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

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.”

Renee SeptimusRenée Septimus is a social worker and Jewish educator. She lives with her husband Joe on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and is the very proud mom of four married children and a savta (that's Hebrew for grandmother) to a (growing) bunch of absolutely perfect grandchildren!

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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