Help Wanted: Mom


Candidates must possess the desire to love unconditionally.  Little or no training is required but willingness to learn on the job is a must. The initiation period is little or nonexistent, depending on the support staff you have in your extended family.


You must have the ability to be aware of every departmental need, supervise all underlings, function on little or no sleep, hear a pin drop even in the middle of the night, read minds, see through walls, and predict the future.


Job description:  (Subject to change every year, more or less.)


Initially, your primary responsibilities include: Cuddling, rocking, singing, and distribution of hugs and kisses at regular intervals throughout the day. Abundant love and affection are primary requirements but essential secondary tasks which must be accomplished in a timely manner include: changing diapers, messy sleepers, wet sheets, slobbery bibs, and your own clothing which has been spit up on.


By the second year, physical agility and timing must improve.  You need to outrun a toddler (all day long), grab things before the little ones have a chance, and remove small objects from behind clenched jaws.


During the preschool years, your mental faculties will require higher level thinking.  You will need ready answers to the question “why?” at all times.  Remembering the correct order of the alphabet, counting up to ten, and noticing and explaining all aspects of nature is required.  Explanations about God, where babies come from, and how the Tooth Fairy gets through locked windows will be necessary.


The grade school years continue to increase the demand for keen mental functioning. Creative consequences for bad behavior and explanations which are more concrete than “because I said so” will be required.  The physical demands change from actively chasing the child to driving him around to baseball practice, cub scouts, and karate.


Throughout the high school years, your mental stamina is key since your teen will engage you in intellectual warfare  Emotional stability and skin thicker than an armadillo’s is a must, especially when you are asked to hand over the car keys.  You will need to possess the desire to say “I love you” with or without positive feedback.


After high school and beyond, you will begin to see clear results from your initial work.  There may be a brief downturn in your child’s expected performance, but if there was a strong character through values passed down, there will eventually be a rebound.  Your child is expected to leave the nest, get a job, and perhaps even start a new family branch.  By then, your earlier dedication will have produced a loving, balanced human being.

Required hours:  All of them


Travel: Not anymore, or at least not alone.


Bonuses:  Sporadic and not linked to job performance.  Smiles and coos will graduate into cuddles, hugs and “I love you Mommy.”  These are replaced by “Luv you, Mom,”  Mother’s Day presents, and help around the house.

Your highest paid bonus will not will not be paid for at least two decades after your first day on the job, when your beloved underling comes to recognize all your hard work.


Retirement Benefits:  Grandchildren.


Salary:  Actually, you will be paying them, but the blessings are worth more than a paycheck: you will receive authentic love from the person who calls you Mom.


Patti Maguire Armstrong, is the mother of 10, and has a B.A. in social work and M.A. in public administration. Her newest book is Holy Hacks: Everyday Ways to Live Your Faith & Get to Heaven. Others include Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families and the Amazing Grace Series. Follow her at @PattiArmstrong and read her blog at PattiMaguireArmstrong.com.

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