I had to fill out one of the innumerable child-related registration forms recently.  It was an oddly detailed form in order to register Middle for gymnastics.  It asked my occupation and I sat there, pen hovering above the blank line, at a complete loss as to what to write.

“Engineer”?  No, that wasn’t right.  I have no plans to go back to my job – or any job remotely related to it – when the leave of absence that I am on ends.

“Homemaker”?  I am pretty sure that term is several decades out of fashion and what exactly does a homemaker do anyway?  Pin hundreds of projects on pinterest and then never get around to actually doing them because you are too busy doing the laundry, making five meals a day, and trying to read a book that does not have any pictures in it?

“Mother”?  Well I certainly am one of those – three times over – but that isn’t an occupation; or is it?

“Student”?  Does taking a class two nights a week count?  What if it’s a hard class?

“Lactation Educator”?  Well, I do consider myself one, but does it count if I have never actually been paid for my services.  What if I’ve applied for lactation-related jobs, but haven’t gotten any yet?

“Writer”?  The form isn’t asking what I would love to be but rather what I am.

I put the pen down, put the form back up on the fridge and felt as if all the air had left my soul.  I had no idea what I was.  I wasn’t even entirely sure what I wanted to be if I had the chance; do I have to pick just one?  And then I went and made dinner because no matter how Mama feels, everyone wants to eat.  I had class that night and I could hardly concentrate.  I kept blinking back tears.  And then I came home and cried.  Hard.  For a long time.  What the hell am I doing leaving a well paying job with good benefits?  Sure they’ve discriminated against me, denied me a promotion or transfers, it’s a three hour round trip drive to and from work, and there’s an intermittent air quality problem that was making me sick that hasn’t been solved.  But it’s not as if I am working in a coal mine.   I could be a stay at home mom, a homemaker if you want to go vintage, for a year or two and it will be fun, relaxing even,  but what happens after that?  What if I don’t get into school after taking finishing my prerequisites?  And how do we keep the kids in their perfect, lovely private school if we do that?  Is impossible that I should be able to have a fulfilling career and that the kids should get a nice house in a safe neighborhood and a good education?  Are women doomed to always being mothers first; to the ultimate end of subjugating themselves?

In the end came to my senses; well aware that the folks at gymnastics class don’t really give a damn what I do as long we pay for the class.  I left the form blank.  That felt like the most honest choice of all.


4 thoughts on “Blank

  1. I hear you! I quit my “good job” in April and while I love staying home, I also stress about private school, money and What Am I Going to Do Later. So I try to focus on the day to day, because, you know, those kids need to keep eating 😉 I swear I am spending my life doling out snacks and meals.

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