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She who has no name

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When mothers get together at school events or children’s parties, inevitably there is a divide between those who do and those who don’t – work outside of the home, that is. The question ‘and what do you do?’ is one of those stock enquiries made at these events, cocktail parties, dinners, occasions, and it is either met with silence or an awkward term like “I’m a home executive” or somewhat more palatable, “I’m a full-time mother so I don’t formally work, or by a title and an explanation of a role in the formal workplace. Then there are those who take a long time to reply, if at all, and the reply tends to be a combination of terms like “I work part-time” or “I work sometimes”

So many times over my years in practice, I have encountered the terms “earth mother” “career woman” “lady of leisure.” Yet I have still to hear an accurate term describing the third type of mother listed above- the woman who works part-time, and seems not to have a label or clear definition of whether she is career-oriented or home/mother-oriented. One reason for this may be that the current generation of women do not have role models for this in-between position. Many of us had stay home moms, earth mother or not, and the idea of a woman being ambitious with a career as an option, became popular in the late 20th Century. But having a half and half- career as well as being relatively hands on as a mother, well that’s just foreign! So to date, she has no name- though one has lately been coming to mind. (See next week’s post for more on this)

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