Lately, Mom has been wrestling with her dreams and purpose. I find it a bit melodramatic, but someday I’ll be in her shoes, so I’m trying to channel future-me into my empathy. I put together a little something to cheer her up, bringing clarity to the job she does oh-so-well.
Job Title: Mother (Internal titles: Mom, Mommy, Momma, Mama, Ma, Mom!Mom!Mom!Mom!Mom!)
Job Location: Everywhere except behind the locked bathroom door.
Job Summary: Be all things to all (little) people. Prepare for, carry out and clean up after a variety of life events. Hold tiny hands, shape tiny hearts, challenge tiny minds. Inspire, influence, instruct, impart and keep the yelling to a minimum. Savor every moment because it goes so fast, but don’t focus too much on the difficults of now, because it’s only a season. Be on call, but don’t be too nosy. Have satisfying answers to deep life questions, but don’t have too much to say on the topic.
- Reports directly to the children. Each child has full veto power by speaking, implying or thinking “you can’t make me.” The Mother may think it’s time to leave, but the child will leave when he feels like leaving. “Do you wanna get your shoes on?” is one in a series of a million useless questions to which the answers are invariably “no.” Sentences that begin with “do you want to,” “are you ready to” or “I think it’s time for” are signs of hesitation and insubordination. The child retains the right to change his/her mind at any time, about any topic, regardless of the perceived consequences by the Mother. (Informally, the Mother also reports to children’s educators, coaches, team parents, friends’ moms on matters of homework, snack duties, calendar and child’s allowable activities/dress/media.)
- Oversees the children only in matters where the children are in direct danger, afraid of the dark, unable to reach something or in line to receive gifts.
- Security clearance: As a new employee, the Mother enters at level zero security clearance. Subsequent levels may be reached by completing the following training modules:
- Level One: Registering for baby items at an approved store
- Level Two: Unfolding/Folding three different-branded strollers
- Level Three: Functioning on 3 hours of sleep
- Level Four: Overnight travel
- Level Five: Potty training
- Level Six: Dining out
- Level Seven: Letting kids go in public wearing “what they picked out”
- Level Eight: Sending kids to middle school
- Level Nine: Going to bed before the kids
- Level Ten: Sending kids to college
- Acquire child(ren) by physical and/or legal means
- Manage all physical needs including, but not limited to, fueling, waste removal, sanitizing, development, ongoing maintenance, dressing, purchasing, styling, temperature regulation, logistics, protection & safety
- Oversee mental, emotional and social development including, but not limited to, internal & external communications, scheduling, trainings, lectures, frequent evaluations and “staying out of it.”
- Document every memory of childhood, every minute of significance and every utterance that might be notable in the far-off future.
- Be there for them. Even when they utter four-letter-words, including, but not limited to “mine,” “want,” “YOLO,” “hate,”and “lied.”
- Skills: No skills formally required. PB&J-making skills, tucking-in skills, band-aid skills and stain-removing skills are preferred. proficiency in toddlerspeak is desirable.
- Previous Experience: None required. Previous experience will not translate. Thinking you know what you are doing is a disadvantage.
- Education: None required. Having completed elementary education prior to 2009 is a disadvantage.
- Salary: No traditional salary is paid. Income is based on a combination of selling children’s well-loveds and gently-useds on Mom-to-Mom sites, hosting MLM parties, commissions as MLM consultants/reps/distributors and Ebates.
- Retirement: Does not apply.
- Stock Options: Recommended investments in Huggies, Crayola, Lego, Kraft and Chlorox.
- Health Benefits (Medical, Dental, Optical): #mommybladder, #mommybrain, eyes-in-the-back-of-your-head
- Life Insurance: Someone to carry on your brand of crazy
- Pension: Grandkids
- Company car: Minivan
- Maternity Leave: If by maternity leave, you mean continuing to do this job (with 100% more output), while recovering from a life-altering procedure and little to no sleep.
- Overtime: Unpaid but 100% on-call 24/7/365.
- Vacation: Workation. You may leave, but you must take the job with you.
- Sick Leave: You are welcome to be sick whilst carrying out any of the aforementioned responsibilities.
- Personal Holidays:
Mother’s Day: Day off! But, spend it with your mother or your kids. You aren’t expected to lift a finger today. Save it all for tomorrow when you clean up the results of a day off.
Christmas: Day off! You are, however, expected to prepare a four-course meal worthy of Pinterest photos for your family and any extended family in the tri-state region.
Thanksgiving: Day off! Similar to Christmas, but add to it preparing gift lists, scouting the ads and pulling an all-nighter at the outlet mall.
Easter: Day off! Similar to Christmas, but add to it executing a well-planned egg hunt.
Labor Day, Memorial Day and Fourth of July: Days off! Except for the evenings when you host the neighborhood get-together, the afternoons you spend preparing potato salads and patriotic desserts.
Valentine’s Day: Day off, if you came in early on finishing the DIY edible gifts for each child’s 26 closest friends and preparing heart-shaped pancakes, heart-shaped PB&Js and heart-shaped pizzas.
Halloween: Not a recognized Mom-holiday. Assume normal duties with an intensified dress code.
New Year’s Day: Not a recognized Mom-holiday. Assume normal duties, but on half the sleep.
Your Birthday: A floating holiday that can be used on years your birthday falls on a Friday, in the winter, in years that end in a four.
- Unpaid Time Off: All time-off is unpaid, and no extraneous time-off is available.
- Non-compete agreement: The Employee (herein, the Mother), shall not hold any other child in a way similar to, or competitive with, her own child in the presence of her child.
- Non-disclosure agreement: The Employee (herein, the Mother), shall protect the confidential material and information which may be disclosed by the Employer (herein, the Child). This includes, but is not limited to, details of heartbreak, bathroom happenings, discovered diaries and stories that generally prompt tellings in front of other-gendered teens.
- Professional development/continuing education: mommy blogs, Huff Po, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.
- Workplace norms: use only words you want repeated, say only things you are comfortable being kid-translated to other adults throughout the week, sit only when you want to immediately jump to someone’s aide, don’t start conversations you hope to finish, don’t leave out anything you wouldn’t want scribbled on or flushed.
- Travel: Weekly grocery trips, daily drop-off & pick-up, bi-weekly sports practice, weekly sporting events, birthday parties, playdates, forgotten-lunch/homework-retrievals, quartly field-trip-chapperoning, annual school shopping and occasional vacations.
- Dress code: mom-jeans or yoga pants (or any other fitness-wear that creates the allusion that you just worked out, are headed to workout or worked school drop-off/pick-up into your marathon training route.)
What can I say? I made her an offer she couldn’t refuse. No further inquiries; position has been filled.