Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happy Homemaker

He was a tricky one.  Smooth, I tell you.  He jumped strait from,"Hi, this is Brian from the Blah Blah agency doing a 1 minute survey on home products." to "What brand vacuum do you own?"  He missed the middle step.  The part where he asks if I want to be part of the survey.  The part where I politely decline and hang up the phone.  One minute I am making snacks, the next I am stammering, "um, um, um.... Hoover?"

One thing this guy did have going for him was that his survey really only took a minute and it wasn't very intrusive.  Until he got to the last question, "What is your occupation?"   

This is how these things start, you know.  One minute you are sucked into a phone survey, the next you are contemplating your occupation.  Or at least, this is how it works for me. 

Homemaker.  That is what I said. 

Which is weird, because for the last 8 years I have preferred the SAHM moniker.  Modern.  Descriptive. 

"I am not a maid" my mom-friends and I would say, while sitting amongst toddlers, scooping sand into buckets.  "I am not the cook."  Because, you know, those things still needed to be shared.  Like how it was before kids.  We were still stinging from not taking home a college-degree-earned-fast-track-career paycheck. "I am a Mom first." we would say. "That is my job."

Why did I say Homemaker?  I don't think I have ever called myself that.  Homemaker is that women on the front of the Betty Crocker Cookbook.  You know, fluffy hair and apron?  The one with the cookies and the vacuum?

When the kids were really little, to say I was a Homemaker would have meant that I was in charge of those other things as well as taking care of the kids.  When really I was just clinging to sanity with the strength of disposable-diaper velcro. I am the first to admit that I didn't make the transition to SAHM gracefully.  There was post-partum depression that hung on in waves, well into combo car-seat years. Most days there was no vacuuming, no broad smile, no fluffy hair or clean apron.   

People always said it would get easier as the kids got bigger.  They were right.  You get more sleep and more time to yourself.  There are other challenges though.  Lots of driving, for one.  And more emotional hurdles then physical ones. Homework and attitudes instead of diapers and tantrums.

Both my kids will go to school in the fall.  In so many ways the Homemaker title is more appropriate to my new role.   A raise and new business cards would have been a nice transition.  But hey, a phone survey and a knock on the noggin from my unconscious will do also. Life is messy that way. Good thing I have an apron and a vacuum!