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Just a Mother?????

I'm Just a Mother? Excuse Me???

A few months ago, when I was picking up the children at school, another mother I knew well rushed up to me. 
Emily was fuming with indignation.

"Do you know what you and I are?" she demanded. 
Before I could answer and I didn't
really have one handy she blurted out the reason 
for her question.

It seemed she had just returned from renewing her driver's license at the County clerk's office. 
Asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation, 
Emily had 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 Inquisitioner" or "Town Registrar." 
"And 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 pompous 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 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 in 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 
(6 months) 
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.

~~~~~~author unknown!!

This page was created by Vicki Russell © March 2001
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