My husband did our taxes this year. All I had to do was sign the bottom to make it official. Simple enough. Until, I saw what he had listed next to my name as occupation. Evidently, I am a "Homemaker". Indeed, the top of the form indicated that it was the 21st century. For a split second I thought it was 1952 instead. Then, I remembered that I'm not at home making meatloaf, shining silver or adding just the right amount of starch to freshly-washed shirt collars, as I imagine the happy homemaker did in her day.
Anyway, I went ahead and signed the form because a) the IRS just wants our money, b) I was much obliged to my husband for doing the taxes, in the first place, and c) I'm just as confused as George is about the nature of my newfound occupation.
In my mind, the term "Stay-At-Home-Mom" and it's less-than-appealing acronym aren't exactly progressive alternatives to Homemaker. Contrary to the connotation, I have been known to venture into the world with and without my child, since I left the 9 to 5 world behind. I'm not a Victorian shut-in, for crying out loud. Of course, "Housewife" sounds terrible -- I'm no longer merely stuck in my house, as SAHM implies; I'm married to it. I'm certainly not a "Domestic Goddess" either. I don't define myself by my domesticity, nor could I call myself a goddess with a straight face.
On the flip side, I'm not considered a "Working Mom", which seems to suggest I sit at home watching talk shows all day. Or that I need to get paid for what I do all day, in order for it to be considered a meaningful contribution to society. Still, I wouldn't call myself a Working Mom, even if I could get away with it. Yes, caring for children is work. But Claire is a human being and my daughter, not a job.
Nothing's just right. We need to rebrand people.
I like to think of myself as "a woman who left her paying job to care for her child". That description represents my reality more accurately, but it certainly isn't very PR-friendly. My brain hurts trying to remember it or give proper consideration to an appropriate acronym. The term would not have fit on an IRS form either.
Claire calls me "Mama". I've become quite partial to being identified by that term. I think next year I'm going to put "Mama" on the tax return. Done. I'll leave the rebranding to the career women out there...
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