Several weeks ago, I asked readers to help me come up with a new word to replace the term, “housewife.” I received some very clever suggestions, and the most popular by far was Domestic Engineer.

Evelyn Fanning of Okinawa, Japan, explained why she chooses to describe herself by that title. “I think we do so much more than what images conjure in others minds when we say we are SAHMs (Stay at Home Moms).

Fanning went on to say, “My version of our job title gives me the respect and dignity I deserve when putting a title on my current position.”

Respect and dignity are all we really ask for anyway, right?

Ann Taylor wrote from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, “After 10 years of active duty myself followed by 14 years as an Air Force wife, my personal job title is Vice President for Domestic Operations and Future Development.”

I guess that would make her VP of DOFD, in military terms.

She added, “It’s a small, privately held, family-owned business. Pay isn’t great, but the benefits are outstanding!”

My favorite benefit is the endless supply of hugs and affection offered by my four “men.”

Belle Shirley, a friend and former neighbor when we lived in Okinawa, gave me exactly what I was asking for when I said, “I want a job description that is as confusing as my husband’s.”

According to Belle, I’m an M3A1JAT, which stands for Mother of 3 and 1, Jacqueline of All Trades. I’m not sure if the “1” is meant to stand for Ron or Glory, but they could probably be interchangeable!

I sort of like the complicatedness of Belle’s personalized title for me. The only change I would make is to shorten Jacqueline to Jackie.

My buddy Tara Greenberg, another neighbor from our years spent in the Far East, came up with the sexiest job description, “Homebound Honeys.” It was probably one of the rejected titles for the TV show, “Desperate Housewives.”

No matter what you decide to call yourself, keep in mind that self-respect rather than a fancy title will help you keep your cool the next time your husband comes home and asks, “What did you do all day?”

Remind your family (including pets, if they are smart like Glory and understand what you say) how lucky they are that you choose to spend your time feeding them and cleaning up their messes.

If you don’t seem to be getting through to anyone, the following statistics might be handy to post on the fridge.

According to a survey by, the typical stay-at-home mom would earn $138,095 a year if she were paid for her work. A mother who works outside the home would earn an additional $85,939 for the work she does at home.

Most mothers put in a 92-hour workweek, working 40 hours at base pay and 52 hours overtime.

The 10 jobs listed as comprising a mother’s work were housekeeper, cook, day care teacher, launderer, chauffeur, facilities manager, janitor, computer operator, chief executive officer and psychologist.

I like that chief executive officer part because everyone knows it’s another way of saying The Boss.

Thank you to everyone who responded with suggestions of something better to call ourselves than “housewives” as we go about our daily chores of scrubbing, folding and packing school lunches.

I had fun reading your e-mails, and it gave me something to do while I waited for my nails to dry so I could go back to eating bonbons.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has moved eight times in 16 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. They have been stationed in various locations, including Okinawa, California, Texas and their current home in Springfield, Va. E-mail her at or find the Zichs online at

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