There I was at the local gym, pram in tow with my seven-month-old daughter jabbering away in it, preparing to sign up and rediscover my waist (seriously, where did it go?!)
My boyfriend is with me as he packed on some preggers kgs himself and isn’t loving the firm fit of his jeans. A lovely young guy is taking us through the questions, pretty general stuff like name, address, goals… Then we get to occupation.
He looks at my partner who naturally responds with his job title of ‘male escort’ – no I’m kidding, he said graphic designer.
Then it happens - he glances at me, then to the pram and back to my form and with his pen pops a line straight through ‘occupation’. No questions asked. Let me clarify – I love being a mother.
It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever done, easily eclipsing travelling and sky-diving and all those sorts of experiences for me. I never thought I could love something more than my dog but woah, this Mum bizzo is next-level love.
All I’m saying is, yes, I am proud to be a mum. However, I do other stuff too.
Like work. Yeah, from home with my daughter making it difficult and tedious, but I work and I work hard. Mama doesn’t bring home the bacon but makes the bacon at home.
Okay, now I sound like I have a backyard s laughter house – not the case. Anyway, even if I didn’t work and was a stay at home mum, it shocked me that that wouldn’t even be listed as an occupation. Because mumming is seriously HARD work in its own right.
I’d already been feeling a tad sensitive from the regular question s since becoming a mother: ‘So, what do you do all day?’, and this was just another blow to my pride I guess. I’m not angry at the young guy at all, but it just got me thinking about it a lot: How much of our self worth can rest on our capacity to earn money and support ourselves financially. How society has me sometimes thinking that being ‘just a mum’ isn’t enough.
It almost feels like I’m trying to tell the world (read: the local gym receptionist) that I’m not ‘just a mum’, despite the fact that I truly believe that being ‘just a mum’ is more than enough (enough for who? I don’t even know). How maybe people believe that being a mum is enough and maybe working alongside mumming is unexpected. Why do I even care that I didn’t get to have my job title written down on the stupid form?!
It really highlights the importance that is placed on occupation within society, which is something I’d perhaps just never noticed prior to this post-baby identity crisis that I appear to be having.
Why do you think young lets’s-call-him-Tommy crossed out occupation without asking me the question?
Would it bother you? Should he have at least written mum?
Whatever the case may be I feel better having let my thoughts loose. Aahh, thanks guys.
Now, off to the gym I go.
Have you been in a situation like this? Do you consider motherhood a job? Should forms include an option to tick “mum”?