parents

Group therapy: Does 'occupation' go out the window when you become a mum?

Ami and her daughter.

 
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”? 

00:00 / ???