Okay, it’s later now.
When I was raising children, my answer to the eternal question about my work phone number — you know, the question that implies you are a check-forger if you do not have a separate work phone number — was: “I am self-employed, so the phone number is the same.” Always got raised eyebrows and curious comments from that. No put-downs for being only a mom.
Nowadays, however, I give my cell number for the work number. Odd the question does not come up so often.
If they asked me, out of curiosity, what I did as a self-employed contributor to the GNP, I often said, “My husband and I manage a home and school for children who would be otherwise homeless.” Boy, did that answer cause awe!
If they asked me more, I just kept on with things like, “Well, the pay is not the greatest, but the perks go beyond money. The satisfaction level is off the charts. Knowing those blessed little ones have a happy place to call ‘home’ just makes my day, especially if they hug me or call me ‘mom’.”
I actually had named our homeschool, ages ago, so when folks asked, I just gave that old name: Cherith Christian SChool and Home. (Yes, we capitalized it wonky, so folks might think to pronounce the first word with a hard “ch”. (Cherith is the brook where Elijah found water and birds brought him food during the time of a huge drought. 1 Kings 17)
Nowadays, when someone asks my profession, I tell them I am a retired educator and textbook writer. No one usually ventures beyond that because most people know not to mess with a teacher.
But if they continue in this line, I tell them I have taught all grades and the textbooks I wrote were for high school level literature. Sometimes I insert, here, my years of magazine writing. That usually stops them. If it goes further, though, I begin discussing the scope and sequence of the literature texts, and of my favorite stories from ancient literature. (Did you know the story of Joseph in Potiphar’s house appears in the ancient Egyptian literature?!)
Or I tell them of some of the difficulties, such as translating haiku into English, which really does not work. (English poems that purport to be haiku are almost always not, actually.)
Or I explain the topics of the magazines I wrote for: child raising, education, etc.
Folks usually become overwhelmed, long before I have finished my speech, or else I end up having a great discussion with someone who actually knows this stuff and cares, which is always fun.
But, heaven help them, if they ask, “Do you work?”
I’m toying with the idea of saying, “No. I’m a big fat zero. The only thing I’ve ever accomplished is turning five illiterate humans into productive members of society.”
Just once, I’d like to see the response to that.