19 September 2006

Just Mum...

[Borrowed from a Yankee friend]

A woman named Emily renewing her driver’s license at the County Clerk’s office was asked by the woman 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 Mom.”

“We don’t list ‘Mom’ 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 & possessed of a high sounding title like, “Official Interrogator” or “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 & Human Relations”

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair & 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 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) & already have four credits, (all daughters). Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities (any mother care to disagree?) & 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 & 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 & 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 I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished & indispensable to mankind than “just another Mom.”

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” & great grandmothers “Executive Senior Research Associates” also think it makes Aunts “Associate Research Assistants.”

Please send this to another Mom, Grandmother, Aunt & other friends you know. May your troubles be less, your blessings more & nothing but happiness come through your door! I hope all of you “Research Associates” enjoy!!

No comments: