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A lady, renewing her driver’s licence, was asked by the female clerk for her occupation. She hesitated. The clerk said, ‘Do you have a job, or are you just…?’

‘Of course I have a job,’ snapped the lady. ‘I’m a Mom.’ ‘We don’t list Mom as an occupation. Housewife covers it,’ said the clerk.


I forgot her story until one day I was in a similar position. The clerk was a career woman. ‘What is your occupation?’ she asked. I replied, ‘I’m a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations.’ The clerk paused, impressed and I stared in wonder as my job was listed on the form. ‘Might I ask,’ said the clerk with new interest, ‘just what you do in your field?’


Coolly I heard myself say, ‘I have a continuing program of research (which mother doesn’t) in the laboratory and the field (indoors and outdoors). I’m working for my Masters (the whole darned family) and already have 4 credits (all daughters). Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day (24 is more like it). But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more of a satisfaction than just money.'


There was a note of respect as the clerk completed the form.


At home, buoyed by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants - ages 13, 7 and 3. I could hear our new experimental model (6 months) in the development program, testing out a new vocal pattern!


Motherhood! What a glorious career.

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