Somehow, I have always found the “Do you work or are you at-home?” a difficult question to answer. The answer is yes. Yes, I do work. Yes, I am at-home. There is an awkward silence followed by the “I wish I was lucky enough to be at-home,” or, equally awkward, “I don’t know if I could stand being at home all day.” I’m not sure how to answer those comments either. There seems to be an under-the-surface battle between the work-ers and the at-home-ers. It’s fought with subtle comments and internal struggle–at least for some of us.
Since I am at-home, I can’t fully speak to the work-ers. What I do know is there are many reasons a mom goes to work. The two I am aware of is financial and fulfillment. It’s a tough economic world, and bills need to be paid. Many homes have two incomes. The other reason for mom going to work is a sense of fulfillment. What does one do with that college education–0r other training–except benefit the world with those mad skills. There is something wonderful about being able to know and do something and get paid for it. Not everyone is working because they just love it. Usually there is a myriad of reasons. We are complicated creatures.
So, I speak as one who is at-home. My reasons are equally complicated. I have a college education and have marketable skills. It is both a sacrifice and a gift to be at home.
But, regardless of my reasons, there is a part of me that feels a bit apologetic about my at-home status. Like I need to ramp it up to make it sound more impressive. I do know that what I am doing is important–even if others don’t see it. The main issue is many people don’t know what at-home-ers do. So, I think I have found my solution by labeling my activities as my job the next time someone asks me what I do for a living. Every effort I make does reduce the amount of money we shell out, so it’s a reverse sort of payout. Hugs, kisses and magic memories count too, but, as wonderful as they may be, they don’t pay the rent. The following are some important definitions to consider. While most of them are definition 1, I cannot fool myself into thinking I am getting paid. The first two are not occupations but are foundational to understand, from my perspective, how I can honestly state I have those jobs. Thanks dictionary.com.
1. a person’s usual or principal work or business, especially as a means of earning a living; vocation: Her occupation was dentistry.
2. any activity in which a person is engaged.
3. a. extremely competent in a job, etc
b. (of a piece of work or anything performed) produced with competence or skill
Here are some of my recent jobs:
1. a person who arranges or cuts hair.
1. the chief cook, especially in a restaurant or hotel, usually responsible for planning menus, ordering foodstuffs, overseeing food preparation, and supervising the kitchen staff.
2. any cook.
1. a person who bakes.
a woman whose occupation is sewing.
1. a person engaged in writing books, articles, stories, etc.,especially as an occupation or profession; an author or journalist.
I thought about adding waste management professional. Which is defined, according to Wikipedia, as the collection, transport, processing, recycling or disposal, and monitoring of waste materials. Any mother–and every equally engaged dad–knows more than one would like to know about collecting, transporting and disposing of waste materials. It’s just not a job most people want to talk about further.
It’s taken me about a week to get these words out. It speaks a little about my job which takes me on a new road with twists and turns everyday.