A couple of weeks ago, we were setting up one of HB's bank accounts. Yes, 'one' of them, because my 6 month old already has three bank accounts. Kids these days...
While setting up the account the banker needed all of our information since we are trustees on the account. They asked James his occupation and then they asked mine. I smiled, pointed at HB, and said, "Mom." Which in itself, was a demonstration of my certainty in what I do. I'm a mom, and I'm at a point where I am proud to say that is my job. I love my job. It's taken me these 6 months to get to that point because I always feel the need to be doing MORE. Not that being a mom isn't enough, because I've come to find it's the most fulfilling job in the world. And it's tough sometimes, and it's full time. Being a mom is serious business. It's not sitting at home eating bon-bons and getting pedicures. I think it's just my personality though, where nothing is ever enough, as far as what I can do. I'm realizing the feeling is hard to put into words, but I think it stems from comparing myself to others, and having this inner dialogue of, "Oh she's a mom AND this and that, and I'm just a mom." It's like a need to be worthy of having the luxury of being home with my son all day. Anyway, now that I have taken that tangent, my point is, for me to say that my occupation, is being HB's mom was a big step for me, a step toward accepting myself and not feeling like I'm not enough.
Then we get the printed out document to look over to confirm the banker entered everything correctly. I scan through, and under "Mother's Occupation" I see that she typed "HOUSEWIFE."
No matter how I read it or said it to myself, I hated it. I don't know why. I think it's a very dated word, and in my opinion atleast, has a less than positive connotation.
It spun me into some temporary identity crisis/panic attack. Well, maybe not an attack, that might be a little dramatic. But my breathing did get labored and my head hurt and my chest was tight. I am NOT a HOUSEWIFE. Am I? I felt so judged. So undervalued.
I didn't get to the semi-logical thoughts until a few hours later. Why does HOUSEWIFE bother me so much? What does it mean to people? And to me? I asked some people and realize, housewife is different to everyone, but a majority of people's thoughts were along the lines of it being an old fashioned term, less appealing than 'Stay at Home Mom,' and meaning she doesn't contribute much but spends her husbands money. And I think that is sort of what I take it to mean as well. The term housewife makes the wife seem inferior to the husband.
In contrast, being a Mom means;
Being a cook
Being a maid
Being a dancer
Being a singer
Being an artist
Being a librarian
Being a mediator
Being an actor
Being a puppet master
Being a teacher
Being a coach
Being a pig, puppy, monkey, cow, and elephant
Being food. Not just making food, but BEING food.
I am a MOM.
In these short six months I've acquired more practical skills than I have in any job.
What I've learned is that it is important for me to feel like I am contributing to my family. And though I sometimes feel it needs to be a financial contribution, I realize that my contribution is more valuable than a paycheck [most of which would go to daycare if I did work away from home].
This doesn't mean I won't have some other form of an identity crisis in the near future. Because I assure you, I will.
Also, disclaimer: Those who are married and stay home, but not with children, I would not label you a housewife either, because again, I hate that term. It undercuts what any woman who stays home does. Running a household is like running a business. My main message is, "housewife" doesn't begin to describe what anyone "staying at home" does. Unless you really do stay at home, watch the Kardashians, eat ice cream and go shopping all day, then yes. You ARE a housewife. Live it up!
This post is probably the closest thing to a feminist rant you will get from me.