<< A few months ago, when I was picking up the children at school, another
>>mother I knew well rushed up to me. Emily was fuming with indignation.
>>"Do you know what you and I are?" she demanded. Before I could answer
>>blurted out the reason for her question.
>>It seemed she had just returned from renewing her driver's license at
>>County Clerk's office. Asked by the woman recorder to state her
>>"occupation," Emily had hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.
>>"What I mean is," explained the recorder, "Do you have a job, or are you
>>just a ......?"
>>"Of course I have a job," snapped Emily. "I'm a mother."
>>"We don't list 'mother' as an occupation...'housewife' covers it," said
>>I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same
>>situation, this time at our own Town Hall. The Clerk was obviously a
>>woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high-sounding title, like
>>"Official Interrogator" or "Town Registrar "And what is your
>>What made me say it, I do not know. The words simply popped out.
>>Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human
>>The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in mid-air, and looked up as
>>she had not heard right. I repeated the title slowly, emphasizing the
>>significant words. Then I stared with wonder as my pompous pronouncement
>>written in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.
>>"Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest, "just what you do in
>>Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply,
>>have a continuing program of research (what mother doesn't) in the
>>laboratory and in the field (normally I would have said indoors and
>>I'm working for my Masters (the whole darned family) and already have
>>credits (all daughters). Of course, the job is one of the most
>>the humanities (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours
>>day (24 is more like it). But the job is more challenging than most
>>run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are in satisfaction rather than
>>There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she
>>completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door. As
>>drove into our driveway buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was
>>by my lab assistants---age 13, 7, and 3. And upstairs, I could hear our
>>experimental model (six months) in the child-development program,
>>out a new vocal pattern. I felt triumphant. I had scored a beat on
>>bureaucracy. And I had gone down on the official records as someone more
>>distinguished and indispensable to mankind than "just another......"
>>Home...what a glorious career. Especially when there's a title on the
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