Well, hello! Welcome!
Sit, please, and take one of our forms. We also have extra pens in case you need one.
As you know, we are seeking job applicants for a very special position.
First of all, I need to tell you there is no retirement. There is no end date circled on the calendar. No one is going to plan you a party with a cake.
And the salary? Well, we’ll get to that later.
For now, I have a few questions for you.
Can you catch vomit in your hands?
Can you put your lips to a forehead and gauge a fever?
Can you squint your eyes, and ferret out a lie?
With this job, there will be days when you have to fake being okay on the outside, even though your insides feel like a hurricane of grief and fear.
It isn’t what you thought it would be.
He isn’t who you thought he might be.
Heads up, we offer on-the-job training for quite a few topics, like how to fold a fitted sheet, the best way to get a 16-year old to load a dishwasher, and teenage girl drama.
I have to ask, how do you feel about sleep? The bad news is, if you take this job, you’ll probably never sleep again.
Oh, sure. You’ll sleep. You’ll close your eyes and even start to doze, but the entire time you will be listening with crazy bat senses for the sixth grader weeping over a lost friend, the child stimming in his bed, and the rustle of a potato chip bag as an adolescent boy struggles to satisfy his bottomless pit of an appetite.
And even of the entire house is quiet, your brain will decide to keep you awake.
What if he never speaks in sentences?
How many eggs do we have for breakfast?
I need to get them all flu shots.
That brings me to my next question. Do you understand the difference between a croup cough and a regular cough?
Allow me to explain. A croup cough sounds like a seal just moved into the bunk bed in the room next door.
A regular cough sounds like lunch with your best friend is canceled.
Hey, listen. I can’t go meet you today. He’s been coughing all morning.
If it’s a croup cough, you’ll probably find yourself sitting on your front porch in January wrapped in blankets, while you hold your ear to a heaving chest and pray to the good Lord himself to help your baby breathe.
Dear God, help him breathe.
Come on buddy, just take a big breath.
Just a few more questions before we wrap up our time together.
How are you with lots of dirty plates in the sink?
Do smelly socks bother you?
Can you look into a teenager’s face, and see the gentle curve of an infant’s cheek?
I have to warn you, this position will probably come between you and your spouse. He doesn’t understand it, you see. He wants to do it differently.
A few years ago this might have required a write-up from Human Resources, but we’ve since changed our procedure.
Now our handbook advises to embrace your differences. Celebrate them, even. Remind yourself this is a beautiful part of life, even as you imagine yourself throwing all of his clothes on the front lawn and lighting a bonfire, while you simultaneously long for his warm embrace.
Just so you know, our company has strict policies when it comes to fire safety.
Depending on which department you work, you may have to listen to people murmur there is something wrong with him oh my something is wrong with that boy.
Listen to me. There may be some things wrong but there is also a lot of things right and you are just going to have to keep your head down and your heart open and remember this. Around here, this is what we call your mission statement.
In this particular department, you may also be required to attend meetings to discuss an Individualized Education Program. You should also be prepared to spend many ours driving around to various appointments for speech, and social learning, and adaptive play.
You might cry into your pillow at night.
You might if you can do it. You can.
Unfortunately, at this time we do not offer any training on how to answer the same questions about Cinnamon Coke, spiders in the Amazon, or upcoming weather patterns all the livelong day until you want to light your eyelashes on fire. Feel free to put a note in the suggestion box, we review them carefully every month.
The good news is, there is no dress code. Yoga pants are fine. Dry shampoo would be nice, but really, whatever time allows.
Meal breaks involve bites of food stolen from the plastic dish of a toddler, or the sandwich your 7-year old refused to eat even though he loved and adored that sandwich last week, or whatever your high-schooler hasn’t inhaled.
How many hours a week? Oh, it’s tough to say. I would estimate about 9,345,285, not including the occasional overtime.
We do give you the opportunity to work from home.
We also give you the opportunity to design your family.
That’s right. Design your own family.
Do you want to eat dinner together every night? Then eat dinner together every night.
Create your own traditions.
Celebrate holidays your way.
It’s okay to say no.
No to cell phones.
No to over-scheduling.
It’s okay to say oh, we don’t do anything on Sundays because in our house we call it Adventure Sunday and we do something only as a family.
Name it. Do it.
No one tells you this. It’s not even written in the Employee Handbook. Yet it is true.
It is not an easy job.
You will doubt yourself constantly.
Throughout the day you will waver between joy, and anger, and deep satisfaction.
This is normal.
This is okay.
On that note, congratulations! After reviewing your application and considering your interview, we’ve decided you’re hired!
Please report to work at 5:30 tomorrow morning. You may clock out after you’ve answered approximately 865,912,115 questions regarding a permission slip for a field trip that actually happened last week..
Oh, your title?
Well, mother, of course.
For some, there is no word. There is simply a glance acknowledging you are his most important person in this confusing world.
Either way, you are the mother.
You were meant to do this.
Don’t overthink it.
Do not let anyone take it away from you.