I have been a stay-at-home mom for exactly 18 months now. Though we miss my salary (heehee…I was a high school English teacher, so it’s not like Donald Trump has left the building or anything), Jeff and I both agree that this is the best move for our family right now and for the foreseeable future. Jeff is predicting my triumphant return to the workforce at somewhere around 2018. I see it somewhere around 20-never. (Shhh…don’t tell Jeff!)
This is a job I love, people, and I absolutely enjoy the craziness of staying home with my boys. Today, for example, we played a completely inane version of Connect 4 after reading a couple of great books after playing on bikes in the driveway forever. This is a charmed-ish life. However, the golden trophy that I may one day hold aloft (I think it will look something like the Heisman Trophy except I’m holding a glass of wine instead of a football and pushing my stiff-armed hand against the forehead of a small bronze child) will be the day I drop ole Sawyer off at kindergarten for the first time. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely know that I will drive my SUV away from the school and wonder what to do with myself all day. I will miss those precious little guys more than anything, but I might also just go home and sit in my quiet, clean house and perhaps doze on the couch after reading a good book.
However, if Jeff gets his 2018 way, I have considered the jobs that I am now qualified for after becoming a mother (because, while I miss the high school kids like crazy, I would probably rather gouge out an eye than grade another 10-page research paper). So, jobs I can now do:
Judge/Jury/Referee: I am often called upon by whining children to declare an edict, a truce, a veritable end to the squabble of the moment. Nineteen times per day. I could easily hand out punishments to criminals, settle disputes, or be a valued jury member to hear the case and decide what is right. As a referee, nothing would scare me, not even the giant football players whose interference calls I would never mind placing at the goal line if they get a little too hands-y.
Accident Reconstructionist: How many times per week am I asked to consider what the heck just happened based on the evidence? Too many to count. Yesterday morning, for example, I tried to match the cut and black eye that Tate received to the exact spot on the laundry basket he fell upon in order to gain said injury. In doing so, I also rendered Sarah “not guilty” because Tate could not have been pushed from behind at a velocity to cause said injury; he must have fallen on his own clumsy free will. I could do this with car accidents all day long, people.
Triage Nurse: I have three kids, and there are plenty enough injuries to go around. See my week a couple of weeks ago consisting of an inordinate number of childhood traumatic injuries. I have learned from my neighbor Larry that super glue is just as great as liquid bandage, and both are infinitely preferable to the emergency room. I also have to hand it to Jeff and me…we panic at different intervals. In the one time we’ve actually gone to the emergency room for a warranted injury, I was calm while Jeff freaked out and used a high-pitched tone that he only reserves for panic mode…scary. Then, I freaked out when he became calm. As a triage nurse, I wouldn’t panic. Nothing makes me panic anymore. My children have cried “wolf” so much that I no longer respond to tears. Tears are dead to me.
Short Order Cook: “Why do they want dinner every single night?” I saw this on one of those funny e-cards on Pinterest, and it totally resonated with me. Yes…I think my kids could foreseeably snack for 12 hours in the middle of the day, and I could feed them once. That seems reasonable. Instead, Tate, my middle guy, is a pantry-raider of the highest order. He has learned to open cabinets that don’t have pull handles and actually scale shelves in order to get the food he wants. This is a constant battle of both non-perishable and perishable items. My refrigerator has a permanently broken drawer after the “Mama, I must have an apple right this second and you can no longer put me off, even if the last time I ate was only 10 minutes ago” debacle. I can now whip up almost any kid meal in 4 minutes and 30 seconds flat. That’s it. Hot dogs, chicken nuggets, mac n cheese, cut fruit, crackers, Goldfish…sometimes veggies if the planets are aligned correctly. I can make it happen. It is a survival technique so my children will not whine. So…out in the real world in 20-never, if I become a short order cook in a Waffle House somewhere in outer Arkansas, you will know that the customers are just fine, thank you. I assure you that they could be no more annoying than three hungry children.
Psychic: Jeff and I joke that we have psychic ability, when, in reality, this ability is hooey (just like most psychics). We can always predict when our children will be hurt/crying/telling on each other. How can we possibly predict such amazingness? Well, we watch them play. When this play reaches a certain decibel level, especially when they’re running inside on our tile kitchen floor that, I’m sure, will draw blood from someone’s head one day, the probability than one will crash/fall/run into someone/get hurt, exponentially increases as the volume in the room increases, thereby rendering us psychic when we use the ever-popular parental catch-phrase “I told you so.” Do you know how long I’ve waited to use that? Forever…
In 20-never, friends, I will not be applying as a housekeeper, for reasons that are totally legitimate.
In short, I am now qualified by the trifecta of awesomeness (English major, English teacher, and stay-at-home mother) to hold pretty much any job on the planet. I can multi-task with the best of them, lead, follow, communicate, analyze, synthesize, cajole, persuade…bring it. I won’t be running for office any time soon, but just know that, as someone who has persuaded, threatened, and convinced two entire generations of kids to do they don’t want to do (research papers, eating veggies, making deadlines and 8 o’clock classes, making poop in the potty)…I could.
Look out, 20-never. I hope to never come your way again, but if I do, watch out. You don’t stand a chance.