Years ago, I was filling out paperwork at a doctor’s office and I left the “occupation” line blank. I’d been out of the “workforce” for a number of years, busy having babies and raising babies and contemplating the deeper implications of housework. I had no idea what to put on that line although a few thoughts did spring to mind- housewife, stay at home mom, work at home mom, self-employed, writer, domestic goddess, other.
I come from a weird lost generation of women. We didn’t burn our bras and for the most part, our mothers were one generation removed from June Cleaver. Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s embedded in me some kind of reluctance to identify myself on paper or in person as a “house-wife” or a “stay at home mom.”
I confess, I’ve had some arrogance about this and obviously, it gave me great pause when filling out forms.
The doctor was a pediatrician…and as he looked over the form he was quick to point out this empty space on the page. “What about this?” he said. I shook my head and sighed, “I never know what to write there.” He nodded and smiled sweetly. “Well, what occupies your time these days?” At this point in my life I had four children, three of them boys, under 5 years old. “Parenting, I guess.” He nodded again and wrote on the line, “Occupation: Mother.”
It never feels like enough and it always feels like too much. There’s a whole lot of pressure being a parent. We’re building humans here. That’s kind of a big deal. At night I lay in bed and think about how I’ve been instructing them, what I’ve taught them, good and bad. How I’ve fed them, good and bad. How many years are left in this present occupation of being “mother.”
So, in looking back on how often (or not often) I’ve been posting here on Mrs Metaphor instead of worrying that it’s not often enough or that the subject isn’t deep enough, clear enough, written well enough I always find myself thinking instead about my present occupation of Mother. What occupies my time these days is still very much parenting, it’s my day and night job and the learning curve never seems to get any less steep. And so, instead of feeling guilty or apologetic for my posting habits I just gotta cut myself a whole lot of slack. I know that’s the advice you’d all give me in any case, you’re all so wise and kind. I mean that.
I’m going to go occupy the kitchen now. I find that when the floors become so sticky that children’s shoes are ripped from their feet as they walk through it’s my signal that it’s time to wash said floor.