In the post office, a woman was paying her utility bills and was asked by the officer incharged to state her occupation. She hasitated, incertain how to classify herself.
"What I mean is," explained the officer, "do you have a job? Or you are just a...?"
"Of course I have a job," snapped the woman . "I'm a mum."
"But we don't list 'Mum' as an occupation, 'housewife' covers it." said the officer emphatically.
I forgot this situation until one day I found myself in the same situation again, this time in the town hall. The clerk was obviously a career woman and possessed of a high-souding title like Officer interrogator or Town registrar. "Whats your occupation, madam?" she probed.
What made me say it? I really don't know. The words simply just popped out from my mouth.
" I'm a reasearch associate in the field of child development and human relation."
The clerk was stunned, ball-point pen frozen in midair and looked up as though she had not heard right. I repeated the title slowly empahsising the most significant words.
Then I started with wonder as my pronouncement was written in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.
"Might I ask," ask the clerk with new interest," just what you do in your field??"
Without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply unconciously : "I have a continuing programme of research (what mother dosen't) in the laboratory and in the field (house and outdoors). I'm working for my Masters, (fisrt the Lord and the whole family) and already have four credits. (all daugthers)
"Of course, the job is one most demanding in the humanities ( any mother care to disagree??? ) and i often work 14 hours out of 24. (24 is more like it)
"But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more of satisfaction 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 me to the door with full of honour.
As i drove into our driveway, I was greeted by my lab assistants - ages 13, seven and three.
Up stairs i could hear our new experimental model, a six-month-old baby, in child development programme, testing out new vocal pattern like Mj.
Motherhood! What a glorious career. Especially when there's a title on the door!