Career Prospects of an Under Acheiver

I realized today that I have no marketable skills.

I was updating my résumé, as I  do every 5-10 years (I know I’m supposed to review it every year, but really… who does that?), and I didn’t have any idea what to put on it.  So I thought about my strongest qualities, and started constructing a list to see what could be worked into a résumé.

  • Sarcasm (Who, me?)
  • Cynicism (Well, you know that won’t last.)
  • Professional meddling (And I would have gotten away with it, too!  If it hadn’t been for that professional meddler!)
  • Starting (I am an amazing starter.  If you need something started, call me!  Just don’t expect me to finish it.  Ever.  I haven’t finished a single thing since my children were born, unless bottles of wine and pints of ice cream count.)
  • Video game proficiency (Is there a market for 30-something, mommy, beta testers?  Sims FreePlay, all over it.  Nothing better than tending the hunger, sleep and hygiene needs of virtual people.)
  • Uninhibited truth-telling and complete lack of tact (My husband calls these “conditions” that I have, like diseases.  I call them “virtues”.)

These are not resume material, obviously.  I moved on to accomplishments.  Do I have any achievements that are resume worthy?

  • Birthed 3 children (Not very marketable, as I have no intention of repeating the performance.)
  • Laundry (Ongoing…. and hardly accomplished, as I’m always waist deep in it and never sort by color or whatever.)
  • Quirky cupcake construction (You know, cupcakes shaped like aliens and robots are gratifying to look at, ok to eat, and a veritable time suck to create.)
  • 3-4x a week showers (This is an accomplishment.  I’m up from once a week when my offspring were younger. Go me.)
  • Kindergarten homework x2 (It was an all-nighter, but I nailed it!)
  • All living things in my care still thriving

Well, the last one is something; although I don’t know that it belongs under “Professional Experience”…. maybe it’s better suited for “Objective”.

If you are in the market for a person with my hardly unique skill-set, please contact me for an interview.

Escape to Poo Mountain… Or Happy Earth Day…

Or… Why I should probably supervise my children better.

(Off topic: Who else loved Escape to Witch Mountain as a kid?)

I’m writing more these days, which means more computer time, which means my kids must fend for themselves.

GO. OUTSIDE. NOW… and stay there.

Generally, I sit on the deck and supervise them closely (**muffled laughter**), but today it is cool enough, and my laptop battery is low enough, that deck-sitting wasn’t an option.  Out they went.  And wouldn’t you know?  Miracles do happen and they played outside nicely.  No fighting.  No coming inside every 5 minutes.  No mischief.  No mischief?

They come inside and merrily tell me that they built a fly hotel called FlyTel because it’s Earth Day and “We even built Poo Mountain!”

Me:  Huh, cool. (Totally not paying attention… wait for it… wait for it)  Wait.  What?  You what?

Buddy: We built Poo Mountain from dog poo for our FlyTel so the flies can eat!

Me:  Built it with what?  With what did you touch poo?

Goose:  Gloves!

Bear: (grinning ear to ear) Uh huh! Wif gloves!

Me:  Please place all gloves in the laundry basket, then proceed directly to the bathroom to wash your hands.

**Smiling Earth-friendly children head toward bathroom**

Me: (yelling after them) WITH SOAP!! Wash your hands with SOAP!

**Grumbling children wash their hands with soap**

Me:  Now, let’s have a look-see at your FlyTel.

My children proudly delivered me outside to see this awesomeness:


To book your reservation, call today!

I love that they were thoughtful enough to include provisions for the flies’ education… I bet this wasn’t on your list of kid friendly Earth Day activities.


Science is fun… Sort of.

A friend recently suggested that I attend this local science festival-type-thing with the kids.

It sounded like this when she told me: Oh!  They’ll love it!  They’re into science-y stuff!  They’ll have a great time!  You have to take them!  It’s so great!  It gets bigger and bigger every year!

Splendid, I thought to myself, free entertainment for the kidlings.  Encourage interest in the sciences. Sounds like a win/win proposition.

Most of you already know this about me, but for those that don’t: There are certain situations where I don’t handle myself very well.  These situations include (but are in no way limited to) any venue that is hot, small, or has people.  The recipe for a good time?  Put me in hot, small space that is brimming to the tippity top with humans.  For extra enjoyment, tell me to bring my kids along, so that my misery may be properly compounded by losing sight of one or more children on multiple occasions.

I should have taken the lack of parking and presence of traffic control personnel as a giant red flag, but it was too late to turn back.

All of my belly-aching aside, the kids thought it was fantastic.  They were hot and tired before we had been to even half of the exhibits, but they were excited and interested in what we saw.  They ate marshmallows frozen in liquid nitrogen, watched static electricity bend water, made slime, handled a crazy amount of rocks and minerals and more.

One nature exhibit had a coyote skin.  Goose started petting it, flipping it over, poking it in the nose, and studying it from every angle.  Buddy immediately bristled and asked the poor woman working the exhibit, “What did you DO to him?!?”  She did her very best to explain to him that she didn’t do anything to him, but sometimes animals die and isn’t it fantastic that he left his skin for us to learn from, and so on.  He wasn’t convinced, but his outrage didn’t last long.

You see, he found this hovercraft thing that he wanted to ride.ASML  He absolutely lit up with excitement.  He and Bear both took rides on it.  Goose wanted to stay on the sidelines with me and play with her slime.  Then I realized whose exhibit this was.  Actually, it was the giant display they had up with a map that said “Where is The Netherlands?” that gave it away.

Oh, I know where The Netherlands is, Mister.  It’s a black hole filled with wooden shoes and cheese and tulips and it sucks my friends into it but doesn’t always spit them back out.  And I don’t give a hoot if the cheese is amazing. (Please send Beemster.)

The Netherlands

The Netherlands
(Black Hole Concept Wikimedia Commons)

When the three kids started hanging from me like so many wet sweaters on a drying rack, we called it quits and went home.  So happy was I to be outdoors, that I nearly forgot how unpleasant the evening had been.

The kids are still talking about it.  They can’t wait to go back next year.  Science is great!  They want to learn all about it!  Super fun!  Great event that accomplishes its mission to get kids interested in science!

… which means… that next year… I will have to find someone else to take them, because I would rather be sucked into a black hole than try to navigate a mess like that again.  (Although, I’ll reconsider if I hear that one of the tables is demonstrating the grape fermentation process.)

Kindergarten isn’t for wimps.

Since our last talk, Buddy and Goose have started kindergarten.  They are almost done with Kindergarten.  I’m going to have 2 first graders in a few short months.  First Graders.  I’m only barely muddling through kindergarten.  How will I ever manage 1st Grade?  I’m not exaggerating for effect, either.  Kindergarten is hard… on parents.  The kids have adjusted beautifully.  They love school.  For me, it is exhausting.

Let me tell you a few things about Kindergarten for those who haven’t been through it.

Kindergarten is 5 days a week.  That’s not a typo.  5 days a week.  Monday through Friday, I have to empty their backpacks of work sheets, art projects, homework packets, handouts, fundraisers, flyers, PTA bulletins, snack bags and more.  I thought that the pile of stuff that comes home with them from preschool/daycare (2 days a week) was overwhelming.  That was peanuts compared to this mess.  We’ve had to up-size our recycle bin.  At least the preschool stuff was all work the kids had done at school.  I didn’t have to do anything with it except decide if I should store it in their Keepsake Boxes or whisk it into the recycle bin stealthily concealed between pages of the community news.  The kindergarten paper deluge is a mixture of stuff  that I sort into keep, recycle, and return to school piles.  The return to school pile is often the largest and most time-consuming.

These kids are 5.  Their homework requires a ton of effort on my part and theirs.  They aren’t disciplined enough to do it without supervision.  Sometimes it doesn’t get done.  And when that happens, it is always my fault and not theirs, as in, mommy decided that a bath or dinner or toenail clipping or something trumped homework on that day.  We manage.

Then there is the endless barrage of forms: fundraisers, field trips, portraits, extra-curricular activities, yearbooks (Yearbooks?  In Kindergarten?) etc.  Each form requires me to fill it out… twice.  One for each child.

Are you keeping up so far?  Great!  I’m not done.

I also have to keep track of the “specials”.

Is today computer lab or phys ed?  You can’t wear those shoes today; you need sneakers.  It’s library today, so make sure your books are in your backpack or you can’t take out a new one.  Keep it all straight or your kid will be the one sitting out in gym because she’s wearing Mary Janes instead of sneakers… not that I know from experience or anything.

For all the effort that I have to put into it… I’m really in awe of their teacher.  She has 2.5 hours to cover a massive amount of material with 5 year olds.  I’ve been classroom “helper” a few times, and my brain is scrambled when I leave there.  That she can manage to teach all day long (one group in the morning and another in the afternoon) without losing her mind is nothing short of a miracle.

Am I whining?  Yup.  I am.  And if you think I’m whining now, just wait until September.  The whining has just begun.

There is an up-side to this kindergarten routine, though.  My kids are reading.  I can’t think of anything more wonderful than that.  They are learning and experiencing other great stuff too (including getting to see baby chicks hatch from eggs), but the reading and writing part makes me giddy.

Another benefit?  I get to have time alone with Bear now and then and I treasure it, because one day, he will be getting on the bus too and it will be his backpack that I’ll be complaining about.  Just like that, the “baby days” will be gone and all of my kids will be “school age”… and I will cry… and drink wine… and try to remember… while keeping up with the next exciting phase of parenthood.