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Feb 9 2011

Don’t Call Me A Housewife…Or A Working Mother, I Hate That Too

By at 10:55 am

Not me.

I spent the happiest years of my life as a full-time “domestic engineer,” archaically known as a “housewife.” You know that line on forms where you have to write your occupation? Well, I used to write “CEO, Septimus Associates.” My husband was the CFO, but he didn’t write that on the forms because he had a “real job.”

I was and remain, deeply offended by the term “working mother” for those moms who work outside the home. What do you think we’re doing at home all day? WORKING! Hard, long hours for irrational bosses who don’t understand time off for lunch or even for private bathroom breaks. To this day, I will not share a meal at a restaurant. Away from my own kitchen table, I finally had a chance to eat something without sharing.

Now, few women (or men) have the luxury of (or interest in) being a full-time stay-at-home parent. But despite always sharing my food, having a little nose eye level with my “privates” in the bathroom, etc., etc., I loved being home with my kids. And believe it or not, I was never bored. I didn’t even mind the cleaning- I’m a neat-freak (all right, a little OCD) and to relax, I clean closets. At least I didn’t over-eat, smoke, or drink.

And I am an avid reader of good literary novels.

What I don’t like is cooking. The whole foodie thing today annoys me. I eat so I don’t faint (and, yes, I am still slim even after having four children.)

My kids once wrote a spoof of our family life and the Top Ten Septimus Family Meals were:

1) macaroni and cheese

2) quiche

3) macaroni and cheese

4) pizza (take-out)

5) macaroni and cheese

6) minute steaks

7) macaroni and cheese

8 ) lasagne

9) macaroni and cheese

10) leftovers

I admit that I was once asked for grilled cheese and said no, that I was not in the mood to cook.

When my machatenista (daughter-in-law’s mom) babysits for our grandchild, she brings sandwiches for our kids to take to lunch in the office and a pre-cooked dinner. My son told me that he had predicted that when the baby would sleep, his mother-in-law would be cooking and his mother would be reading. He was right, but at least I leave him the books after I’ve finished them. (I still can’t seem to open that intimidating Franzen novel yet, though.)

A little respect, please, appreciation and maybe even applause for the at-home parent. Believe me, they work hard.

And you know that other line on those forms that say “sex?” Well, I’ve always wanted to have the nerve to write, not M or F, but “yes.”

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6 Responses to Don’t Call Me A Housewife…Or A Working Mother, I Hate That Too

  1. teena says:

    great. i loved being home with my children. loved the games, the books, the cleaning, the crafts and the cooking together. i am privileged to enjoy alot of that when i babysit for my grandchildren. and yes, the answer to sex is yes!!!!

  2. Hi, this is an excellent post! I won’t bother you for recipes, but could you send me a list of good books to read?

  3. One of the greatest last lines I’ve seen on a blog post – or anywhere – in a long time!

  4. I use the term “working-for-pay mother.” A bit cumbersome, I admit, but it gets the point across, I hope.

  5. Ariel says:

    Go Sister!

    1. I find that taking care of a 1.5 year old is by far the hardest job I’ve ever had, and I have been a “corporate executive” – whatever that means.
    2. I find it hard to believe that you don’t like cooking as I have had your Shabbes food and its delicious.
    3. You MUST not be afraid of Franzen’s Freedom. It was one of the best books, if not the best book I have read in the last decade.

    Keep up the great posts, Renee!

  6. Sarah says:

    I really, really, really, really hope I can stay home full time once (if ever) I have kids. I’m glad to hear it’s not a requirement to cook a 5 course meal every night. :)


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