When the phone call came regarding the alumni directory, I was ready.
"I'm a mom."
"Oh, a homemaker. That's really wonderful."
"No, just put down mom, please. I've put some thought into this and it's what I'd like."
"The data base won't let me. When I type M-O-M it defaults to homemaker. Same for M-O-T-H-E-R."
"But . . . but . . . I'm invested in this! I'm making a statement! I'M A MOM! Please, isn't there some way? What if you typed in M-U-D-D-A . . . "
"I checked with my supervisor. We can't do anything about it."
"This is too funny. I'm even writing about this for a parenting magazine. It's a big deal, the whole point of the piece that I've been working on with my editor. . . "
"Hold it. You write for a magazine?"
"Yeah, some freelance stuff. But the point of all this is that I consider the title 'Mom' to be noble and inclusive and how I perceive myself."
"Well . . . yeah . . . wow. So isn't there something we can do?"
"Let me see . . . okay, if I put freelance writer first . . . then slash . . . yes, you're a mom!"
"And you can't reverse it and have the mom part come first?"
"No, it won't do it."
"You know, there's one big metaphor for motherhood in all this."
"Well, I know you're a mom first. Does that help?"
And actually, it does help.
The updated directory arrived recently. I flipped through it excitedly, invigorated to see the blow I was striking for motherhood.
I'm a . . . freelance writer / homemaker?
It did occur to me to send back the directory, demanding a reprint or a recount or something. But really, is that where I want to fight this battle? Maybe if enough women agree with me, then men might begin to cultivate the ability of identifying themselves as Dads first. And perhaps, if we learn to see the value and completeness of parenting in general, our children and our psyches will have a much easier time of it.
Besides, I'm unwilling to give up my copy of the directory. It's been such fun perusing and finding out whatever became of that brainy girl from Shakespeare class.
Well whaddya know? Carolynn's a homemaker.
Sally Russell is a frequent contributor of essays, articles, and reviews forMinnesota Parent. We just call her "Ma Sal."