A Mother’s Occupation

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
September 12, 1995

A woman named Emily renewing her driver’s licence at the Transport office was asked by the clerk to state her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself. “What I mean is,” explained the clerk, “do you have a job, or are you just a ……? “Of course I have a job,” snapped Emily. “I’m a Mum.” “We don’t list ‘Mum’ as an occupation…… ‘housewife’ covers it,” said the clerk emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our local police station. 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, 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 programme 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 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 girl’s voice as she completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

When I got home, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants -ages 10, 7, and 3. Upstairs, I could hear our new experimental model, (a 6 month old baby), in the child-development programme, testing out a new vocal pattern. I felt I had triumphed over bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than “just another Mum.” 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”, and great grandmothers “Executive Senior Research Associates”??? I think so!!! I also think it makes Aunts “Associate Research Assistants”.

Author Unknown - Please comment if you know the author
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22 comments
  1. seeker said:

    I love it, sharing it with the Mothers in my family. Thank you.

  2. Divva on a mission said:

    Love it!!

  3. I like to tell people my career is in “opposing entropy”. With the chaos my kids make at home, I feel that about covers it 🙂

  4. Carole Boshart said:

    That was beautiful! Just perfect! Whoever wrote this, and whenever they wrote this, I hope they are amply rewarded and revered in their career!

  5. thegeekyg4mer said:

    That’s great 🙂

  6. John Paddock said:

    Thought you might enjoy this.

    Love, John

  7. cate b said:

    Fantastic story! Being a mom is one of the highest callings and hats off to this mum who confidently stated her position! I’m in the Senior category and love my job….. many benefits…. working on my doctorate too! 😀 Thanks for posting.

  8. cate b said:

    Reblogged this on Let's Have Another Piece of Pie and commented:
    This speaks loudly to all who think motherhood is “just a….” It’s time the world recognizes all the moms and dads who take the role of raising children – our future leaders – it is by far one of the most important roles a human being can take on. Enjoy!
    cate b

  9. Thank you for liking my post “Never Forget.” Your positive blogs are much appreciated! And LOVE this one! 🙂

  10. I am blessed to be raised by a mother who was not only a mother, but also a secondary school teacher with a full time job; just like her mother before her. I am blessed to be raised by two grandmothers, who have taught me the value of being a woman. I have been taught that you should never ‘just’ be a housewife because your community needs you.
    I have never seen my mum unhappier than in the few years she could have filled out ‘mother’ as her occupation. I could never have turned out better, had she been filling out ‘mother’ as her occupation, rather than ‘teacher’ when I was small. I would have missed out on so much!!

    And I am proud of my mother for how much she’s grown as a person now that she’s no longer forced into this ‘most important job in the world’ because of circumstances. She has made an entire career switch and finally found the source of my creative talent in herself. I would be blessed to have her as part of the community in which my maybe babies will be raised; because there is no greater gift I personally can give them than being part of something bigger than my apron strings.
    My maybe babies will have the gift of a mother WITH another occupation. It will be OK, and I have about all the women in my family to ask for advice about how to do it.

  11. MamaRupp said:

    Love this. Sharing this on Facebook and my mommy groups.

  12. janie wood said:

    This is great.

  13. This was absolutely adorable and well written! I love your title and your dedication to your “research”. Marvelous!

  14. Carina said:

    True. An unrecognized (at least in the world) but very rewarding profession. Having your child say mummy is more joyful than the kudos and incentives you can get from a boss.

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