“So, what do you do?”

He eagerly waited for my reply. I stared at him for what felt like a beat too long. Finally I heard myself say, “I’m just a mom.” Soon as the words came out of my mouth I regretted them. It has been harder than expected erasing “just” from my vocabulary. The woman sitting next to him clapped, apparently in excitement that I chose this profession, but then with kindness reprimanded me for using the word “just.” She built me up reminding me that I’m not “just” a mom and that being one is a high calling and a viable job. In my heart I know this, but I always struggle with how to answer the question, especially in business settings like the one where this conversation took place.

stay-at-home-momI’m definitely not a stay at home mom. I find that phrase a bit demeaning, anyway. “Stay at home, Mom!” My babies and I are often not home as we fill our days playing at the park, walking through woodland trails, running errands, going to the gym, visiting museums, hanging out at play dates, etc. The phrase doesn’t begin to cover my role and what I do.

I’ve tried telling people I’m a full-time mom but I find that offensive to my working mom friends. Of course they are also full time moms. I admire and support my friends who work and don’t want to use a phrase that belittles them. We need moms everywhere: at home, at work, in public office, in boardrooms and more.

Replying with “I’m CEO of the house” just seems silly. And if I’m CEO what does that make my husband? Someone who sleeps with upper Management? Actually I think he’d be OK with that.

I’ve even replied with “I’m a mom” but that seems so abrupt and also doesn’t paint the whole picture. Besides the mommyhood phase I’m in is very different than the phase of a woman in her 50’s. Although we both have the title of Mom, our jobs vastly differ.

Recently I’ve heard of the new title “Mompreneur” to describe the moms who decide to sell jewelry, Tupperware, nail decals, skin care, books, or makeup. Although I have a small side business, it isn’t part of one of these franchises so I don’t feel like it adequately describes me. Besides, doesn’t that phrase sound a bit weird? Moms should feel empowered to call themselves entrepreneurs, period. It’s like saying “I look good for someone my age.” No qualifier is needed, sister friend.

Work at home mom generally denotes someone who has a legit business, like running a daycare out of their home. Or it describes a mom who regularly telecommutes. None of these options applies to me.

Le sigh. How do you answer this question if your regular day-to-day job is being a mom? Clearly I need some fresh ideas!

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