Mommy For Hire

By LK Whitney:

Magic City MamaWhat I’m about to say might grossly offend you.

It’s Tuesday morning.  The sun is shining through a fluffy herd of big white clouds.  There are waves crashing just about fifty feet from where I sit now.  It’s the Atlantic Ocean.  I’ve found a moment alone during a two-week beach tour that has included family, friends, the white sands of the Gulf of Mexico, and the slightly darker variety found along the eastern coastline.  From the second floor of a charmingly rustic beach house, I’m writing alone, with leisure.

I think this might be heaven; it’s just the escape I needed.  You are allowed to hate me.

Don’t think, though, that this type of indulgence comes free. You know what it’s like to travel Griswald-style with two young kids in late summer heat.  I’ve seen you at that dark and dirty Burger King just off I-95.  I know well, too, that it’s the only place with an indoor playground in, like, 100 miles…

But already, I digress.

Considering that this “vacation” really feels more like a production (something I’m actually quite used to, give my former life, sans kids/potty-training breakout sessions/tantrum mediating), I wondered how I’d gotten myself in to this situation of non revenue-producing cattle-herding. And it occurred to me – I’m now a full-time, unpaid employee of this house, this family of four (plus cat), this “Iife as we know it”.

Reality Check:  By making the decision to forego static income in order to raise two small boys I made a huge career shift.  And yes, I think speaking in terms of “career” still applies, as it (“The Mom Job”) requires substantial commitment, focus, follow-through, patience, productivity, and wit. (Skills, I might add, I’m still working on.) After all, I didn’t “apply” for this new job; it all just sort of happened, played out in bright colors and with little Disney/Pixar characters.

A recent late-night blog binge brought me to a website written by an Atlanta mom who gave up her lucrative career after the birth of her first child.  (A lot of us can relate, yes?)  This stay-at-home mom and keeper of all things “household” took her decision (and shift in professional focus) a step further by awarding this new “career” a title.  She gave herself a job description.  She mapped out goals and objectives.  She took herself seriously.

After I’d stalked this modern mama online for a bit, I thought to myself, “This is so incredibly brilliant.  I’m going to hire myself.  I’m going to give myself an appropriate title for the holding-it-together-like-glue position I juggle within this household.”

And so that’s what I’ve been up to.

I sat down (with a frothy piña colada, made with love by my sun-kissed baby-daddy) and thought about what I would need in a “household manager” candidate. No, scratch that. This position is a bit more advanced, and I’m rather qualified, what with two kids. I think I’ll go with “Family & Lifestyle Director”.

You think it has a ring to it? Yes? No? Are you judging me right about now, wondering if I’m just wasting my time writing out a job description for a post that doesn’t pay (in cash or 401K)? Well, according to Publix’s Baby Club “Birth – Four Months” newsletter, “typical needs of mothers of young children” include “significance (I need to know that mothering matters), instruction (sometimes I need to know what to do), and perspective (sometimes I need to regain focus). Still not convinced that my approach is legitimate? Go get your own newsletter and read the six other needs listed. Yeah, this job of mothering ain’t easy. It’s glorious, but it certainly requires some justifications.

The following is a first draft, first stab outline of the responsibilities of this new “career”.  And, to be fair, I also included benefits and compensation details. At the very least, give me credit for being creative in my method for some degree of measurable rewards.

Behold, my new career…

Director of Family & Domestic Affairs / Lifestyle Specialist

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

•    Inspirational fountainhead.
•    Behavioral development and oversight of up to three male, live-in bodies (one thirty-something, all others under three).
•    Estate administrative tasks (Scheduling, Accounts Payable, Errands, Etc.).
•    Coordinator for (family-friendly) special events, milestones, surprises, and memorable gatherings; responsible for unit’s social network and status.
•    Janitorial tasks and general maintenance of unit headquarters.
•    Chief nose-wiper, snack-maker, sore-soother, gift-wrapper.
•    Manager of main database (Division sometimes referred to as Motherboard).
•    Maker of home-processed, organic baby food and breast milk.
•    Acquirer of diapers, groceries, weather-appropriate clothing, goodies, Halloween costumes, picnic gear, framed family photographs, birthday cards, bibs, etc.


•    Strong organizational and management skills.
•    Excellent negotiator.
•    High ethical standards, tact, and diplomacy skills.
•    Ability to stay calm under immense pressure.
•    Spousal delegation (goes hand-in-hand with spousal trust).
•    Promptness, reliability, and sound judgment.
•    Handiness with a variety of tools (including, but not limited to, screwdriver, sewing needle, neti pot, can-opener, beer-opener, martini-shaker, remote control, eyelash curler).
•    Stain-removal.
•    Capacity to execute full lifecycle of projects (renovations, mending, potty training, etc.) with budgetary guidelines and timely delivery.
•    Ability to manage budget, with cost-saving measures:  Must be comfortable with coupon-clipping and market (discount) research.

Compensation & benefits package:

•    (At least) one half-hour per day of “absolute alone time”, to be used at my discretion. As infant boy grows, so, too, shall this “absolute alone time”. Goal:  Five hours per week.
•    I’m not asking much, am I?  Okay, fine…
•    Spouse is allowed similar weekly benefit.
•    Parenting approach supported and uplifted by spouse.
•    Required family mealtime supported and uplifted by spouse and children.
•    Annual (solo) weekend road trip (to destination of choice).
•    Gratitude offered (by male bodies) in regards to motherly tasks and subsequent sacrifice.
•    Complete ownership of one bathroom.
•    Unconditional love and respect.

Additional terms:

•    Quarterly evaluation to be executed by spouse/baby-daddy/roommate
•    High marks guarantee choice of:
•    Date night, complete with two hours (left alone) for appearance preparation; at least (1) new piece of flair to showcase;          dinner and/or special event; dessert; flirting; attentive affection.
•    Night off, to do whatever-the-hell-I-want, no questions asked.
•    Both choices include “morning-after support”, so that Motherboard can recover from the previous evening’s “reboot).

At some point during the (give or take) thirty hours of driving from beach to beach, I told my husband I needed to feel more significant as the caretaker and chief instructor for his children. “What do you want, a trophy?” he asked. Well, yes. Now that you say that…


About LK:

Magic City maven Laura Kate Whitney is a full-blooded Southerner who’s found herself planting roots in Sweet Home Alabama. Life circumstances have brought her to Birmingham, along with husband, two young sons, and grumpy old cat. In her “free time” she enjoys long walks, long showers, lots of yoga, Birmingham history, culinary programming, and date night. You can follow Laura Kate’s adventures on Magic City Manifesto and also on Twitter.

One thought on “Mommy For Hire

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *