The other day I was at the doctor's office. I was a new patient to this particular doctor, so I was sitting in the waiting room completing the mounds of new patient forms. I am rather adept at completing forms and was whizzing right along when - wham! I hit the form version of a brick-wall. The question that always stops me short. Occupation.
I left the corporate world more than six years ago and I still don't have an answer to this question. I am not sure which is worse - the question with a blank to fill in, or the question with a list of multiple choice answers to choose from. Inevitably I feel that whatever I end up using to answer the question is woefully inadequate and downright pathetic.
Let's review some of my past answers. Retired. I did in fact retire from the workforce if by retire you stop working and are not actively looking for work. But alas, *retired* invokes a vision of relaxing time spent traveling, visiting museums, knitting, reading, playing mahjong. Last I checked I do none of these things.
My next potential answer: unemployed. Ouch - for six years? While technically true, this one makes it sound like I am looking for a new job and am such a loser I haven't found one.
Student? Only if you count tennis class or the time I spend volunteering in my children's classrooms.
Then I move on to the ones that are a bit closer to home, yet still don't nail it. Homemaker? That may be setting expectations a bit too high. When I think of a Homemaker I envision someone who bakes yummy treats for their family, cleans the house and folds the laundry more than when their children and husband start yelling that they are out of pajamas, socks and underwear. Nope, not a homemaker.
Stay-at-home mom could be it. When I first stopped working that seemed the obvious answer. As my children got older I began to realize this was also a misnomer, and now that they are in school I realize it is an outright lie. Ride-in-the-van mom is more accurate. I only wish I could stay at home for more than the fifteen minutes it takes to drop off the groceries and run to my next errand, appointment, volunteer commitment, bar. The longest period of time I spend at home is when I am asleep. This may also explain why I don't have time to bake, clean and do other things that would qualify me as a *homemaker*.
And finally I occasionally resort to the absurd answers, but even those are lacking. CEO of the household doesn't fit because a CEO needs to generate income or they get canned. I don't generate income unless you count the things I sell for fundraisers. I would also prefer not to be at the head of things in the event that the stockholders become disenchanted.
So at the end of the day I am left with no accurate answer and either just pick something at random or leave it blank and try to tell myself it doesn't really matter. Besides, I have to finish these forms, see the doctor and get out of here. I have a van to drive around.