Undetermined self

16 Apr

The twenty year-old me is yelling through the years, ‘I would never live in a time or place where official forms said Profession: House Wife.’

And the forty year-old me is whispering back, ‘If you’re so awesome, why are your cigarettes menthol?’

16 Responses to “Undetermined self”

  1. Deborah April 16, 2009 at 10:32 am #

    I’m still finding it very, very hard to write ‘Housewife’ on forms. But I refuse to use any other professional title. I’m doing a bit of other work, but not a lot, at all, so it seems wrong and dishonest not to claim ‘housewife.’

    I also try not to be ironic about it. Because irony would be exceedingly rude to other housewives.

  2. ThirdCat April 16, 2009 at 10:41 am #

    Yes, well, the 20 year old me can be quite rude on account of seeing everything in black and white – actually, at times I wish I had been a bit ruder, then other times I’m ashamed of myself for being even as rude as I was, so I don’t know.

  3. ThirdCat April 16, 2009 at 10:46 am #

    oh. now I’m confused. Did you see a version with, ‘without a touch of irony’ written into it? Or did you just write that about irony? How odd. Because I originally had something like

    ‘I would never live in a time or place where official forms said, without a touch or irony, Profession: House Wife.’

    and then I took it out because in fact, that would be very awkward to shout.

    So now I don’t know whether I posted it, you saw it in your reader and commented on that version, and then I changed it or whether your irony comment was something you put in.


  4. franzy April 16, 2009 at 11:00 am #

    For Chandler’s sake! You’ve got a book published!
    Put “Writer” on every occupation you come across! So far Mele and I have put it on our marriage certificate and Charlie’s birth certificate, setting in stone that we are going to have to publish a lot to avoid some pretty embarrassing questions later in life.
    “Why’d you put THAT?” Charlie will ask. “You don’t even write a shopping list!”

  5. ThirdCat April 16, 2009 at 11:03 am #

    Not always possible.

  6. kate April 16, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    Years ago, when I was still studying, and not a mother, I worked as an admin assistant a few days a week. All the women I worked with were in their proper job, a job they were planning to keep doing til their super kicked in or they won lotto, and it became clear to me that all the people who asked when I was going to get a ‘real’ job, when I finished uni, were being incredibly rude about the people I worked with. So I stopped writing ‘student’ on forms and started writing ‘admin assistant’. It wasn’t what I wanted to do forever, but it was true right then and there. Now, whatever you’re doing, is your real job. So right now my real job is to be a housewife, so I may as well own it and make the most of it (except for the vacuuming, I’m not owning it or doing it). Maybe in a few months it will be something else, and then I’ll put that on the form.

  7. Jo Pankhurst April 16, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    I think one of the most under appreciated jobs is “House wife” it is also one of the most important! relish it while you can, just enjoy being a Mum for a bit, you will appreciate it years from now when your kids have left home and only ring when they want something

  8. Megan April 16, 2009 at 4:45 pm #

    Housewife takes some getting used to. I think because I came from that generation of girls in the early 80s who were told to go and break through the glass ceiling.

    Just as I got used to being a housewife, and shouted it proudly from the rooftops, I got a paid job once again. Now I’m a housewife and a salarywoman. On most forms I put ‘mother’.

  9. mary April 16, 2009 at 5:18 pm #

    Home maker?

    I do recall most vividly having the same difficulties.

    My 20 year old self would have been smoking Kent though..

  10. planetnomad April 16, 2009 at 5:40 pm #

    Sigh… it’s hard to get used to, but for women overseas sooo much simpler! I put “femme de foyer” and no one bugs me. I put “professeur d’anglais” and they ask me about taxes; I put “ecrivainne” and they jump on me to find out if I’m a scary journalist. All are true (except I’m not a journalist; just a writer). But housewife, although it galls, simplifies my life while it eats at my pride.

  11. Kath Lockett April 17, 2009 at 10:50 am #

    I’m with Franzy – put WRITER, because your book is fantastic!!! And to avoid ‘housewife’ or, indeed ‘struggling freelancer’ I’ve also been known to scratch in ‘self-employed.’ Hah.

  12. Helen April 17, 2009 at 4:21 pm #

    “Femme de foyer”? Is that a woman who hangs out in the foyer? And TC, I would have thought you’d earned the right to put “writer”.

  13. Deborah April 18, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    I think I must have seen it in the feedwriter, and came here and commented without re-reading the post. Because I do recall irony in the post.

    ‘Femme de foyer’ sounds good. But I might have to put ‘femme de non foyer’ because most of the time my housewifery consists of finding new and interesting ways to not to the housework.

    Whereas you, Third Cat, have definitely earned the title, ‘writer.’ Or ‘author.’

  14. Deborah April 18, 2009 at 10:28 am #

    That would be a feed reader, not a feed writer. Slippery…

  15. ampersandduck April 20, 2009 at 6:11 am #

    I can see, though, the difficulty in listing yourself as ‘writer’ for some of the countries in your new region. You might get a bit of curry occasionally, so maybe console yourself that you will get a quieter life this way.

  16. Kate June 10, 2009 at 5:26 am #

    My teenage self is screaming at me about that house in the suburbs and my normal life.

    She’s just jealous.

    Also, my life is SO not normal.

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