Life and Art – the Circle of Life?

Ironically enough, after the last post, I came across a similar sentiment in the book I was reading (one of the benefits to running the Mom Taxi is getting to read while waiting – in recent years, I have even gotten to read “grown up” novels). In the book, Busy Woman Seeks Wife, by Annie Sanders, one of the characters is talking about going back to work, looking for “A job, but one I can do and look after the children … I want to be here for them or what’s the point?” The reply: “Yeah, jobs. They’re not all they are cracked up to be.” Wow – that pretty much sums things up for me.

So, at this time, most traditional full time jobs are not likely to work for me. (After all, the Mom Taxi is still very much in demand.) Perhaps a skills analysis is needed. I know that it has been done before: listing the jobs a stay-at-home mom does and assigning a salary value to them (which only the top 1 percent are likely to be able to afford). I also know that the amount is a bit inflated, because none of us are doing all of those jobs all the time. But then again, who in their right mind would want to take on such a variety of jobs with such a variable schedule?

Refocus: Job Skills.

Well, there’s the obvious: Child Care (which is actually more complicated than it may seem, since there are varying levels and types of care required depending on the age and abilities of the child involved). Here I am talking about basic care: feeding, keeping clean and safe (again – very different by age).

Education: children learn quite a bit before entering school and it is accepted as fact that those who have support with homework do better in school. Religious education is also primarily the responsibility of parents. Social skills are learned at home, as are basic civic responsibilities.

Educational Support: Going to parent/teacher conferences, IEP meetings, home & school meetings; volunteering to help in classrooms or making dozens of muffins, donuts, cookies; researching family history to help with project, searching for photos for project; planning events for the school community; finding ways to fund things not included in school budget; sending press releases to the local paper to highlight school events; organizing and running the school store; putting together school yearbooks; planning party for “graduating” class; helping to plan/execute big events for specific school groups (e.g. marching band, theatre); collecting/sewing costumes for plays; and more.

Household Management: Keeping track of schedules, making appointments (doctors, dentists, vet, etc.), arranging for transportation, getting groceries, planning meals, keeping track of appliance/car maintenance, helping to find stuff.

Laundry (I hate, hate, hate folding socks!) & Dishes (I don’t usually mind this; I can watch the birds in the backyard birdbath from the sink.)

General Housekeeping (Some people like to clean, I am not one of them. I do however, take joy in being able to see the difference after it has been done.)

Financial Management: Pretty basic – manage a checkbook and pay bills. The worst part of this is when it requires spending untold hours on the phone pushing “1” and screaming “Give me a human being!” when mistakes have been made (usually because of the company’s reliance on computers).

Mom Taxi: Everyone knows what this is. Some days are busier than others.

Then there are the “extras.” Scouting and sports are big ones in our household. With four kids, it was inevitable that I would be a coach of some sort (I left the basketball completely to my husband, but we both coached in the baseball league for a time; I also took on a few years of soccer). Scouting has become my main volunteer focus in recent years. I was not a scout as a girl, but am thoroughly enjoying my time as a leader, and have learned much from the experience. Spending time with the Boy Scouts has also been rewarding. My Girl Scout resume now includes leader, registrar, product sales manager, co-service unit manager, trainer, and event coordinator. Surely some of these translate to valuable job skills.

Experts advise you to figure out what you love to do and find a way to make money doing it. That sounds pretty basic, but there is so much that I love to do. Starting with the everyday list:

Child care – love and hate, depending on specific chore, child’s attitude and my patience level (this last is often completely dependent on how recently they have been conducting sleep deprivation experiments on me)

Education – love, but it can get monotonous sometimes

Educational support – mostly love, but think maybe “been there, done that”

Household Management – neutral, it’s just something I do and am usually pretty good at

Laundry & Dishes – really?

General Housekeeping – uh, no.

Financial Management – again, neutral. I did work as a bookkeeper for a few months before having kids (I guess I forgot that in my earlier list). I enjoyed it for the most part – it is satisfying to know you have the answer right.

Mom Taxi – okay, but hate traffic.

“extras” – love it (obviously, that’s why I do it)

This exercise seems only moderately useful. More analysis is needed.

Unfortunately, this week looks like life might get in the way again. Looks like this can be a very long process…

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