This post is not really about my latest creative, erhm..creations but is sort of related to it. I’ve been dwelling on this of late and feel compelled/brave enough to put my thoughts into a post. Each September when T returns to school, as he becomes more independent, more grown up, I start to become a little more introspective about ‘Me’: my self-identity and how I spend my time.
This niggling little query at the back of my mind was thrust forcibly to the front of it whist completing an information form for T’s Beaver Scout group last week. As I scan over the questions in front of me, I think, “yep, easy, this will take a couple of minutes to complete”:
Emergency Contact Details? fine
..and then, there it is:
Now quite why the Beaver Scouts need to know what my occupation is, I do not know, but it did send me into something of a panic. Ever since T arrived into our world and I stopped having what you might call a ‘proper job’, I’ve been stumped by that section when form-filling and broken into a cold sweat in any social situation when someone asks me ……
“What do you do?”
Now, of course, these simple four words are just an ice-breaker, a normal question asked by normal people who are taking an interest in the person stood in front of them. For me though it feels like I’m suddenly under some sort of FBI interrogation and feel the need to justify my place in the world, my identity, my existence, my day to day life. I’m not talking here about the whole, ‘Non-working Mum thing’ and ‘what they do all day’ The only people that will ever understand and ‘get’ this, is other women in the same situation so I’m not even going to go there. No, I’m talking about a label, a definition, a basic, succinct reply. Six years on from having my son, I still don’t have a satisfactory response:
Stay-At-Home-Mum? Sounds like I never leave the house and is more appropriate for those with babies, toddlers or pre-schoolers. (and by the way, who came up with this phrase? It and it’s shortened form: SAHM are both horrendous and so inaccurate)
Home-maker? Oh, pleeease
Domestic Engineer? I don’t think so!
…and all of these labels just feel a little bit derogatory. They all just sound like I am on this planet to serve my Husband, my Child and make my home look nice. Which, whilst is a large part of what I do do on a day to day basis, it certainly isn’t how I would wish to define myself (not that there is anything wrong in doing so, it just doesn’t feel right for me)
So, I try to ignore the whole Mother/Wife bit and concentrate on the creative tinkerings side of things instead but here, again, I find myself struggling to describe that element of ‘What I do’.
Is it a hobby?
Is it a business?
Am I a Designer?
Am I a Crafter?
So, I turn, as I always do when I want an answer to a question these days: (No, not a therapist, or a matriarchal Grandmother or a ‘magic-8 ball’), but to our friend ‘google’….and after a bit of research, I find the answer:
I am a self-employed designer/maker of gifts and accessories.
It’s not brilliant, it’s not particularly catchy, it probably doesn’t feature on too many on-line drop-down lists, but I like it.
I don’t consider myself to be the sort of person who suffers with an Identity Crisis but as soon as I am asked to define myself; to pigeon hole exactly what I do…then I am….and that it turn leads so some (perhaps negative) overly self-indulgent analysis of my role in the world, my contribution, and whether I am content with it all. However, whilst I’m sure I will continue to do that from time to time, at least on this occasion the analysis and soul-searching (and google!) has provided me with a satisfactory, one line answer to that damn question!