I Love Being a Mom, But...

11.02.11 Hunting for jobs: discouraging. Warm salad for lunch: sustaining.


Sitting down at my desk to get started on…doing what I do (details to come)…I begin with my daily procrastinations. First I check our local parenting list serve to see who is looking for childcare, selling a trike or trying the newest coffee joint in the ‘hood. Today, info on a documentary about a proposed charter school in our district. The angle: charter schools syphon resources from existing public schools. This whole school topic is daunting, and it’s time we start getting serious about visiting schools and learning how to arm ourselves for this battle, since we can apply for pre-K for Leo this spring.

Next, I open a tab for Dinner: A Love Story, on which I read about some great kid’s books, then get distracted by the ads on the far right: one asks “Love being a Mom?” Below it, a Harlequin-type novel called Scandalous Desires is advertised. These things are deeply related, right? Being a mom can take up your entire being, give back more (joy and pain, to specify) than anything else, and yet still leave you wanting…more. Because, of course, things—I mean kids—that take up your entire being, at least until they get old enough to shrug you off, leave you feeling like there’s entire, enormous parts of your adult self that are atrophying. Somewhere between the sticker chart and the butt-wiping, the wholesome snacks and the taking turns, surely there must be a way for a mom to continue to grow too, no? Scandalous!

I love being a mom, but I really, really want to be a lot else too. And this brings me to the job market, that vast, swirling abyss into which I toss carefully written cover letters each day. As I attempt to transition away from freelance writing and towards a meaningful staff position (note how good I’ve gotten at saying that), I am doing my best to find humor in the situation. A cartoon in this week’s New Yorker reads “Unemployment reaches an all-time high when everyone realizes that work is boring.” Then there’s this McSweeney’s post, entitled “I’m Sorry I Bit You During My Job Interview.”

Is there anything less self-affirming than applying for jobs? During a recession? It’s like how the manicurist tries to insult me into getting my eyebrows waxed, except it’s every day. Thanks, job market, for keeping me on my toes. Well, you know what? As long as I’m home, I can make myself a kick-a** hot lunch. Take that!

Recipe: Warm Cabbage, Leek and Bean Salad

Zoe Singer is a freelance food writer and cookbook editor and co-author of The Flexitarian Table. Food Editor and blogger for The Faster Times, she tries not to eat for two now that her son is a toddler.