Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I keep seeing the word occupation on all sorts of forms lately, from Facebook to my Federal Tax Return. And always accompanied by a blank space for me to fill. But what do I say? When filling out forms for our mortgage a few years ago, the person suggested homemaker. This bristled because I am definitely not a homemaker. At least not in the traditional sense. I don't enjoy cooking, decorating or gardening. I don't scrapbook or craft or find cute roosters to put on my counter tops. I wish I did. I really do. So calling me a homemaker just sort of reminds me of my failure. There is always the title Stay At Home Mom, but if you have spent any time with someone who has this title you soon realize that we don't stay home. We are moms who are on the go, going to story time, the bus stop, the grocery store. We are picking up Valentines at Target (bonus points if supplies are bought at Michaels for home made cards), tying ice skates for hockey practice, taking kids to the pediatrician and dentist all while remembering the form for school, stopping to feed the kids and possibly if you are lucky like me getting in a nap time for Little One. So Stay at Home Mom does not really fit but don't even think of saying Full Time Mom because that really hurts the Working Moms who have the full time worries of being a mom all while trying to work. Oh and then there are the Work at Home Moms which is a totally different group of people altogether and I am not one of those because I don't have a home based business. So what to put? A few of my creative friends have given themselves great titles like CEO of their family business. Or list their family in the employer section. I don't think I can do that because I am not sure I want to work for that organization not to mention, who would be my supervisor? There is not board of directors at my house and we don't take a vote. I think currently my Facebook page has the title Slacker Mom and Wife in the occupation box. (I stole the title from a book I read). Wonder what the IRS would do with that job title?

I get that we want to know people's occupations. It is a quick way to figure someone out. He's an accountant. She's a nurse. He's boring. She's caring. Quick boxes. Boxes that allow us to compartmentalize or trivialize someone's responses, desires or dreams. Boxes that allow us to think we know a person because of what they do but we don't really know who they are. Is my occupation my identity? Am I what I do? I don't want my occupation to be my identity. I hate it when I meet people at my husband's work functions or at school meetings and they ask me what I do because I know that when I say that I am a mom they will make some perfunctory comment about how lucky I am to be able to stay home and then they will pretty much dismiss any future comments I make because what could I know about the real world. Hello people! Do you have any idea how much time I have to stay informed on topics from the Health Care debate to the state of Iran's nuclear development program. I watch Oprah! I can talk about green house gases, the plight of women in the Congo and the shape healthy poop makes (an S shape is best if you are curious). I also have plenty of time to read the news websites, along with the occasional Mommy blog, all while standing at the bus pick up line. I did have a career in education which could explain why I am way more interested in the educational standards and classroom management techniques than school spirit events even though I am in charge of the candy gram sale this year. So you see my fascination with occupation goes beyond what to write on the form. Because how I answer that question impacts how people see me.

If so then I think I need to start writing "Child of God" as my occupation. Because that is first and foremost who I am. That is where my identity lies and what informs all my decisions and thoughts about the world. I am a Child of God.

I really wonder what the IRS would do with that answer.

1 comment:

  1. Exactly! With FB, I had no idea what to put in the occupation field and stay-at-home dad seemed a bit dull and over-simplified...

    Here is what I decided on:

    Dad, tutor, librarian, gardener, art director, cook, nanny, maid, chauffeur, cheerleader and more, all rolled into one!

    You are a wonderful writer and it is obviously coming from the heart.