Having moved across the country twice in the same decade, I think I am qualified enough to tell you that the most annoying part of the whole process is switching over one’s car insurance, registration and license.
(One thing I loved about Arizona was that your license was valid for like 40 years. So I could have waltzed into a bar at age 60 and flashed an ID featuring a shining, newly married 26-year-old face. I was tempted to stay in the desert for that reason alone.)
When I called our insurance company a few weeks ago to make the switch, I also let them know that one car would only be driven part time because I was now staying home with my son.
Our insurance documents arrived a week later with Mike listed as a “senior communications specialist” and me listed as a “homemaker.”
I blinked a few times at that word: Homemaker.
I conjured up the image of a circa-1955 version of myself, clad in a flower-print dress, with perfectly coifed hair and a juicy pot roast in the oven. I became a little irritated. It felt old fashioned at best, condescending at worst.
I thought of how they should have listed me: College graduate with 9 years of work experience in journalism and public relations who is currently raising her son full-time because he doesn’t do well in daycare and because this is what’s best for her family – at least for now. Oh, plus, she also does some social media consulting work from home. And she blogs. Boom.
I suppose the card wasn’t big enough for all that; and frankly, I couldn’t come up with a better suggestion than “homemaker,” so I shrugged it off (and dutifully went back to all my cleaning, laundry and child-rearing chores).
This week, Mike and I were chatting with a new acquaintance who politely asked, “So what do you both do?” Mike told him all about the marketing/advertising agency he is working for; I froze. I still hadn’t found the words I was comfortable with to describe my new role. Do I simply “stay home”? Am I a “stay-at-home mom”? Do I work enough to call myself a “work-from-home mom”? Do I tell him that I stay at home now, but just three months ago I had a pretty cool title? If I say I’m a “homemaker,” will he laugh me right back to 1955??
I mumbled something like, “Oh, I stay home with my son.” To his credit, he quipped, “Oh, so you work harder than Mike does.”
(As you might imagine, I instantly liked this guy.)
I’m not a huge fan of labels just for the sake of labeling. But I need to find a way to vocalize what I do that doesn’t make me feel insecure or sound defensive. There’s that whole “CEO of the Home” trend, but that’s not really my style. My home ran fine when there were two working parents, so to take all the credit now is a little meaningless for me.
I am open to ideas and suggestions … what do I do?