Joke: Clerk Asks a Woman What She Does for a Living

The clerk asked a woman about her occupation. Her response was precious. 

Motherhood is the most important job of all since they are raising our future generations. Unfortunately, mothers hardly get the appreciation they deserve. In the story below, one mother cleverly explains to a clerk precisely what it means to be a mother.  

A mother with her children. | Photo: Pexels

A mother with her children. | Photo: Pexels

A woman named Emily, renewing her driver’s license at the County Clerk’s office was asked by the recorder to state her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

“What I mean is,” explained the recorder, “do you have a job, or are you just a…”

“Of course I have a job,” snapped Emily. “I’m a mother.”

“We don’t list ‘mother’ as an occupation… ‘housewife’ covers it,” said the recorder emphatically.

A white concrete building. | Photo: Pexels

A white concrete building. | Photo: Pexels

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our Town Hall.

The clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient and in possession of a high-sounding title like, “Official Interrogator” or “Town Registrar.”

“What is your occupation?” she probed.

What made me say this next, I do not know, the words simply popped out, “I’m a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations.”

A woman at her desk. | Photo: Pexels

A woman at her desk. | Photo: Pexels

The Clerk Paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair, and looked up as though she had not heard right. I repeated the title slowly, emphasizing the most significant words. Then I started with wonder as my pronouncement was written in bold, black in on the official questionnaire.

“Might I ask,” said the clerk with new interest, “just what do you do in your field?”

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply, “I have a continuing program of research (what mother doesn’t?) in the laboratory and in the field (normally I would have said indoors and out).”

“I’m working for my Masters (the whole darned family), and already have four credits (all daughters). Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities (any mother care to disagree?), and I often work 14+ hours a day (24 is more like it). But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers, and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money.”

A happy woman. | Photo: Pexels

A happy woman. | Photo: Pexels

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk’s voice as the completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants – ages 13, 7 and 3. Upstairs, I could hear our new experimental model (a 6-month-old baby), in the Child-Development program, testing out a new vocal pattern.

I felt triumphant! I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone off the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than “just another mother.”

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