Saturday, March 12, 2011

Occupation: Homemaker

Tax season is in full swing and I'm up to my eyeballs in work, so I really shouldn't be posting. I just don't have time. Our house is a wreck and there is way too much laundry waiting to be done. If I am going to steal a few minutes away from the piles of files it really should be to do something other than post, but oh well. I had this thought yesterday (while preparing returns) that started simmering and I just have to get it out of my system.

You may or may not have noticed, but on the second page of Form 1040 that practically everyone has to file every year, there's a line next to where you sign that is designated for your occupation. So far this year, I've prepared returns for 100+ people and the occupations have ranged anywhere from Physician to Automotive Technician and from Teacher to Chief Operating Officer. They run the gamut. But, out of all those returns there have only been about two people who have chosen to list Homemaker as their occupation. Out of that entire handful of people, do I really think that only two were Homemakers? No way. Why? Because I'm technically a Homemaker, too. But is that what I list on my tax return? No way. After all, I have a college degree. I prepare taxes, do bookkeeping, stage houses for real estate professionals, attend births as a certified doula, etc, etc. I truly am a Jill of All Trades. (And probably a master of none, as well, but we won't go there.) The actual amount of time I spend doing all of those things as compared to the amount of time I spend doing at-home-mom things, though, is not even close to equal. The bulk of my time is spent shuttling our boys, shopping for groceries, chasing our boys, preparing meals, cleaning up after meals, entertaining our boys, picking up the house, picking up the house (it was no mistake that was listed twice), doing laundry, etc, etc. So, why does my tax return say Accountant beside my name? Because Homemaker feels insignificant. It feels unaccomplished and ordinary. Anyone could be a Homemaker. When I picture a Homemaker, it's someone like June Cleaver - whose be all and end all in life is to maintain a spotless house day in and day out, have dinner on the table at 5:30 on the dot and do it all while wearing a dress, heels and lipstick. That's just not me. It's not what fulfills me.

But then, yesterday, I realized there's a difference. According to Webster, a house is a building, a residence, a place of shelter. The kinds of things that I associated with being a Homemaker have more to do with keeping-a-house. Being a Housekeeper. That is something I most definitely don't want to do.

But a home? That's different. A home is the place in which one's domestic affections are centered. A dwelling place or retreat. To me, that difference is significant. It's a big deal. And, here's the key - NOT EVERY HOUSE IS A HOME.

If I can be the driving force responsible for creating a haven and refuge for the ones I love most in this world, then there's nothing I want more. So, I think I'm going to change my return. This year, it'll read Sarah Taylor: Homemaker. (And proud of it!)