Girlhood. Momhood. Lifehood.
Insights on navigating the craziness of life with young kids one — “large coffee with skim please” — day at a time.

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Insert Your Occupation Here

January 31st, 2008

The other night my husband was filling out some sort of census document that we received from our town hall.

“Hey babe?” he calls, as he sits with a stack of bills and paperwork on the dining room table, “What do you want me to put as your occupation?”

Hmmm. In most cases, if I’m asked my occupation I put the standard blanket phrase of “Stay-at-home mom,” but for the last year or so I’ve also confidently added “plus freelance writer.” I wondered if the census folks would appreciate my self-described dual occupational status, or if they’d just want me to cut to the chase.

But I do often ponder the other antiquated titles that SAHM’s are subjected to…such as “Housewife.”

Ick. As if.

That sounds like I’m married not only to my husband, but also to the idea of sparkling floors and floral-scented laundry detergent and wearing large pearl earrings while baking pies. Then there’s “Full-time mom.” Well, the last time I checked, every working mom I know is also a “Full-time mom.” I’m pretty sure the biological connection stays intact from 9-5.

Alas, coming up with a more contemporary and accurate title has eluded me, despite my five years in “the biz.” What about something like “Household CEO?” Although, that sounds more like some new, slightly creepy domestic robot project that’s a joint venture between Procter & Gamble and NASA. Perhaps I should create a title that’s a bit more inclusive of the full range of responsibilities, something like…

“Finder of Lost Race Cars, Master of Bug Bingo, Manager of Broken Furnaces and Clogged Potties, Pediatric Medical Communications Officer, Overseer of Helmet Safety and Post-Germ Exposure Anti-Bacterial Gel Application, Director of Purchasing for Seasonally Appropriate Outerwear, Underwear, Swimwear, Holiday and General Princess Dress-up Wear, Early Academic and Music Education Facilitator (with a special emphasis on the early works of Wham!), Birthday Party Themes, Piñata Procurement and Special Events Manager, Transportation Engineer (complete with nutritionally beneficial onboard food and beverage service), and Special Assistant to the Motion Picture Association Responsible for Second-Tier G-movie Rating System to include G without anything scary or violent and G with somewhat scary and violent stuff, but an awesome soundtrack. All with a bonus structure directly correlated to the general health and well-being of all direct offspring.”

That’s a tad long perhaps.

Well, as it turns out, my husband ended up calling the town to clarify how to list my occupation. Apparently a slashed title would not make it to the database, so the lovely woman on the phone suggested that he put simply, “Homemaker.”

So I asked myself… “Do I have a home?” Yes. One that’s always in a state of slight disarray, but yes. “Did I make that home?” Not the structure of course, but two of its occupants, Yes… yes I did.

“Homemaker” just might work. It’s still a bit broad and old-fashioned, but it does have a pleasant ring to it.

But you know, when it comes right down to it, perhaps it’s impractical to get caught up in the whole “title” thing in the first place. We moms (dual roles or not) really don’t have time to fret over such things…

We’ve got too much work to do.

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