year old will come up with I dread to imagine. Even worse is thinking about the stains that will inevitably adorn our kitchen ceiling and counter top, ‘Everything is awesome,’ they yell as I rush out the door to the bank and then errands galore.
As I am waiting in line for the bank teller, I see an offer for a Tim’s Card. My dream come true; I love coffee especially Tim’s; and since I am a stay at home mom, this card would enable my ‘habit’ quite nicely. Salivating, I read the terms – no annual fee, PERFECT. Waiting in line, I apply using my iPhone, Siri thankfully did not interfere as she always does whenever I want to do something covert, “Do you need help with incontinence products?” she asked LOUDLY one time in line at the local DQ. Needless to say I and Siri have issues.
On the form, under employment I check ‘not employed’. I already have 2 credit cards – no outstanding balance on either. My credit score is excellent, obviously this card would not be a problem; I only wanted a minimum limit. That would keep my ‘habit’ under check. Two days later I get a call from above bank offering The Card. I am swooning on a coffee cloud. I can smell my next cup. This is how the conversation goes:
Bank Lady (BL): May I speak with Ms. *******.
Me: Hi, this is Tasneem.
BL goes into the whole spiel about how this conversation will be recorded for training and quality control purposes blah blah blah (meanwhile I am imagining her talking about how to fasten my seatbelt). Then she subtly gets to the point: Everything in your application is awesome, unfortunately, you are not employed and to get this card you need your husband’s permission.
I am the epitome of calm. I am serene personified. I am tranquil. I AM NOT EMPLOYED! Who does she think cleans, cooks, drives kids from swimming to karate to soccer? I didn’t need my husband’s permission to open an account in THE BANK; they don’t ask me to get his permission to deposit money in said account, and I certainly don’t need his permission to pay my bills, one of which is a credit card from THE VERY SAME BANK. I hang up. Calm, breathe, I think back to Lamaze class, those breathing exercises never helped with 3 kids – they might help now.
Siri to the rescue, I ask, “Siri, where am I?”
“What do you mean?”
“What year and country is this?”
“Checking my sources.” Siri is truly frustrating.
Just saying, last I checked, it is the year 2014, and I live in Winnipeg, Canada. Women have had the right to vote since 1916, almost a century ago. The Chancellor of Germany is a woman, the Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo is a woman, even India and Pakistan have had a female Prime Minister each. Yet THE BANK has relegated me to seek my husband’s permission in my ability to purchase a cup of coffee just because I have elected to stay home and raise my kids.
Sheryl Sandberg says ‘Lean In’, for sure, lean in to your husband and until he gives you permission do not breathe. You are not worthy of being anything but barefoot and pregnant, cooking and cleaning in the kitchen. You are not worthy of being given the dignity of handling your finances because you do not have a job outside the home. You are not worthy of being independent because you do not generate cold hard cash.
I cannot imagine if I face this in 2014, how long it will take my 10 year old to be proud of whatever choice she makes in life. It is a sad day for women everywhere, when for want of a cuppa Joe she must first ask, ‘Please kind Sir, may I have more.” Of course, everything is awesome.