Maybe it’s my late mother, whose birthday falls today on the 2nd of May, who’s telling me, “Bob, write about mothers today!” And I will: A few years ago I attended a very interesting seminar on ‘The Servant Leader’ and the speaker asked the audience to introduce themselves. Two ladies got up rather hesitatingly and said, “We’re just mothers!” As the seminar proceeded the speaker asked the two ladies to stand up and told the audience that among all the professions, the work of a mother was the one he considered the most important.
I saw two very happy faces after that.
A woman, renewing her driver’s license at the County Clerk’s office was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself. “What I mean is..,” explained the recorder, “do you have a job or are you just a…?”
“Of course I have a job,” snapped the woman. “I’m a Mom.” “We don’t list ‘Mom’ as an occupation, ‘housewife’ covers it,” said the recorder emphatically.
She forgot about the incident till one she found herself in the same situation, this time at her own Town Hall. The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient and possessed of a high sounding title like, “Official Interrogator” or “Town Registrar.”
“What is your occupation?” she probed. What made her say it? She does not know. The words simply popped out, “I’m a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations!”
The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and looked up as though she had not heard right. The lady repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words. Then she stared with wonder as her pronouncement was written in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.
“Might I ask,” said the clerk with new interest, “just what you do in your field?”
Coolly, without any trace of fluster in her voice, the mother replied, “I have a continuing program of research, (what mother doesn’t) in the laboratory and in the field (normally she would have said indoors and out). I’m working for my Masters, (not just the master, the whole darned family!) and already have four credits (all daughters). Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities, (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it). But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money!”
There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk’s voice as she completed the form, stood up and personally ushered the lady to the door. As she drove into her driveway, buoyed up by her glamorous new career, she was greeted by her lab assistants — ages 13, 7, and 3. Upstairs she could hear her new experimental model, (a 6 month old baby) in the child development program, testing out a new vocal pattern. She felt she had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And she had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than “just another mom..!
Motherhood! What a glorious career! Especially when there’s a title on the door..!