A few years ago I was stopped in a shopping centre mall by a man trying to sell me something (insurance, solar panels, a house renovation...I can't really remember) and the conversation went something like this.
Man: Do you work?
Me: (thinking, what you are actually asking is, do I earn money, but you haven't asked that so I am going to answer the question as you asked it.) Yes.
Man: What do you do?
Me: (thinking, well, I teach Scripture, I run Bible studies, I teach Sunday School, I teach my own children how to use their manners, eat their vegies and so on..) I'm a teacher. (I hadn't been a paid teacher for several years by this stage.)
Man: Oh, a teacher. How come you are in the shops at the moment?
Me: (thinking, you are not winning me over at this point) I'm not working this morning.
Man: That's lucky.
We chatted on for a while and I refused whatever he was trying to sell me. But I remember that moment very clearly because I didn't want to say, "No I don't work" because at that time, even though I was having a rare few minutes at the shops by myself, I felt like I was working very hard indeed.
Speaking personally, I've never really felt comfortable with the "stay at home mum" tag for myself. "Home duties" is the best I can muster when I fill in forms. And while I am COMPLETELY comfortable with the choice I have made to stay out of paid employment, with one child heading for high school next year the tag "home duties" is beginning to look a bit weird to society at large. And you know, I don't really mind what society thinks...and it's a good conversation starter...but there's no need to be unnecessarily weird if that can be avoided. And the truth of the matter is, I can hardly say I stay at home to do my home duties (she says, as the dust bunnies roll silently by...)
So I have given myself a new job title. It will go on all forms - banks, the Tax Office, medical forms, school contact lists...wherever I have to list my occupation - and it is going to be my answer to every salesman that ever asks me again if I work.
That works for me.