Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What is My Job Title?

One of my best friends got a promotion at her fancy finance job yesterday, and is now a Vice President. When she told me the news, which of course is wonderful, I was in the middle of finger painting. Oh how our lives have taken different paths: she is the VP of something or other, and I am...what the hell is my title?

Lately I feel like I have been filing out a lot of paperwork that requires me to fill in the "occupation" box with an appropriate title for what I do day to day. And it has gotten me thinking a lot about what it means to be a mom, and a stay at home mom...and what exactly the job posting on would say if you were looking to become a mom.

Job Title: Stay At Home Mother a.k.a Coordinator of Chaos, Lady of the Manor, Enforcer of Family Law, Keeper of the House, Head Woman In Charge

Experience Needed: NONE

Job Description: Do you want to give up your current life and live the most rewarding life you possibly could? Well, have some sex, get pregnant and pop out a child (or in my case try to get pregnant for 2 years and then make a baby in a testtube and do IVF!)! Sounds easy doesn't it? I forgot to mention, you have to now make sure that kid survives! You have to feed it, water it, change it, clean it, sing to it, teach it, read to it, clothe it, entertain it every second you are awake, bring it with you everywhere you go and make sure it never gets hurt! Sounds like a lot of work, no? Well it is, and it is the best job you could ever have. And to top it all of your annual salary will be $0! The hardest job in the world and you get paid in hugs and kisses, which when they come from your kid are actually the best things in the world. 

Before I had M, I quit my professional marketing job and was designing jewelry full time. I had (have, I guess) my own line of jewelry, that I would sell at shows, at Bloomingdales, and is still in a few stores. This was my "full-time" job, and what I would say was my occupation. Basically I was self-employed, making little to no money after expenses, and my husband was paying all the bills. So when it came time for me to put down my occupation I would say "Jewelry Designer."

Now I haven't actually designed jewelry in 18 months, as some days I don't have time to shower, let alone work on a piece of jewelry that takes 24 hours of very precise, intricate work. I miss it terribly, and I guess I could get back into it, but most days when M is finally down for a nap I want to catch up on my reality tv, not sit in my studio and bead. So when at the hospital last week updating my insurance info, the woman asked me "so occupation...still a jewelry designer?" And instead of going into a big life story, I just said "yup!"

But that is totally a lie! If someone asked me flat out what I my job was these days, what am I? A stay-at-home-mom? I hate that term because I am so much more than that!

I am a teacher most of the day. Granted, I don't have a classroom full of students in front of me, but every day I am teaching M new things; how to count, the alphabet, colors, new songs, how to play instruments, names for body parts, how to walk (still working on this one).

I am responsible for "keeping house;" cleaning, laundry, gardening, repairing things, putting things together, dealing with repair men, etc.

I am a dog-walker. I am a dog-groomer.

I am a photographer (a passion of mine - thank God I have a willing model at home). I am a crafter (you name it, I think I can make it myself).

I am a chauffeur. I am a personal shopper (for both M and my husband who refuses to buy himself any new clothes - I just got that 8 years ago!).

I am a personal chef to a picky toddler (and the hubs seems to be picky lately too).

And once all of that is taken care of, it is time to take care of me, which lately is in the form of shopping online and watching reality tv. Forget working out every day like I used to, forget trying to eat well (5 of the 15 pounds lost earlier this year are back with a vengeance)...I just don't have it in me right now.

And to top all this off, I am adding the stress of trying to get pregnant again.

But I wouldn't change my life for anything in the world. I have an incredible, kind, talented, beautiful kid, and a husband who loves me more than anything in the world, and treats me like a queen. Who wouldn't want that as part of their job description?

So what is my occupation? Lucky Lady.


  1. Brought tears to my eyes as I sit hear at my job daydreaming about my little girl who is with her nanny. Lately no matter where I am, I feel like I am being pulled in a different direction. Post will hopefully follow soon on this topic.

    You are an awesome mom.

  2. I am going to adopt your suggested title "Lady of the manor." I assume that title comes with staff? It sure sounds like a promotion!

  3. I feel the same way every couple of months when I get the magazine from my business school and see what my peers have been up to. Many are great moms who have also built terrific careers and it is hard to think that I just might not have been cut out for the big time. I just think of it like you do - take what events happen on their own terms and enjoy the every day. And the awesome hugs and kisses that are all mine.

  4. Jess - I love this post! LOVE! :) You are an awesome Mama!!

  5. I Love you! You had me in tears at "Do you want to give up your current life and live the most rewarding life you possibly could?" That sums it up.

    I am so happy to find you and Mama R discussing how to define ourselves. I am tired of answering "what do you do?" with, "I used to be a CPA but now I'm staying at home for the first time." I need to get proud enough to say simply "I'm staying at home with my two small children." I would REALLY LOVE to see some discourse about defining SAHM. For example:

    1) If we are going to define ourselves by what we do (the social norm), maybe we don't need to pick one thing. Our career, from which we might be taking a long or short break, is a legitimate part of who we are. So are many other aspects of course... maybe we need to revise the elevator speech parameters? When people ask "what do you do?" what are they really asking? "What can you do for me right now?" "What box can I put you in?" "How much respect should I give you?" "How smart are you?"

    2) How can we redefine SAHM so we can be proud of it? We are smart, capable women, who could be VP of Blah blah blah if we choose. Some of us have made a possibly braver choice, and we can change society's perception of that choice, but first we need to change our perception. And to do that we need to understand our perception. Which is what I think you are writing about here.

    Oh, baby's crying, and I"m modeling screen time for the toddler...