Titles Change Us
housewife – This word has always made me laugh. It is imbued with stereotypes and bourgeois notions. It reminds me of the 50’s adverts that one can still find at antique stores or grandmother’s basements. It erases all that women have contributed and are contributing to our society. Even assuming a woman chooses to interrupt her career in order to focus on her family, this does not mean that she has abandoned all that she once strove to achieve. It does not imply that she has forgotten all that she worked so hard to accomplish. It is a fork in the road and she chose a different path.
full time mom – When I hear this phrase I immediately picture myself as a half of a person. It’s as though all the me that is woman, wife, friend is eliminated. It reduces me to the most basic of providers. It connotes feeding and taking away sharp objects and keeping clean clothes at the ready. It is only the me that wipes noses, cuddles, soothes and coos. I love that part of me, but it really is only just a small part. So how can I say I am full time mom when I am a full time everything.
stay at home mom – This may be the worst offender, though I’ve heard myself use it any number of times. This phrase screams laziness and immobility. It makes me think of lumps on logs and droopy faced women in house slippers. When am I ever at home. I am at the grocery store, library, gymnastics class, piano class, pharmacy, doctor, more often than I am home. I run from one errand to the next. I jump into the car rushing to the next activity. I am late for a doctor’s appointment, so, with one child on my hip and the other by my side, I jog towards the building. Where is the stay part.
homemaker – This is the least offensive of the titles. It’s also one of the more accurate ones. My real problem with it is that at the end of the day I look around me and get depressed when I analyze how little homemaking I actually accomplish. When I have one of those not-so-stay-at-home days and the house is a disaster and dinner is leftovers and the kids are dirty and I’m grumpy and the bills still need to be paid, well, I haven’t been much of a homemaker that day and the title doesn’t apply. It’s hard when the one title I would most want is the most difficult to keep.