Friday, February 20, 2009

Guilty Innocence

Guilty Innocence: noun. Having the form of being innocent with some guilt attached.

OK, I really struggled with that definition. I would think that innocence is an adjective, but the dictionary says it's a noun. So we'll call it that. But what I mean by "guilty innocence" is knowing you are doing the right thing, even though there is some guilt involved.

Husband just finished our taxes and presented me with the paper to sign. Next to the place for my signature was the infamous "occupation" box. I hesitated. What do I write there? Is it domestic engineer? Housewife? Stay-at-home mom? I eventually settled on housewife and let that be the end of it.

You know, I don't really like the term "domestic engineer." There's something wrong about it, I think. I was reading Wikipedia one day, and came across this statement: "The euphemistic term 'domestic engineer' has gone out of favor, being seen by some as satirical, as if to give a sense of mock dignity to a role held in low esteem by the speaker." (Full article here.) Maybe that's it. It seems almost silly. Note, though, that I don't care if other people use the term. I just personally don't. (Remember 300 Roses when I said I don't care if other people make it? It's the same kind of thing.)

Which, in a round-about way that you should be used to by now, brings me to my point. I'm happy to stay home with my kids. Really. But when people ask if I work, it is almost painful to say no. I could say yes, being that I do actually work regardless of the fact that I don't get a paycheck, but somehow I don't think that kind of smart alec answer is going to get me anywhere.

So, after some reflection, I've come up with what I think is the reason why I feel a slight pang of guilt when I have to say that I don't have a "real" job. It's the fear that in the eyes of the asker I'm somehow not right. Like I might be lazy or just not living up to my potential. That realization is somehow freeing.

So now, I say it loud (or as loud as I can get on the internet): I'm a housewife. I'm a stay-at-home mom. I feel my job is very important and I am doing the best thing for my family!

Did you notice the italics on "my"? That's because I want you to notice that me staying at home is the best solution for my family, but is not necessarily for others. I recognize that there are a lot of factors that need to be considered in order for a parent to make that kind of big decision.

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