My first job ever was at our local Baskin Robbins. Job title - scooper.
I've lost track of the number of jobs I've had since but, suffice it to say, there's been a lot of them.
I was a bicycle messenger in Manhattan (my mother's heart broke a little the day she asked me, her college-educated daughter, how my day was and I responded 'Some dude spit on me.')
I was a Santa's helper (running interference between overweight/over-enthused children and a very sweet 85-year-old Santa).
I did a stint as a 'consumer research consultant' (you give me make-up, I tell you whether or not it burns my face off, you pay me forty dollars).
I served drinks in New Orleans during Mardi Gras (in a place so busy that we actually had a policeman protecting us behind the bar).
Basically, if you had an unskilled labor position you needed filled in the years 1988-2004, I was your go-to gal.
In the year 2009, I find myself with a new job, perhaps the strangest one yet.
I am...a housewife.
I tried to deny this basic truth for several months after having the Snood by telling myself that my 'current situation' was complicated:
I was really a writer who was, as they say in Hollywood, "in-between assignments."
I was "taking a little time away from my career to be with the baby."
I just "happened to be trying out a few new pie recipes right now! It didn't mean anything!!!"
But, the fact is that, while every morning my husband got up, showered and headed to an office to work in exchange for monetary compensation and personal fulfillment - I got up and put on slippers and a robe. I spent the next 12 hours meeting the every need of a tiny, unreasonable maniac in exchange for zero dollars, pausing only to whip up some dinner and/or desperately cling to the hope that perhaps tomorrow things will go a little more smoothly.
After a while there was no denying it. Housewife was the only job title that fit.
My Aunt Terry (www.terrymartinhekker.com) wrote a book in 1976 called EVER SINCE ADAM AND EVE. In it, she extolled the virtues of being a stay-at-home mom and the simple joys of housewifery.
32 years later, she has a new book coming out. It is titled, I kid you not, "DISREGARD FIRST BOOK." Turns out that, for Aunt Terry, the simple joys of housewifery weren't so simple after all. But so far, now that I've come to terms with it, I have to say the housewife gig is workin' out pretty well for me.
Sure, there are some definite downsides (have I mentioned that the boss is a tad...unreasonable?) But compared to telemarketing? It's not too shabby. Compared to taking a subway for an hour to work under flourescent lights for 8 hours a day in pantyhose? It's not half bad.
Plus, I can state with great certainty that I far prefer being vomited upon by the Snood than by my drunken former patrons on Bourbon Street.
Now, I don't claim to know what the future will bring. Who's to say if years spent raising kids and taking care of home and hearth will bring a deep sense of personal fulfillment or deep desire run off to Guam with the poolboy? Only time will tell. But until then, I plan to carry on - housewive-ing it up! (Or perhaps I will change my mind during the course of the week and my next entry will be entitled "DISREGARD LAST BLOG.")
Because sure, some days when I catch up with friends who are still pursuing satisfying job paths or achieving lofty goals at work, I find myself thinking of my own career goals deferred. And, yes, there is a certain sense of melancholy at such moments. But then, a single thought comes to mind. It is the thought that I turn to again and again for comfort. The thought that always manages to bring me a deep and abiding sense of peace with my current decision to embrace housewifery. And the thought is this...
...at least at my job - there's pie!