Most moms, no matter how proud they are of the role they are given, feel uncomfortable and are dreaded by the question, “What do you do?” This is because they have a lot on their plate, but despite all the responsibilities around the house and the kids, what they do isn’t appreciated enough, neither by their spouses nor the society.
One mother was fed up by people asking her what her occupation was and rolling their eyes when she would answer “I’m a mom.” So, the last time she was about to give an answer to this question, she did it in a way that made all of us laugh out loud. Needless to say, moms from all over the world praised her for her wise words.
This is her story:
A woman named Emily, renewing her driver’s license at the County Clerk’s office, was asked by a recorder to state her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.
“What I mean is,” explained the recorder, “do you have a job, or are you just a …?”
“Of course I have a job,” snapped Emily. “I’m a mother.”
“We don’t list ‘mother’ as an occupation… ‘housewife’ covers it,” said the recorder emphatically.
I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall. The clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like, “Official Interrogator” or “Town Registrar.”
“What is your occupation?” she probed.
What made me say it, I do not know. The words simply popped out. “I’m a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations.”
The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair, and looked up as though she had not heard right.
I repeated the title slowly, emphasizing the most significant words. Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.
“Might I ask,” said the clerk with new interest, “just what you do in your field?”
Without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply. “I have a continuing program of research, in the laboratory and in the field. I’m working for my Masters, and already have four credits, (all daughters). Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities, (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day. But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money.”
There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk’s voice as she completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door. As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants – ages 13, 7, and 3. Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model, (a 6-month-old baby), in the child-development program, testing out a new vocal pattern. I felt triumphant! I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than “just another mother.”
Motherhood. What a glorious career! Especially when there’s a title on the door.