Friday, May 8, 2009

Help Wanted: Mother (Classified ads for the jobs you really do)

In honor of Mother's Day, here’s a sampling of the job postings that would be needed to cover all you do for the children—and significant other adult—in your household.

NANNY: Patient, loving woman who requires limited sleep and adult interaction needed to care for child(ren) up to 24/7/365. Other duties include all those listed following this ad, as well as many not described herewith.

HOUSEKEEPER: Responsibilities include cleaning and tidying a family home several times daily. Must be available nights, weekends and overtime, and be willing to clean and tidy the same areas over and over and over again.

CHAUFFEUR: Driver needed to transport child(ren) to all activities beyond the domicile, including but not limited to school, sports, medical appointments, therapies, entertainment venues. Applicant must be skilled in defensive dri
ving tactics and able to operate a vehicle safely regardless of the behavior of her passengers. Having extra-long arms is useful in this position but not essential.

CHEF: Passable cooking and meal preparation skills needed for short-order establishment serving three full meals and filling dozens of beverage and snack orders per day, for both sit-down and To Go diners. The chef is also responsible for procuring and restocking meal supplies, serving the meals, all dishwashing as well as the full cleaning of both the kitchen and multiple dining areas.

DOCTOR/NURSE: Health and first aid provider needed for pediatric and adult patients in a home-based environment. Responsibilities include making diagnosis, providing medical transportation, emergency care, administering treatments, medications and overall patient assistance, particularly as relates to bodily functions.

DENTAL HYGIENIST: Assistance needed in daily pediatric dental cleaning, teething-related pain management and occasional teeth-pulling.

TEACHER/COACH: Instructor wanted for child(ren) age newborn to adult for lessons related to academics, athletics and overall life skills. Position involves both one-on-one instruction and classes of mixed-age pupils.

PSYCHOLOGIST: Compassionate, wise and tolerant person needed to listen to the problems and concerns of young and aged household members.

WARDROBE MANAGER: Fashion- and bargain-savvy individual needed to acquire, alter, organize and maintain clothing and footwear for all members of a household, for all seasons.

DRESSER: Individual wanted to ensure that appropriate clothing is worn by all household members. Wrestling skills are useful but can be developed.

LAUNDRESS: Help needed to clean and maintain various wardrobe collections.

CONSIERGE: Resourceful, problem-solving, people-person needed to fulfill the various desires of household members, including but not limited to arranging entertainment activities, making dining and traveling reservations, procuring gifts and meeting other needs as expressed.

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY: Organized person sought to handle all correspondence and interaction between the household and the outside world. Position involves extensive filing and record-keeping.

MONEY MANAGER/ACCOUNTANT: Financially competent person needed to record account receivables, supervise cash flow, track and pay invoices, and manage savings and investments.

TECHNOLOGY SPECIALIST: Computer- and electronics-savvy person needed to address home theater,
computer and Internet related problems encountered by household members.

BUILDING SUPERINTENDENT/GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Manager sought to keep domicile in working order by arranging for trade technicians (plumbers, electricians, etc.) to both fix and maintain household systems and appliances.

HANDYMAN: Skilled person needed to perform small household repairs on an as-needed basis.

INSURANCE SPECIALIST: Expert, dogged representative needed to manage insurance policies, file and track insurance claims, and challenge insurance denials when they occur.

ADVOCATE: Protector and supporter required to represent and/or speak for household me
mbers either unable or unwilling to do so for themselves.

ENTERTAINER: Positive, upbeat person sought to keep household members happy. Applicant must possess diverse talents and be able to work with a variety of audiences and in a variety of situations.

“ESCORT”: Attractive, enthusiastic, service-oriented woman needed, immediately, for intimate adult encounters. Creativity and experience required. (Though not too much experience.)

When you’re a mother, you’re a multi-talented person. Maybe you should update your résumé!

A version of this list appeared in my book, The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wisdom: Anna Quindlen on motherhood being a job

If you haven't read my book, The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide, one of the main points I make in it is that being a parent, and especially a stay-at-home mom, can be a wonderful, yet challengingly life-altering experience.

That's real life. Unfortunately, the societal perception and promotion of parenthood is that becoming a mom or dad is among the best and most satisfying things a person can do in his or her life. When the bar is set that high, the parent who doesn't feel blessed, satisfied and joyous every moment she's caring for kids often feels like a failure or a freak. Anna Quindlen's Newsweek column from April 27, 2009, confirmed that my observations and experiences, and those of the dozens of women who participated in the book, are so on the mark.

"Parenting is a much more separate, solitary activity than it used to be," says Harold S. Koplewicz, director of the New York University Child Study Center. Echoing that statement, Quindlen notes, "It used to take a village to raise a child, but there isn't a village anymore. Instead of extended family, there's a playground where everyone pretends everything's fine, and a computer screen behind which women can say, under cover of mommy blogs, 'How come this is so hard for me?'" (Ed Note: I wish I was undercover sometimes, but the book has forced me to be on the record.)

Quindlen ends her column with the following declaration:
"It can be a great job, motherhood, but it would be nice if everyone could be more honest about how overwhelming the job can be, and more willing to find ways to support and inform the people who are trying to do it."
I totally agree. How about you?

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