There's this guy in his forties and his wife gets pregnant with twins and he builds an addition on their house but before he's done his wife has the babies and then he has to stay home and take care of the kids and finish the house and do a bunch of other stuff too. Also there's a really big dog with emotional problems.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Parenting Is Easy! Rating of Jobs Held on a Scale of Crap to Cake
If something seems familiar to you about this post, you probably read the first thing I ever wrote on this here blog lo those many months ago. This is a variation on it that I'm re-posting for a little thing hosted by a super cool blog called ABDPBT.
The parenting-industrial complex and its minions in the mainstream blogosphere would have us believe that parenting is a thankless and grueling enterprise, fraught with danger and self-sacrifice, offering only fleeting but intensely gratifying payoffs. However, a longitudinal study of the work life of one parent (me) complicates the notion that parenting is "hard."
The following is an evaluation of jobs I have held in the past as well as my current position as a stay-at-home dad (and auto-ethnographer):
Job 1) Lifeguard (3 summers during high school)
Pros: easy as long as no rescues necessary, tanning opportunities, twirling whistle on lanyard, girls in bikinis
Cons: tedium, babysitting of ungrateful brats and antique pool filter systems, ignored by girls in bikinis, skin cancer later in life
Score: 7—angel food cake, no frosting
Job 2) Driveway Resurfacing (1st job after high school)
Pros: N/A (one of my colleagues told me that we would see many fine ladies in our travels, but this claim was vastly overstated)
Cons: many hours in Econoline van full of grumpy rednecks who smelled like asphalt, working on blacktop during summertime in D.C., smelling like asphalt
Score: 3—crap cake
Job 3) Carpenter (about 75% of the last 25 years)
Pros: sense of accomplishment, decent pay, a certain romantic cachet perceived by people outside of the trades, manliness cred, useful skills, bawdy humor encouraged, tanning opportunities
Cons: injuries, grumpy rednecks, non-tradespeople saying they “have always admired people who can work with their hands,” being called “handyman,” skin cancer
Score: 7—German chocolate cake with a dusting of poop flakes
Job 4) Ski Instructor (2 seasons)
Pros: free skiing, pro deals on equipment, wielding godlike (but benevolent) power over trembling college coeds taking skiing for P.E. credit
Cons: babysitting ungrateful brats, lining up in the cold with the rest of the instructors trying to solicit customers and hoping the manager would pimp me out to a wealthy tourist for a “private,” kicking myself for not thinking of getting this job while still single
Score: 8—Ice cream cake
Job 5) High School English Teacher (3 years)
Pros: those 4 students who I really “reached,” that time the previous night’s Ambien had not yet worn off and I had the class recite The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock in roundswith a couple kids beatboxing and me reading some of the lines as Brando in Apocalypse Now, working with smart teachers
Cons: babysitting ungrateful brats, broken school system, loss of cognitive capacity from reading student essays, loss of self-esteem, loss of faith in humanity, loss of muscle tone, loss of weekends, threat to marriage, grumpy teachers
Score: 2-crap cake with turd filling and ¼ teaspoon of chocolate sprinkles
Job 6) Adjunct Professor (3 years)
Pros: students not hell-bent on keeping each other from learning anything, good conversations in the copy room
Cons: academic status and job security equivalent to day laborer in Home Depot parking lot, student essays almost as bad as high school
Score: 6—strawberry shortcake with fart glaze
Job 7) Stay-at-home Dad of Twins (7 months)
Pros: new Cutest Thing Ever every day, baby laughter, license to act like a complete idiot, people thinking my job is really hard, decline in existential angst, babies’ 16 hr/day sleeping schedule allows time to get things done around the house (finishing 2-story addition, hanging siding, shingling roof, refenestrating old part of house, teaching online, etc.), excuse to never leave house
Cons: some gross fluids/solids, some crying/screaming, soundtrack from Fisher-Price toys permanently looping in brain, emasculation.
Score: 9—cakey cake
I don’t deny the possibility that other parents may have different experiences than I have had. Many factors could contribute to less positive outcomes; for example, financial instability, lack of support from co-parent, or inherently fussy children. But these problems can be attributed to poor spousal selection on the part of the parent or grandparents, and are beyond the scope of this study.