This story has been going around for a long time but seems fitting to unearth it and dedicate it to Nancy Clark and her new blog.

A woman, 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 the woman. "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 and 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 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 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, (first the Lord and then the whole 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 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 and 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 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,(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 and indispensable to mankind than"just another Mom."
What a glorious career!


Nancy Sabina said...

I find that in these situations if my answer is "mom", it's hard not to say it with "just a..." attached to the front. But if my answer is "Mother" I can say it with pride in my voice. Sometimes I even say "Mother of Three". Maybe just because it sounds more official.
I love this story - thanks!

Jolie said...

this is one of my favorite stories! Thanks for resurrecting it. We all need a little boost to our choosen profession.

Ryan said...

I like the story. I think more respect should be given to the title and responsibility of mother.

Sarah said...

Being a Mom is such a wonderful calling. I don't know many who can see their babies first smile, and not feel lucky. "Just" a Mom? It's the best position in the world.