Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Occupation of Mothering

I was completing a financial document yesterday evening, which, at one point, after a slew of other invasive questions, asked for my job description. Upon searching the drop-down box for something that even remotely resembled what I do everyday, the closest explaination available was "housewife." I bristle at that term. HOUSEWIFE. Yes, I married a wonderful man a decade ago, so, proudly, I am indeed, a wife. And, yes, every morning I wake up in a house- my house. But neither house nor wife, nor the combo of the two, identifies me or my significance as a human being. I am not a housewife. I am a woman, a mother, a powerful soul who has chosen the path of full-time child rearing as my career- not out of convenience or because i'd exhausted my other options, or because of economic prosperity (to the contrary- actually- for anyone who has given birth knows that there is nothing convenient about mothering and for my husband and I, the financial road has been a difficult one at times, as a result of our decision to live solely on his income). Rather, this occupation of mine- it is an intentional path for the mutual benefit of my own soul, coupled with the spiritual growth of the children I chose to bear. I am a feminist- I am grateful to the women who came before me, the pioneers of the women's movement, who bore the cross of oppression so that I could be free to choose full-time mothering with these beings that I helped to create, and I respect the choices of some of my dearest friends, who are equally grateful for their opportunity to venture outside of the family nucleus everyday to pursue paid employment. My hope, for my own daughter, as a future woman and perhaps, mother, is that she is fully able to perceive her choices in life, not in an either/or kind of way, but in stages, if she feels so inclined. And that when she has to check the box on a form, devulging her occupation, I dream that she will find "mother" listed there with as much dignity and respect as all of the other professional careers she could also pursue.


jen said...

I love your John Holt quote. And of course MLK. :)

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Forty-three year-old, mother and staunch advocate of four young children, passionate warrior of truth and self, finding the soul in each day, sharing my struggles and triumphs as I live them. Mostly I do this for me, so my thoughts don't race as much at night as they used to. But I also give this to those of you who need to know, in any or every way, that you are not alone.

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