Tag Archives: job

How Does One Make the Perfect Life Choices?

I’m sitting in an airport waiting for a delayed flight, wearing bright orange compression socks, thinking about the latest book I’m writing. It’s been harder to write.

The main character is divorced. She was pregnant when her husband left her for her friend and she had to quickly get a job. She goes back to school to get a secondary education degree because her bachelor’s was in English.  

She had planned on getting a Master’s and possibly a Doctorate in English but then she met John. They fell in love. He got a job and they got married and she didn’t get a Master’s. When she got pregnant with their first child, she kept working. Then the two of them together decided she would stay home with their son. After childcare costs, it made more sense. And he made enough. Plus, she believed her kids would be better off if one of them could stay home. He made more, so she stayed home. She often thought about getting her Master’s, but then a kid would get sick and she wondered how she would do it all. She kept putting it off.

Until the day her husband came home and said he wanted a divorce.

She doesn’t think much about her choices (Why bother? It won’t help) until she has to work with a graduate of hers who has just finished her bachelors and wants to go get her Master’s. But she met this guy….

So Grace looks over at all of her decisions.

And this is where I’m stumped.  

Of course women should get an education and support themselves. Of course they should accomplish all they want to accomplish. But what if the two spouses decide that one parent could stay home. They think it would be better for the kids. But then the spouse who stays home loses potential income. Loses years of experience. May pass up on education that would help because they put their trust in their spouse.

Is this possible anymore?

Do both parents need to always work because relationships seem to be so fluid these days?

I stay home. Yes, I’ve had different jobs and done different things, but when I thought of applying to be a substitute teacher and saw they wanted 3 professional references, I started to cry and didn’t finish the application. I couldn’t think of a professional reference. Sure, I had people who would give me a reference, but I hadn’t worked for anyone in years.  

At the same time, I think having one parent able to stay home is great for a family. I think I’m slowly going insane, but besides that, I think it’s a good idea. If possible.

I had a parent home until I was about 12 or 13 and then I would come home and be alone for about an hour. It wasn’t that big a deal. I would do my homework and watch Days of Our Lives. The worst thing I did was eat a whole box of Kudos and then throw up. I never ate another Kudos again and I’m not even sure they make them anymore. They probably heard my story and realized they didn’t have a future.

But I remember when I missed the bus and I couldn’t get a hold of anyone. I was scared. I thought I’d have to stay at the school over night. My neighbor came and got me and it wasn’t a big deal except for the 30 minutes when it was.

I’m around if my kids forget their lunches or nice clothes for a presentation. I pick them up for appointments and make sure things generally run smoothly.

Except for those times when I mix appointments up and I show up at the right time a day late. Or when I give each kid a different kid’s lunch so when I see one on the counter and it says my youngest’s name but I know I gave him something, I just eat that lunch myself.

I’m not a very domestic stay at home mom but I’m a “I’m here if you need me” one.  

As I write from my character’s point of view, I wonder if this is still a good idea.

If I went back into the workforce and actually used my law degree, I would never make the money I would’ve made had I stayed working. I’m so far out of the game, I wonder if I could get a job.  

Some people volunteer and keep up their resume that way. I haven’t kept a file of what I’ve done. I think I was taught you don’t get credit for volunteer work. It’s a service. (And if it gets around that I’m a helpful person, people may actually ask me for help. No one wants that.)  

So what’s the answer?

Is staying home still a viable option?  

How does one make the perfect choices in life? And never regret them?

I would love to hear your views.

Going back to Law School

I recently went back to Iowa for my friend’s daughter’s wedding.  I hadn’t been back since I graduated law school almost 11 years ago.  I also haven’t used my law degree for about 11 years.

I was an average student.   I was looking for an average, medium-powered job and people get referrals based on how good a lawyer currently is; not on their rank in law school.  (I get excellent referrals, by the way.  They just have nothing to do with law.)

This pictures proves I graduated from here

This pictures proves I graduated from here

I walked in and almost felt a whoosh carrying me back to the past.   I should have 20 lbs of books on my back and a constant prayer on my lips I wouldn’t be called on that day.  But then I noticed a couple things:

1. The entrance has furniture now.  There are actual chairs to sit on.  We had chairs on the first and fourth floors but not on the main floor, where you spend a lot of your time.  The ground was good enough for us, thank you.

2.  There were TV screens in the building for announcements.  It also displayed the weather.  11 years ago, we had to walk up to a board and read a piece of paper for our announcements.  We had to look out a window to find out the weather.  We had to earn our info.

3. The biggest change: the cafe serves Starbucks coffee and real food.  I don’t drink coffee, but even I know this is a step up from the big black bags they used with “Regular” and “Decaf” stamped in white.  And you didn’t stop here for lunch.  You bought water, a Diet Coke and, on bad days, a giant Snickers.  I think they had instant oatmeal you made yourself.

We only had a water spicket coming out of the wall

We only had a water spicket coming out of the wall

I worry about the future of the law.  Because it looks like law students are getting soft.

Out of the Comedy Groove

Lately I feel like I’ve gotten out of my comedy groove.  I’ve been treading water and although I learned to swim, I didn’t properly learn how to tread water.  It has something to do with moving your legs in different directions like egg beaters except that I don’t really use egg beaters unless I’m at my parents house and at home I just use a whisk and they don’t teach the ‘whisk’ way to tread water because you have two legs.

Let’s alter this metaphor.  I feel as though I’m up to my eyes in life.  Which also is technically not possible and I would come up with a better metaphor if I weren’t up to my eyeballs.

I had a week and I’m trying to bounce back and I can’t get enough air under me.  I can see the humor in it all but I can’t make it funny.  I feel like my squeaker is broken.

I threw 2 bday parties with over 13 kids each within 24 hours.   I had to do forensic accounting and find missing money (which sounds cool but is really depressing.).  An old friend decided to be ungracious, I woke up to be told I have skin cancer (minor, non-threatening, really just more of a pain kind) and then I got a migraine at the end of my triathlon.

There is TONS of material in here.  I mean all of this happened within a week.  And instead of it happening in 3’s, it happened in 6’s which just seems unfair and yet incredibly hilarious.  It’s unfortunate I didn’t get it in pictures.

I am definitely learning that no matter what happens in life, we can’t judge other people because they may have woken up and realized that every single kindergartener was in fact coming to the birthday party that night and they only had 12 squirt guns.  When faced with this type of pressure, a person is going to snap and it may happen while you’re watching.

So next time you find someone twitching while in line at Target, instead of passing judgement, pass them a Diet Coke.

(See?  I just don’t have it.  I think the migraine killed some brain cells.)
(I’m hoping the procedure to remove skin one layer at a time brings the funny back.)

Someone who does this to themselves should never lose their comedy groove.

Someone who does this to herself should never lose her comedy groove.

What to do if you’re a SAHM at a Conference

If you’ve ever been to a professional conference with your spouse and someone has asked you what you do and you’ve answered ‘stay at home mom,’ you’ve also experienced the glazed over look, the speaker staying for a polite 3-4 more sentences and then moving on.

I’m tired of people getting a glazed over look and leaving after a few polite sentences.  I want them to leave for more exciting reasons.  Or maybe just out of fear.
I’ve come up with a few alternatives:
If you aren’t at a Dental conference, tell people you are a dentist.  People will then ask about a tooth.  This may freak you out, but all you have to ask is, “Do you floss?”  The answer is always no and then you can tell them that there is nothing a dentist will ever be able to do for them again unless they regularly floss.

If you are at a Dental Conference, tell people you’re a lobbyist against fluoridated water.  People will still leave, but they’ll leave out of anger.

Another fun response: “I’m thinking of running for President.  Hillary Clinton was on the right track but she wore the wrong shoes.”  Then ask for a contribution.
“I’m trying to become a dictator of a small country off the coast of Canada.”  Then ask for a contribution.

Another favorite:
Lean in and very quietly say, “I take care of people” and then wink.

I hope this helps.  If nothing else, it will make generally boring conferences at least a little more interesting.

Or you could tell people you're a stay at home mom of zombie children

Or you could tell people you’re a stay at home mom of zombie children

My New Job Part 2

A while ago I posted how a fascinating conversation with a spouse is how much your spouse would pay you to work for them.

I thought I’d follow up.

Now it’s rude to state how much I make so I won’t.

But I will say: Remember that job I had in college where I made sandwiches at that bagel store?  In 1996?  I’m hoping that after my 3 month evaluation, I make as much.

I've kept this.  It's amazing how many situations it's helpful to wear it.

I still wear it in emergencies.

What I’m giving up for Writing

I have decided to make writing my job.  I read these two posts on wordbitches and Kristen Lamb’s blog, both on treating writing like a job and realized that I owe it to myself and to my family, really, to take myself more seriously.  Instead of a word count, I will be working on hours a day.  I want a part time job of 20 hours a week.  I have to take what I really and truly want more seriously.  I want to write.  So I start my new job on Monday.

The other job I am giving myself is to get in shape.  I will be 40 in a year.  I have written about how excited I am about this.  When I mentioned in my book group that I was dreading my birthday, they asked me if it was my 30th.  They drink wine during book group.  A LOT of wine.  But I must say I take pretty good care of my skin.  I’m masking right now.

My friend Elena Aitken gave me a workout schedule to run a 5k in March and doing something with weights on off days.  It may actually kill me.  Right now, the only part of my body that doesn’t hurt is my fingers.  Otherwise I would not be able to type this.  Which is good because I’m starting my other job on Monday.

But between these two things, I’ve got to cut down on something.  I jog while watching TV or I do laundry while studying medicine (by watching House or  Grey’s Anatomy.  Their medical experts are the closest I will get to medical school.)

So I can keep TV and laundry.  I don’t clean my house now so I can’t really give that up.

I think personal hygiene may have to go because at my age it takes a REALLY long time to look good.  You have to keep masks on for ten minutes and then rinse AFTER you have already washed your face.  It’s a whole extra step.

I also think giving it up will give me more time to write because no one will want to be around me.  But like most artists, I will sacrifice for my art.

Went through my pictures and thought this might be ok to represent bad hygiene.

“Creative Writers Wanted”

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine forwarded this want ad to me:

Writer in Helena, Montana
A growing US company is looking for a Writer that can deliver fun, witty and creative content. This person will start off working on a part time basis, but the workload has the potential to quickly increase. The hours will be flexible, but the writer will be required to meet deadlines. Competive Compensation . …Duties Include: Blog Entry Message Creation Profile Creation Requirements: Writing skills and experience (Witty, creative writers preferred). Flexible hours Good time management Computer savvy. Have access to a computer with a reliable internet connection. If you are interested, please contact us: HR Director : hr@virtualdatingassistants.com Please use Creative Writer Needed In your Subject Line

I thought this sounded interesting so I looked into it.  Virtual Dating Assistants helps people who are too busy find someone to date.  Someone else writes your personal ad and then writes emails to people who chose you or who you chose.  You don’t actually have to do any communication with your romantic interest until you actually see them.  It’s like a Cyrano De Bergerac for the busy.  I read an article where they wrote that there have been some problems when people meet and they don’t sound anything like their emails.

Part of me really wants to apply for this job.  I think it would be great fun to be someone else for a little while and to flirt with a complete stranger for a couple weeks.  Innocent flirting is a lost art form.  I think Joey from Friends killed it with: “How you doin’?” and expecting that to carry him to a long lasting relationship.

And they are asking for creative writers.  “You sound really great on your personal ad.  I forgot to add that I am actually a Vampire who can fly jets during the day because the sun’s rays don’t affect me unless I am touching the ground with at least one foot.  I can do a handstand during the day as well.  It has to be a foot for the sun to affect me in a negative way, like death.  Your skin looks so pale in your picture, which I must say is a huge turn on for a person in my position.  Do you like to fly?  I fly to Italy every other week and would love to take you with me.  If you don’t like forward or career women, I would like you to know that when I am in my bat form, I am really meek and follow the pack.”  I could really get into this.

I do not believe I will be applying, however.  It would drive me nuts because there would never be closure for me.  I would want to know how the date went and if there was a connection and how different my voice is compared to who showed up.  I would want the date to be a reality show for me, no one else, just me. I mean, this is my baby; I should be able to see it through. I would want to know if they ended up getting married and could I go to the wedding and when he heard my voice and my undeniably brilliant wit, would he leave his bride at the alter and confess undying love for me?  How awkward would that be because Kevin would be next to me and he would feel as though he had to defend my honor and then there would be a bloody brawl and I might get my really nice skirt stained.

So I won’t apply, but you should feel free.  (and tell me about it)

Resolution: Become Vain

I am trying to get a few relatively achievable goals.  I would like to not be discouraged this year, seeing as I have my “novel” to finish and that is discouraging enough.  And I have to do the laundry.  So this year, drum roll please, I have decided my New Year’s Resolution is to become vain.

Now I will admit that I am a little vain.  I believe anyone who gets out of bed, showers, combs their hair, and chooses what they will wear is slightly vain.  You graduate in vainness by how long you take with your hair; how much make-up you wear; if your clothes match and have no stains on them.  On a scale of 1-10, 1 being you cut your hair with toe-nail scissors and 10 being you get a blow-out every other day, I believe I range from a 4 to 6 on a daily basis and around an 8 for special occasions.  Looking at my scale, perhaps I don’t have enough gradations in it.  There is a mighty big gap between toenail scissors and blowouts.  Oh, well.  This is my reality and I am sticking to it.

I have decided to become an 8 in vainitude.  This is going to take some effort.  I may have to stop wearing fleece and ponytails.  Maybe I should get my hair cut into a style that must be done instead of growing it out and wearing a newly knitted hat over it.  I have tons of eye make up.  I will have to start using it though.  I may have to start wearing base as well.

I am also going to have to enter a twelve step program that will help me get over my resentfulness toward the time it takes to shower, and put gel in my hair.  I got up late Friday and I almost decided to not do any of it.  Until I realized I would be going out in public.  I swear if it weren’t for the public, I would only wear pajama bottoms with fuzzy slippers.  Instead of ten pairs of shoes, I would have ten pairs of fuzzy slippers.  If I did that now, people would think I was trying to look like a high school student.  I wish that would stop being a fad.  Because then I could do it without looking desperate.  Fuzzy slippers for Everyone!

In order to accomplish an 8, my children can no longer come near me unless they sanitize first.  I will put signs in the bathroom: “members of the family must wash hands after using the bathroom if they would like to come within 200 feet of Mommy.”  Too bad only one kid can read.  I’ll put another sign with an x over soap = an x over my picture.  Then we can have a dinner conversation devoted to what these signs mean.

I will also need my husband to get another job.  I will need to start wearing $200 heels that pinch my feet.  I will also need $500 jeans that fit just so and really large diamond earrings.  Like the ones Oprah wears. In fact, I think I need every one of Oprah’s favorite things starting from 1995.  Maybe my husband can get a part time job at the local bookstore.  I recently read a wonderful essay on how fun a part time job would be.

part-time job

I am sitting in a café across from a woman writing her Christmas cards.  I don’t write Christmas cards.  I send out approximately 100.  I am seeing how many I get back this year.  If it isn’t 100, I will be sending less next year.  I really appreciate the cards I get that have been written by hand.  Perhaps next year I will write a couple.  At the same time, this website is my heartfelt letter to you all.  Accept it and feel special.

She told her co-worker to look in the office and he replied, “I did.  You are awesome.”  She looked so happy and smug about what she had done nice for her co-workers.  That is when I decided to get a part time job at a local store.  I want a family outside my own that I can do nice things for.  But then I started to get depressed and wondered if this was her only family in town and how she wanted to do something nice for someone at Christmas and this was her opportunity.  Then I started thinking I wasn’t giving her much credit and maybe she came from a huge family and it was ingrained in her that she should do nice things for everyone and this was part of it.  But then I thought how overwhelming that would be and I started to feel sorry for her again.  Then I thought maybe I was thinking about this complete stranger a little too much.

So I have a family in town that I do nice stuff for and I really shouldn’t want to get a job just for that reason.  Maybe I want the job so that the people I do nice things for actually appreciate it and thank me.  If I bake my children a cake, they have been known to complain it was white instead of chocolate or rectangular instead of round. (Maybe this was just me as a child complaining.  Round cakes were two layer and therefore had that layer of frosting to separate the cake.  I like frosting. Note to self: may be why you are on Weight Watchers.)  Now before you judge me and say that I should be teaching my children gratitude, my children are very thankful to teachers, friends, and strangers who give them candy.  I am just the tall redhead who feeds them and clothes them and yells at them regularly.  Perhaps they aren’t grateful for the cake because they had to eat five whole beans in order to get a piece of white, rectangular, single layer cake.  I think those beans take out all possible ‘thank you’s.’  Maybe I’ll make them eat only four.

Even without the special Christmas treats and gratitude, I sometimes think it would be fun to have a job at a local shop.  There is a bookstore that would be fun to work in.  Everyone goes there.  Then I would get to know the whole community and when I walk down the street I could say hi to everyone I meet without looking like a freak.  Or perhaps I just need to not listen to as many Christmas songs because I know one of them tells you to say hi to everyone you meet.

I also think it would be nice to spend four or so hours a day only worried about a book that is or is not in stock, where a certain book is, and if, I shiver to think of it, a shelf is not alphabetized correctly.  I think that sounds more relaxing than the thought that three small people depend on me with their LIVES.  Or something like that.  I may be going over board.  But if Christmas isn’t the time to go overboard, what time is?