As I troll through job postings, knowing that I need to get cracking on looking for my next adventure, I find myself wanting to try to somehow add the experience of the past five months of unemployment and being a stay at home dad to my resume. Here’s how the listing of the newfound skills I have acquired would look:
Employer – Stay At Home Daddy September, 2013 – Present
–Multi-tasking: Can fix snack, give spelling test, start dinner preparations, fold laundry, and load dishwasher all at the same time.
–Complex Negotiations: Can effectively end all-out war in relation to which Wii game should be played by two parties by simply giving the Wii a time out.
–Attention To Detail: Have developed eyes in the back of my head and canine-level hearing to determine where two small boys are in the house at all times by listening for their footsteps or their mouth breathing and giggling while they try to hide from me or get into food that they don’t have permission to get into.
–Physical Demands: Able to lift chairs, couches, and other pieces of furniture when they are toppled over or shoved across the room in a temper tantrum. Able to pry apart two children in the throes of physical conflict when disagreements happen.
–Time Management: Can negotiate three-tiered subway journey and hail cab in rush hour to make an after school doctor appointment on-time with seven and eight year old in tow wanting to run off in different directions.
–Powers Of Persuasion: Can make even Brussels Sprouts sound as appealing as chocolate coated pizza slices topped in sugar and whipped cream with an ice cream chaser.
With all this under my belt, I cannot imagine how anyone would not be itching to hire me. Some days during this time I have grown convinced that stay at home parenting should come with combat pay….even if your children are in school for six hours of each day.
The experience of being a stay at home parent has taught me numerous things about myself:
1. I am never, ever bored….with two very active heightened needs children even the fine art of sitting inert staring dumbly at a section of the wall when they are either asleep or in school has a distinct appeal and even a zen-like quality to it.
2. Doing laundry sucks. Plain and simple. It sucks. I hate it. I’d rather take the pile of dirty clothes and set fire to it in the driveway and just watch it all burn than think about washing, drying, and folding it all.
3. I have more patience for noise than I do for opposition or defiance. I’d far rather hear my children laughing and carrying on while they are playing than hearing them whisper ‘no’ to me when it’s time to stop playing and do their homework, eat, or go to bed.
4. There is an amazing appeal to taking a hot bath in the middle of the day when no one is around to ask for food, or inquire as to why dogs wag their tails, or ask me to settle a disagreement over who would win; Spider-Man or a snow plow? I still don’t really know the answer to that question, even after five months.
5. The meaning of ‘happy hour’ has morphed into something entirely different. It used to mean sitting in a bar with free food and cheaper drinks. Now it means ‘when the kids go to bed’. It means sitting down with a good book and a sandwich and cup of tea that no one is asking for bites or drinks of and yelling at me that they can’t have any. That magical time when SpongeTurtles no longer is on my t.v., I can be in the bathroom for more than thirty seconds without someone bursting through the door or kicking it because I locked it behind me, and the house is relatively quiet for a little while before my own bedtime.
6. Children’s television programming for seven and eight year olds is like a special ring of hell so low that even Dante could not imagine it. Thankfully my kids will sit down and watch ‘America Unearthed’ or ‘Cities Of The Underworld’ type programming with me. I’d far rather tune in to Nat Geo than Nickelodeon any day of the week.
7. I used to want to teach my dog neat tricks like ‘roll over’ and ‘sit up’. Now I am of the mind that it would be far more to his benefit to teach him ‘RUN, YOU FOOL! THEY’RE COMING!’
8. Some day my kids will understand that at the end of the day, if their homework is done, if they are fed, and if they are in bed on time, and if I have hugged them and kissed them and told them I love them, no matter how atrociously they have behaved during the day, they can call me the ‘worst dad ever’ and tell me they hate me all they want. I know the truth. I am not the worst dad ever, nor am I the best. I don’t strive to be either one of those things. But I’m a good dad. That’s the most and the best I ever hope to be.
9. If you really want to give me a treat…don’t come to my house with a bottle of wine and hang out with me. Bring the wine, leave the bottle, take my kids out for a while, and let me have an evening to myself in the house.
10. My new favorite phrase is ‘Asked and answered’. It’s far more effective than ‘Because………’ and whatever follows because……
I’m not sure if these skills and acquired knowledge are really all that ‘marketable’ in the work force, without a teaching degree, but I think in some way, shape, or form they will come in quite handy once I re-enter the world of ‘working parents’.
Until that time, I’ll make good use of my six hours each weekday that the kids are in school. Admittedly I do wish some days that it were more than six hours. Some days I would like it to be less, and can’t wait to see them and give them both a hug. Soon enough they will be grown and off on their own, although to listen to my youngest he will live with me forever and ever and never wants to leave. Some day I will be sitting in a comfortable chair with a book on my lap and no laundry to do and think ‘where did the time go?’
While I’m interviewing I will just have to remember that no matter how challenging a job looks, or how difficult a work environment might appear…..I survived several months of being a stay-at-home parent to two very, albeit wonderful and loving, challenging boys. That means I can handle pretty much anything that’s thrown at me now. I can answer pretty much anything they ask me.
As long as no interviewer asks me who would win, Spider-Man or a snow plow…..that one is still a mystery.