30
May
07

Do homemakers have W-2s?

This is the rhetorical question posed to our accountant, after I quickly thumbed through our late-but-we-bought-time tax returns: “Why the $@#% am I listed as a homemaker for 2006 when I worked the majority of the year??”
There is a form — listing my earnings outside the home — clearly attached to the document. Nowhere on that form from my former employer does it say “homemaker.”
I’ve worked full-time since the late 1980s, with one six-week maternity leave in the early ’90s. I left the workforce in November 2006. Yet, it doesn’t matter to accountants and the IRS. I’m no longer a “wage earner” and “income producer.”
Twenty years of work and nothing to show for it. Not even a final shout-out on the tax form.
That’s sad.
In the seven months that I’ve lived the life of a homemaker, housewife, “housefrau” or domestic goddess, however you spin it, I’ve realized not much has changed in terms of the public’s perception. Like it or not, this is the official label affixed to my backside.
It deeply disturbs me that I am deeply disturbed by the title homemaker next to my name. Why?
It discredits all the women out there who are honored by the title. It belittles our mothers and grandmothers, many of whom didn’t have “the choice” that I had to pursue a career and have a family.
Still, I’m bothered.
I didn’t walk away from a career to be a homemaker, although I did want to be home. It hasn’t been easy, the letting go of the working life, the mindset.
I came home for my daughters.
One, a newly hatched teenager, hit a rough patch this past year. My nights/weekends/holidays shift was adding a lot of potholes to her bumpy road. Simply put, I just wasn’t there for her when she needed me.
My other daughter is a toddler, recently adopted from China, and in need of a lot of love and attention. I made a minimum one-year commitment to dedicate the time and attention I once devoted to my career, to her so that she could get the good start in life she deserves.
I’ve never worked harder in my life than I have in the last few months.
Try fitting all that on a tax form.

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