The officer at the driving license counter asked the lady: “What is your occupation?”
The woman, seeking a renewal of her license seemed to be puzzled, so the officer said, “Ma’am, are you employed, have your own business or…”
“Oh yes!’ The woman replied, “I do have a full-time occupation. I am a mother!”
The officer rolled his eyes: “We don’t have ‘mother’ as an option for occupation. I’ll write it down as ‘housewife’. That takes care of all questions.”
This had happened long ago, and was forgotten. Years later, when I (the woman in the story, if you hadn’t guessed) went to get my license, the public relations officer was a somewhat pompous woman.
“Your occupation?” she asked in a rather authoritative tone.
I just had a moment ofinspiration and replied “I am a researcher in the field of child development, nutrition and inter-personal relationships.”
The lady officer stared at me in amazement.
I calmly repeated my statement and she wrote it down verbatim. Then, unable to conceal her curiosity, she politely asked “What exactly do you do in your profession, ma’am?”
I was feeling good about having described my occupation so calmly and confidently. so I replied “My research projects have been going on for a number of years (mothers NEVER retire). My research is conducted in the laboratory as well as in the field. I have two bosses (one is God and the other is my entire family). I have received two honors in this field (a son and a daughter). My topic is considered to be the most difficult part of sociology (all moms will agree). I have to work more than 14 hours every day. Sometimes even 24 hours are not enough and the challenges are tougher than many other professions. My compensation is in terms of mental satisfaction rather than money.”
I could see that the officer was thoroughly impressed. After completing the licensing formalities, she came to the door to see me off.
This new viewpoint about my occupation made me feel much better on my way back home.
I was welcomed by my 5-year-old research assistant at the door. My new project (my 6-month old baby) was energetically practicing her ‘music.’
I had earned a small victory over the governmental red tape today. I was no longer merely ‘a mother.’ Instead, I was now a highly placed functionary in a service vital to mankind – motherhood!
‘Mother’ – isn’t it a great title? Fit to be added to the nameplate on the door?
By this standard, grandmothers deserve to be called senior research officers, and great-grandmothers qualify as ‘research directors.’ Aunts and other ladies of that age group can be called ‘research facilitators’!