Saturday, August 26, 2006

This one's for stay at home parents

Ever meet a stranger and ask her what she does? Notice how she stammers, or looks for the words that expresses the importance of her work, or how she says what she used to do before she had kids. She is a stay at home mom, and there is a relatively new creature joining her ranks The stay at home dad. These are the people who, for a variety of reasons decide to hold off on a career in order to raise children. And they do not get a whole lot of support from society, or sure they may be admired but they often do not feel respected. There are too many voices out there who claim that raising children doesn't challenge all of brain cells or years of education. Worse than that, the message often states "You are not contributing to the good of society as is your duty!"
Whether these words are spoken or implied, stay at home parents feel the attitudes that surround what they do. Add to that, the monotony of changing diapers, doing laundry, breaking up sibling squabbles all without a paycheck and a stay at home parent will often start to doubt themselves. Stay at home parents are often isolated, and worn out and in desperate need of a healthy dose of encouragement, someone to stand up and say. "What you do is important, what you do makes this world a better place. What you do has significant ramifications that carry on through the generations. Now, pick yourself up by your bootstraps and prepare yourself for the most significant meaningful challenge of your life. Raising your kids.
But you need vision. You need hold a picture of what you working toward in your head because you will not be rewarded every two weeks like the guy who gets his paycheck. This picture/goal will keep you focused on your reward. Imagine great things for your family for your children and hold on to that image when things get rough.
Want to know what your job description would look like if someone were to hire you?
If someone were to actually list all of the wild and wonderful things you do and skills you need. I tell you , brain cells are most definitely needed. Education-a bonus. And contributing to society... Dear SAHP's you bring more to society than anyone could even imagine. I shudder to think what our world would look like in your absence!

Wanted- person with strong leadership skills available to work 9-5 plus early mornings, late nights, weekends and, okay all night long, but you can sleep (sometimes). Need to commit to this position for at least 18 years. Must be willing to accept unconventional pay and benefit package
Qualified individuals will be well organized- need to organize self and persons under your leadership, Need to make all activities and appointments in a timely matter, gets persons under your leadership to bed at appropriate time and up and ready in the morning fed a healthy breakfast and sent off with all necessary homework, supplies, and probably lunch for the day
-Must be creative (and possibly silly) as you will need these skills to tackle boredom in long lines and waiting rooms, plan birthday parties, stop child from crying during portrait sitting and get persons under your leadership to eat variety of vegetables.

Must work well under pressure- Person will need skills to handle tantrums (usually in public; lost shoes with no time to spare; he said/she said kinds of conflicts, must bandange wounds calmly and lovingly without getting hysterical (no matter how much blood is involved or how strange the limb looks in that position). Keeping up with the ever changing requirements of the Redcross first aid handbook is a plus.

Person must possess good conflict resolution skills, will come in handy when dealing with sibling squabbles in vehicle in crazy traffic, and not sharing toys on playdates.

Must possess strategic planning skills and also be spontaneous- in other words must be able to plan and set things up to work out a certain way but be prepared for Murphy's law at all times.

Must be both firm and nurturing- Must develop rules for running the "company" hold to consequences when rules are broken, and dole out lots of hugs when consequences are completed.

Must posses an unprecedented amount of love for the subjects under your leadership.
If you've got that, all the other skills can be picked up through on the job training. Many more skills are needed but if you've read this far and still have a flicker of an interest, you are hired. You are desperately needed. Your fulfillment of this job will affect your family, your community your world in ways your could never imagine.

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