Parents who stay at home do so much more in one day than everyone realizes. When you check the box that says “home maker” on a form, working professionals immediately associate the term with “unemployed.” These people have obviously never had to look after a child for more than 5 minutes, but it’s a stereotype that has caused more than one parent to wish they got a little more recognition for the work that they do. Being a full-time parent is a tough job that doesn’t start at 9am end at 5pm, it is a constant around-the-clock job that demands your full attention. THIS mom decided that enough was ENOUGH, and her answers had me laughing!
A woman named Emily, renewing her driver’s license at the County Clerk’s office, was asked by the 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.”
I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our Town Hall. The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient and in possession of a high-sounding title like, “Official Interrogator” or “Town Registrar.”
“What is your occupation?” she probed.
What made me say this next, 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 do you do in your field?”
Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply, “I have a continuing program of research (what mother doesn’t?) in the laboratory and in the field (normally I would have said indoors and out).”
“I’m working for my Masters (the whole darned family), 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 (24 is more like it). 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.
Does this make grandmothers “Senior Research Associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations” and great grandmothers “Executive Senior Research Associates?” I think so! I also think it makes aunts “Associate Research Assistants.”
Considering the lofty titles that people in the corporate world give to themselves, I think this mom’s explanation is 100% spot-on. A full-time parent does not get enough recognition in today’s society, and this story really gave me a good laugh. Too bad I don’t get the salary that goes along with a 60+ hour work week! Now THAT would be the life…
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