I ran through the possibilities with Milkbaby, who, strapped into the frontpack, could not escape my musings.
On leave from high-flying government job? Ex-lawyer? No, hardly current.
Nah, too American 1950s (despite that fact that I am actually in possession of an excellent canning system...)
Housewife? I have an aversion to the term "wife", but I thought house-spouse sounded a bit too Dr Seuss.
Stay-at-home mum? Caregiver? Blah...
Milkmaid? Night-comforter? Short order chef? Bath lifeguard and soap administerer? Swimming coach? Storyteller? Wardrobe assistant? Washerwoman? Nappy expert? Ruskmaker? Cheerleader? Household safety inspector? Sometime blogger?
I thought briefly, with pity, about the public servant who would have to do something with my answer. Then I wrote, in my best capitals, M O T H E R.
"That'll mess up their database", I muttered to Milkbaby.
Because how will the Government's statisticians distinguish between mothers (ie, those who do all of the above), and mothers or muthas (ie, the non-childbearing bad-ass ones)?
Picture the database entry person sighing, "Mother - my ass". It seems the technical term is "Unpaid Family Worker".
I couldn't find the statistics on how many "mothers" arrived in or left New Zealand last year. In fact I couldn't find any data on the occupations of comers and goers. I guess the question helps our customs officers to screen arrivees. Writing "mother" as your occupation suggests you're probably harmless (that is, unless you write "mutha"). However, writing "terrorist" or "spy" or "operative" may raise a few eyebrows.
When I rejoin the workforce, I might just continue to use MOTHER. It's a full time occupation, after all.