No, that is definitely not me.
Homeschooler? That sounds like I am the one who is being taught.
Homeschool teacher? A bit too pretentious, and this conjures a blackboard, American flag, and a whopping three kids lined up behind desks.
When my oldest was just a few weeks old, my mother came to visit. I was in the midst of graduate school in biology, or, more correctly, in the midst of quitting graduate school. I knew even before I had my baby that being gone for twelve hour stretches was not what I was aspiring to do, even if my research was going well, even if I was a very good student, and even if I could find a way to balance motherhood, lab work, stipend for an income and random babysitters. My mother was very disturbed by this. I remember a conversation where she was pushing me to define myself, sort of in the way that those forms want you to describe yourself in one word. She said that she is a doctor, and my grandfather was a veteran. I, fresh from yet another nursing and diaper change, and a whole new mommy brain, which felt like being stuck in honey after high-flying intellectualism of scientific papers, said that I am a mother. My mother laughed, and said that it's something you do on the side, and the kids grow up and they do not need you and you need to be something else.
Almost nine years into motherhood, I beg to differ. It is easy to dismiss motherhood as yet another pursuit, but it is impossible for it not to redefine you in such fundamental ways, that both of your ears are left ringing. On the other hand, those professions and occupations come and go. My mother became a doctor because of a certain degree of family pressure, and while she found what she likes, I often think about how many other things she could have been pursuing, were she not so rigidly defined by being a doctor. My grandfather was an organizer of veterans from WWII, but, I am sure, he would have been much happier if the war never happened, and there were no veterans to organize. Would his life be incomplete without them?
What am I? I was a foreign student, and that defined me for a bit. I was also a very good student. I was type A, always driven, always organized. I still approach any sort of testing or personal learning that way. But life threw enough curve balls already, that I learned to mellow out, let go, and not always strive for an A when B would be just fine, and NOBODY is grading anyway!
I am a life-long learner; just as I audited physical chemistry in college, so I took a graphic design course, and so I read midwifery books, and so I started my Nach Yomi and so I keep on learning alongside my kids. I am also not shy to try something new, push a different button, move out of my comfort zone.
I have been working on my character traits, because there are six eyes constantly learning from me, especially when I am at my worst. When you are home with your kids all the time, you cannot blame others for the way they are turning out. So personal growth is on my agenda.
I can make a dinner in 15 minutes, if need be. I can get the kids out the door in 15 minutes, too. And I can watch your kid if you give me a 15 minute notice. I can also have a friend over, for tea, for a talk, just to drop in. My house will not be spotless, but whatever needs to be picked up (to my standards) will get done in 15 minutes.
I can read a book to one child while nursing another. I can resolve conflicts, chauffeur, grocery-shop with kids in tow, sneak in math, teach aleph-bet, answer questions about foramen ovale and why is Shaul after Dovid (chasing, that is, not chronologically). I can wipe tushies in the middle of the night, chase away bad dreams and soothe a child back to sleep. I can teach how to ride a bike and fly a kite, how to read and multiply, how to apply for a library card and write an apology letter.
Is there a name for all of this? Moreover, as I am filling out yet another form, is there space for all of this?
Most of this falls into the category of conscious motherhood. Yet I strongly doubt that writing "mother" as occupation, and "being my own boss" as employer is what those forms are after.
What defines you? What occupies you? And how flexible are you willing to be with your self-definition when the circumstances change?