I was just making some pizza dough and sauce for dinner tonight. Yes, I make my own pizza dough and sauce. Not because I some super mom, not because it is cheaper and tastes better (I believe), but because I like to and I can, and it is just the way I am. I was recently with some friends when the conversation came up about making pizza and I received a sort of smart comeback from someone, saying 'and I bet you make your own sauce'. Sometimes it is hard to decipher when a comment as meant as a criticism, a compliment or if it comes from a place of feeling inadequate.
I see this often amongst women. We seem to all harbour some feelings of falling short in some area of our lives. We feel guilty if we go off to work and leave our children in daycare or with a nanny, we feel guilty if we don't get time for ourselves, or follow our own desired career path - and the list goes on and on. You really can't win at times.
I often feel stumped when it comes to the 'Occupation' or 'what do you do for a living' questions on forms or in conversations. I don't actually make a 'living' as is implied in North America to mean money. As far as occupation goes, as to what occupies my time, well that would be my children, but I can't say I am a mum, because does that mean that my friends with children who go to work are not mums, no it doesn't. And I can't say I am a stay at home mum, because we don't stay at home (ask my dad, he has a better relationship with message machine, much to his chagrin). I am not a housewife, as I am not married to my house. I do make some money selling pots, but that is not a living. I do homeschool my children, but that doesn't make a teacher. And I am not hung up titles, but I find it all very interesting.
I was once at a cocktail party when a woman asked me what I did and I said I had two children that I stayed at home with. She sort of hmmmmed and then turned away. Done with me I thought. For a long time I felt as though perhaps she thought I had nothing to offer as I did not work outside the home, but one day when I retold the story to a friend who did work outside the home, she said perhaps the woman felt guilt or intimidation by this. I was astounded, we are raised in a world where we seem to believe we should do everything, have a career, raise our children, be athletic, artistic, philanthropic and the list goes on. I also believe we live in a time where we are able to choose which path is the correct one for each of us. Whether it is to have children, or not, have nannies, day care, go to work, stay at home, homeschool, send the children to school, whatever, it really is what works for each individual person. I believe we need to support each other in these ventures and really feel confident in our decisions. We make the best ones that we can at that time. No one can predict the future, we just need to live in the moment. We need to not be so sensitive to comments, that might not be coming from where we think they are. We need to not be judgmental, but supportive. If we can't support each other in this big sister hood, then who will?
When I refer to we, I think in some great way, I am referring to myself. And as for the forms, I sometimes leave them blank, or put in what ever I feel at the moment artist, mother, home learner, COO of a small human development organization, etc.. Because really, at the end of the day it is often irrelevant and what is most important is being content with who I am and what I do, title or no title.