Working Mother (Effer)

Yesterday Curtis and I were getting all testy and argumentative, also known as doing the budget: the fastest way to make two normally compatible people look like candidates for the Jerry Springer Show. And it became painfully clear that my freelance writing gig just isn't cutting it. I've been doing it for seven years now, and I love to write, but let's face it. Freelance anything is competitive - sometimes I spend more time scouting out jobs than actually doing work - and the pay is not what you'd call reliable. (I once waited a year for a check I was expecting within a month.)

So Curtis dropped the bomb. The J-word ... as in job. As in taking-my-kids-to-daycare, brushing-my-hair-before-noon, non-flexible-scheduling employment. He says it was a "suggestion" and that I shouldn't take it so personally; I say it was a "get-your-ass-out-there-and-do-something-more-lucrative." Potato, potahto. The point is ... it's something I need to think about.

But y'all? I've been a freelance writer for seven years now, and a work-at-home Mom for five of those. I have very little "real world" work experience. I didn't finish college (hoo needs awl that fancey lernin' ennyhow?). And I don't even need to mention the state of the economy and the struggling workforce. If I don't want to work at McDonald's (and just for the record: I don't), I'm going to have to have a decent resume. But what am I supposed to put on it? That I waitressed for six months when I was fourteen? That I had a temp job at a market research firm? That I worked part-time stocking the freezer section of the Ramstein Air Base commissary, and was then promoted to freezer and bread?


I had (magical, cotton-candy-scented-unicorn) dreams of the blog becoming a book deal. Or of someone reading it and being like, "Hey! This chick can write about poop!" and hiring me on-the-spot as a regular parenting columnist somewhere. I know, right? I also dreamed about marrying Prince William, and we all see how that turned out (thanks a lot, Kate Middleton, for ruining my shot at the monarchy).

So before I work on a resume, I'm compiling a list of my skills. Here's what I have so far:

- Writing (duh).
- Typing. Like really really fast.
- Spelling (hey, that's gotta count for something, right?).
- Meeting tight deadlines.
- Coming up with stuff that makes people laugh ... at least some of the time.
- Cleaning up messes that would make most people run screaming.
- Getting two children to nap simultaneously (hey. That IS a skill).
- Making a kick-ass meal ... with dessert.
- Eating aforementioned dessert.
- Pretending that I don't think farts are funny for the purpose of teaching my sons some manners.
- Decoding babyspeak and various childhood speech impediments.
- Planning and executing a menu for an entire month.
- Drawing cartoons (coincidentally, about the perils of working from home in this case).
- Keeping my house generally put-together despite the presence of three rambunctious little boys.
- Speaking in a variety of accents and crazy voices.

Think there's a job out there for me? Maybe someone needs a receptionist who answers one call in a British accent, and the next in the voice of Widget from "Wow Wow Wubbzy." Or a recipe-tester who, like, types them up afterwards. Or an elephant-poop-shoveler.

This is gonna be hard.




  1. I was just recently rejected from quite a few jobs. I wish you the best of luck. I told my husband it's didn't seem promising maybe we should just cut cable out of our lives, he didn't like that idea.

  2. I just quit my job and am in the same boat... shoot me an email and I can let you know what I'm doing to get by and possibly do even better than 'get by'! :)

  3. Have you thought about taking classes online or something? You would make soo much more money, not having to pay for daycare + federal loans.

  4. Oh man, I feel for you! Sometimes employment centers can help you put together decent resumes. That being said, have you worked out the financial logistics of going back to work? We once worked it out for us, but the fact that going back to work would incur all kinds of extra costs, like daycare, transportation, possibly parking, new work clothing, etc., just meant that we really wouldn't make any money at all with any salary I'd be qualified for. Have you considered watching other kids during the day? You don't seem to be put off by messes so...

  5. funny, hubby and i just had a talk as well. he was like, what are you going to do when they are in school and i was like, probably still do laundry and clean and pick them up and blah blah blah. he talked of a job and the fact that it would be nice to get something w healthcare so he could have the chance to start his own business. whattheck.....i realized this was his DREAM idea and not necessarly what will happen, but i explained to him that there is NO way i can go back to doing what i use to do (finance) for many reasons, if i am going to be a working mom i MUST do something i like and enjoy and won't resent. so i am starting to look into personal training as on option.

  6. oh and the other point that i believe hubby never things about is how HIS life must change if i get a job, like his long hours and the fact that he can never be there for pick up or drop off, - he might have to make some changes, this makes him realize that maybe it wouldn't work out in his ideal world.

  7. Hi Rita,

    I've been following a while but don't often pipe up with anything - I'm the strong silent type, mostly unless ticked off and then the whole world knows about it. But I digress...

    There's lots of things that you can put into your cv, like for example your organisation skills - marshalling kids to get dressed, eat, out the door, do homework is no mean task and needs great organisation skills. Budgeting - you've been running a home, balancing accounts, paying bills etc. With 3 young boys you're clearly a people person, sympathetic and good at negotiating 'difficult and potentially' dangerous (kids fighting over toy) situations. You're flexible - married and with children - it goes without saying. Its all about putting a work related spin on what you do on a daily basis.
    These are just off the top of my head, feel free to get in touch if you'd like some other suggestions. Either which way hope all works out for you.

  8. I feel your pain. We are getting ready to PCS and the budget is so out of whack and every phone call we have (b/c he is TDY again) we are arguing over who spent what and then he thinks its a good idea to tell me to get a J-O-B when we get to Hawaii. Sure I will just find a job, put a kid in a daycare I know nothing about and drive in who knows what kind of traffic and be back in time to pick the Kindergartner up and make dinner and yada yada yada. He shut up after that.
    Good Luck to you!

  9. I started doing my blog with the same dreams of getting paid for it, hasn't worked out quite the way I thought it would but it did end up giving me a creative place to post my random thoughts. Better then quitting my job and taking to stand up comedy.

    Have you thought of being a personal assistant? Many of my friends and I work full time and would gladly pay people to pick up our dry cleaning so it doesn't get lost in the bowels of the building, open the door for the invisible cable guy or letting the dogs out when we get caught at the office so they don't pee on the rug in desparation. A friend of mine did it for awhile when she got laid off and did pretty good.

  10. You can always try a temp agency to get more skills on your resume and that is actually how I landed my job. They hired me as a temp and saw how good I was so they hired me full-time.

  11. oh, this is not easy, but a temp agency might be a good start. or if you have a friend that could hire you it would be even better!!!! i will keep my fingers crossed for you!!!

  12. You can put, I'm great, in it, not humble, but still the truth. :)

  13. I can sure see the need for extra income these days, especially when you have three growing boys to feed. But have you actually written down how much daycare will cost? And who's going to pick Colin up from school? And what about work clothes and car and gasoline expenses? Who's going to fix supper....or will you end up spending a lot more on fast food? Maybe it would be more practical to look around and see where you could cut corners and save on expenses at home (take another look at that book Amy gave you), at least while the boys are still at home. Wish I could afford to quit work and keep them myself and help take care of the house and laundry. That always was my favorite lifestyle!

  14. You are so funny! Honestly write a book, I would buy it. I have 3 boys so everything you write about hits home and your humor puts a great spin on the daily incidents of being a mom. * on the $$ side, I would add a child so that you can still be home with your kids, but contributing to the family income.
    Good luck, Karen

  15. I'd totally hire you, Rita. You are freakin' hilarious! But unfortunately, I'm not hiring ;) Child care is a one woman gig for me and BTW not great for my resume either.

    Good luck!

  16. You might try applying as a reporter for your local newspaper. Also, since you mentioned the food thing- why not a cook at your kid's school- you'd have the same hours they do. or better yet- a teachers aid. Summers off and with the kids.

  17. BAH! Blech on it all! I HATE money with such a fiery hot passion. Why? Because it causes so much stress and tension between spouses. AND, because it's necessary to you know, general survival. It's just hard.

    But, even though I do contribute to our income by teaching at home and watching my niece, it's still not enough. Oh wait, that's because my hsuband doesn't even have a real job, but that's another topic.

    ANYWAY, when he ever has the gall to mention maybe me getting a J-O-B I just roll my eyes in disgust. makes no sense whatsoever financially....daycare, et all. So, while it may seem like the "right move", in the end, it generally isn't. Unless you're capable of landing some job that magically pays 100 grand a year. Snort!

    My point're awesome.

  18. I would recommend cutting corners at home and taking in a kid or 2 to babysit. An entry level / minimum wage job outside the home is probably not cost effective.
    If you’re really, really desperate you could try working an off shift so that either you are Curtis is always home with the kids while the other is at work. I’ve done this before and it really puts a strain on the relationship and a huge bourdon on the husband who is not accustomed to tending the children alone.

  19. I think your writing is such a strength of yours. I'm sure you can use it. Are you interested in PR? I'm on the board of a QC-area PR group and we post job openings. Shoot me an email if you are interested.


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