Recently, I was in line to renew my driver’s license at the DMV. A young mother was struggling to keep her toddler from ripping the forms off of the table. She struggled to drag the little nuisance up to the counter.
“Occupation?” the clerk mumbled.
She hesitated as her child was tossing used Kleenex, tampons and a fuzzy mint out of her purse.
“Ah…” she stammered.
“Do you have a job, or are you just a ….?” said the clerk.
“Of course I have a job,” she snapped. “I’m a mother.”
“We can’t list ‘Mother’ as an occupation…but, housewife covers it,” the clerk said.
I had succumbed to the same occupation as that poor young mother. All the years of being a maid, nose wiper and “”Mom Goddess”” had relegated me to the degrading title…“Housewife.” What about all of the dirty diapers I had changed, dog barf I had cleaned up and the piles of dirty underwear I had washed?
What about ‘Hubby? I made sure he left the house with matching socks, reminded him to trim his ear hair and put up with his intestinal issues. I deserve a medal for putting up with his snoring and not smothering him in his sleep.
This clerk was really irritating me.
“Next,” she snapped.
She stood there, intimidating and smug. I figured her name tag would say… “Official Interrogator”
I handed her my form and held my breath.
“What is your….occupation?” she said stifling a yawn.
I became possessed. All of the years of feeling unappreciated, propelled words out of my mouth, like an auctioneer on speed.
“I’m a Senior Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations. I specialize in teen and young adult issues.”
What the heck?
The clerk paused, her pen barely touching the paper, and looked up at me like an alien was perched on my shoulder.
“Pardon me?” she asked.
I repeated the title slowly, emphasizing the important sounding words. To my amazement, she was jotting down my title next to the word “Occupation.” It was impressive in print.
“Can I ask what kind of work you do in this field?” she said.
Regaining my composure, I replied,
“I am involved in an ongoing research program (what mom isn’t?) that requires both lab and field work (Isn’t that the same thing as indoors and out?). I have my Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Development, my Masters (all family members including pets) in Family Relations and a PhD in Teen Counseling (two daughters). My job is extremely demanding and I often work 16 hours a day (alright 24, but who’s counting). While not your typical job, it is a constant challenge and the rewards I receive are not monetary but in the daily satisfaction.”
The clerk was now gazing at me with new respect. Gone was her authoritative demeanor. She placed my form on the top of the perfectly stacked pile.
“Good luck with your job. It sounds extremely rewarding.”
A feeling of euphoria spread through my body faster than a hot flash. Not even the petrified dog snots on the car window dampened my spirits. Entering my driveway, I felt confident, bolstered by my new career.
Upon getting out of the car, I was greeted by my two tail wagging lab specimens. As I entered the house, my one research assistant (age 16) had her cell phone implanted in her ear. Obnoxious, rap music boomed from upstairs as my other assistant (age 19) was conducting a “hearing impaired” experiment. The cuss words were testing the impact of vulgarity on the impressionable teen mind.
My husband kissed me hello, as he swiftly hid the bag of chips he had absconded from my daughter (obviously researching the effect of junk food on teen growth patterns). The trail of crumbs he left was slobbered up by the lab specimens.
My research team was waiting for me to announce our 6:00 dinner meeting. I picked up discarded pop cans and the strewn jackets littering the floor like discarded surgery scrubs, onto their appropriate hooks. Finally I stepped in a tepid puddle of dog pee no one had bothered to sop up.
None of the irritating minutia mattered. Victory was mine. I had sliced through the bureaucratic BS and I was listed on an official document, as someone distinguished. I had a title which demanded respect.
I was Dr. Mom…a PhD on life.
Now…let’s talk about that sign for my door.