Although I've been home with my kids for the last 5 years, I have never thought of my situation as a permanent break from the workforce.
Don't get me wrong; I have absolutely no regrets with my current at-home position. I love being able to be here at this stage in the game, and I'm so grateful to be in a position to do it. However, there are some aspects that I miss though that come with having a career outside of the home, like the adult interaction, for example. That's one of the main reasons I started blogging.
Conversations with my then 5, 3, and 1 year old kids could only take an adult so far. You start to realize that your brain needs another level of engagement when you seriously start getting sassy with Dora and answering, "The Map! It's the #@%$ Map again!"
Next year my youngest will be starting all day Kindergarten, so recently I've been thinking about what I'll be doing with my free time while all three kids are in school all day. Will I finally have more time for my writing? Should I attempt to rejoin the workforce? Will I just be sitting around in my PJ pants, eating bon-bons and watching soap operas?
Each scenario clearly has its benefits.
Thinking through this a little further I wondered, What would I do if I did return to the workforce? Would I go back to corporate training (which was my last gig), or perhaps I could try something new? My initial concern was with my five year resume gap, but then, as I thought about parenting as a job itself, I realized that it has given me all kinds of new skills! In fact, should I decide to return to work, I'd have many new career opportunities to choose from thanks to all the new qualifications I've developed since becoming a parent.
1. Cruise Director
From the time my kids were old enough to sit up on their own, even before they were able to speak, I've been getting the look that says, "Entertain me!" Of course, now they are old enough to speak, and unless it's allotted screen time, I usually have at least one kid per 20 minutes audibly expressing their boredom and their need to tell me they don't know what to do. I can't say they always like my suggestions. So whether cruise activities were swimming, playing shuffle board, or cleaning their own cabins, this cruise director can always find something to do.
2. Hostage Negotiator
You may think I'm being dramatic, or that there would be no way that without proper training I could be qualified for a job like this, but if your entire family has ever been held up because your toddler refuses to put on pants so you can all go enjoy the zoo, park, or any other activity that society requires be done while wearing pants, then you know exactly what I'm saying. Sure, you're the parent and you could just make her put on the darn pants, but then there's crying, yelling, and other unpleasantries that I prefer to avoid before even stepping out the door. The key, of course, is making her think that you're on her side, and that you just want to help her. You gain her trust, speak in a soothing tone, and make her believe that wearing pants is her idea. After a standoff that lasts minutes, but feels like hours, she gives up and puts on pants! A win for the good guys! Until she says she has to pee...
3. Animal Trainer
I don't mean to brag, but my kids are pretty much house trained. They nearly always pee in, on, or around a toilet. They will sit on command, especially if I'm offering a treat, and my kids will also even lay down when I (repeatedly) give the command (200 times) each night at bedtime. I know, it's amazing, and it's all thanks to my stellar training skills. I'm pretty sure this qualifies me to train just about any other kind of domesticated animal.
4. Circus Ring Leader
Not only do I have the skills to train animals, I am also able to run my house like a three kid, three ringed family circus. My house guests marvel at my ability to tame the savage toddler. They gasp as simultaneously another child in the next ring (room) paints the dog's face like a clown's, all while the third kid walks the tightropes that are my nerves by asking 9000 times if he can play video games. The floors resemble those that you'd find under a big top too, with a variety of snacks like popcorn and peanut shells. If I didn't know any better, I'd think from all the stomping up and down the steps that we were housing elephants too. If I really wanted to pull out all the stops, I am also able to double as the Bearded Lady if given a few weeks notice.
This one requires little explanation to anyone with children. Whether it's school, extracurricular activities like sports or scouts, birthday parties, doctor's appointments, or wherever your unlicensed youth need to go, it can sometimes feel like you're living in your car. I even keep snacks and drinks, along with books for entertainment ... for myself. Personally, I think I'd make a great professional driver since I'm already always in the car, my record is clear of accidents and violations, and at this point adding a fare device to charge a fee only seems fair.
6. Harry Potter House Elf
Just like a House Elf from Harry Potter, I am immensely devoted to the family which I serve. I work tirelessly for them, but unlike a Harry Potter House Elves, who can only be freed if their masters give them clothing, I can only be freed by the gift of clean clothing. Alas, a House Mom only truly becomes free once her masters start doing their own laundry. Looks like I've got a while left to serve. Although this isn't a job I'd look for in the workforce, I'm unfortunately over-qualified for the no-pay position.
7. Sewer Inspector
I think that most people, regardless of their experience level with children, go into parenting with the expectation that it's messy at times. But until you're actually in it, you have no idea how far that actually goes, and how you may never look at a bathroom the same way again -- particularly after potty training. Once kids are potty trained, however, you're not off the hook. I've retrieved items from toilets that include, but are not limited to: large wads of toilet paper, entire rolls of toilet paper, cardboard toilet paper rolls, HotWheels, Matchbox Cars, army men, plastic dinosaurs, a whole banana, tennis ball, sock, coins, underwear, Legos, and a variety of plastic undersea animals. My toilet-fishing abilities might also qualify me for a spot on The Deadliest Catch, or at the very least, a spin off, The Nastiest Catch.
8. Bug Breeder
I had never really sat down and thought about where people get mail order bugs, but if I had to guess, I bet some of them like the kind people buy for ant farms, come from families with young children. At one point my family had cut out the middle man and had our own pet ants, much to my dismay (they left crackers under the doormats to attract them). Five years later and I'm still trying to get rid of these pesky pets.
9. Pooper scooper
I've been down with O.P.P. (Other People's Poop) for over eight years, and as much as it pains me to admit this, I'd be overly qualified for just about any job that involved the cleaning or disposal of poop.
10. Personal Assistant to a Diva
I've calmly and effectively been able to deal with insanely unreasonable people who get upset for no reason (for example when their sandwich is cut into triangles and not squares). I'm used to taking orders all day long, even ridiculous requests like "Please wipe my butt because I'm too tired!" (See again why I'd be good at #9). So working as a personal assistant to a Diva or someone like Meryl Streep's character from The Devil Wears Prada would be no big deal. I mean, at least I'd be getting paid!
What new skills have you acquired as a parent? Would you be qualified for a new career(s) too?
This post originally appeared on http://www.DivineSecretsofaDomesticDiva.com