One Mom’s Description

Ballpoint pen writing. Streaks of ink are visi...

I couldn’t believe my eyes and my mouth hung open while I read this. Then the chuckling began and grew until I was laughing too loudly for the library. This is great!

Found on the Internet:

A woman named Emily, renewing her driver’s license at the County Clerk’s office, encountered a woman recorder demanding to know her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

“What I mean is this,” explained the recorder, “do you have a job, or are you just a . . . “

“Of course I have a job,” snapped Emily. “I’m a mom.”

“We don’t list ‘Mom’ as an occupation. ‘Housewife’ covers it,” said the recorder.

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: 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 appeared in bold, blue ink on the official questionnaire.

“Might I ask,” said the clerk with new interest, “just what you do in your field?”

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself replying, “I manage a continuing program of research, in the laboratory and in the field (normally I would have said ‘indoors and out’.) I’m working on my Master’s, 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?) (any dad care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day (24 is more like it.) But the job is more challenging than most careers and the rewards are more of a certain satisfaction rather than mere 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, my glamorous new career buoying me, three of my lab assistants – ages 13, 7, and 3, approached to greet me. Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model (the 6-month-old baby,) in the child-development program, testing out a new vocal pattern. I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy!

And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable, to many, than “just another mom.”

Motherhood – what a glorious career! And what fun to have 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”.

May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart!

Please forward this to anyone you want.

And what about you? Can you make up some clever response for this age-old competition/comparison?

How do YOU answer when they want to know if you work, where, or your work phone number? Later, I will post my usual answer(s).


photo credit: Wikipedia