When filling out immigration forms on my recent trip out of the country, I had to write down my occupation. Unsure of what to put, I scribbled housewife quickly so I could move on to the next section with my borrowed pen. Although looking back, I should have wrote stay-at-home-mom. Either way, I was unprepared for the slight pang of embarrassment that accompanied the task of answering the seemingly simple question. At least when I worked part-time in North Carolina and Oklahoma I could have answered editor or college instructor and still held on to the moniker stay-at-home-mom. But not now. In the eyes of foreign officials, I have no professional identity.
Clay often states that I am too hard on myself – that some of my goals are impossible for mere mortals to achieve, let alone little old me. He probably isn’t too far off from the truth. Soon after Weston was born, I wrote how motherhood tested my confidence every hour of the day. For me, it wasn’t as simple as calling, “Here fishy, fishy, fishy.” And three years later, I am still Bert in the above scenario. For whatever reason, I have it set in my mind that if I am a stay-at-home-mom, I have to exceed in all categories of job performance, in addition to carrying business cards that read ‘Practically Perfect in Every Way’. This means that I end up feeling like an impostor 94% of the time.
I have to wonder if this is because I currently don’t have a professional identity outside of singing the ABCs and pleading with a preschooler to use the potty. Please don’t misinterpret this post as whining…after all, I choose to stay home. And whenever I browse job listings, I can’t bring myself to apply for a position that will take me outside of the home for a significant amount of time. I am just not ready…yet. I know I will go back to work full-time eventually. I miss it too much not to. But in the meantime, I am just going to have to find a balance between my expectations and reality. Any ideas?