Friday, December 23, 2011

So, if my husband left me, I would probably just pole dance to support my three kids.

Today's #ReverbBroads11 prompt: If you could have any job, what would it be? via Dana at

This question is rather fraught for me. You see, I don't have a "real" job.

Photo by Greg Sloan
Don't get me wrong. I have an awesome job. In fact, my daily work includes things like having kindergartners compete to see which one gets to "wake up" my room with the motion control lights and demonstrating the vocabulary words "imaginary" and "proceed" by proceeding into in an imaginary door in my room to the addictive sound of their resounding laughter. I cannot communicate how cool this job is.

I work as a part-time instructional assistant teaching reading to kids. And I make a tiny little paycheck. (Like, if you suddenly sneezed, my paycheck is what you would wipe off your chin afterward.) There is no real possibility for advancement and the district has frozen our pay for the last three years or so as a budget-saving measure.

So, the upshot is, if my husband left me, I would probably have to pole dance to support my three kids.
The poster from my day care's art center

Prior to getting this job, I had worked as a family day care provider, a waitress, a veterinary assistant and a cafe barista. I do, however, have one claim to fame: For two years, I was paid five cents a word to write a monthly community column for the Russian River Monthly, so I am a professional writer, bitches.

Other than that, I was a full-time mother (By the way, what the Hell does that mean? Who is a part-time mother?) And I was a serial volunteer (but not a cereal volunteer.)

I have always been bugged by the fact that I could not support a family, or myself, or probably even a pet dog, on my own earnings. So, I have spent years trying to imagine what I might do that would elevate me to the category of people with careers. Here are some of the ideas I have had:
Job# 1: Devin, 4  and Rowan, 2004
  1. Project manager for the community environmental project I helped spearhead
  2. World's most qualified family day care provider (pays the same as poorly qualified day care provider)
  3. Sociologist (requires PhD, which seems totally do-able since I'm already one third of the way to a Bachelor's of Arts right now)
  4. Computer Graphic Design Specialist (This is only funny if you know me.)
  5. Permaculturist (allowing me to bring five thousand layers of philosophy, planning, list-making and mental masturbation to growing a fucking garden. The perfect job for me!)
This list is partial, but you get the idea. I have spent the larger part of my adult life wondering what I was going to turn out to be when I grew up, sometimes taking some actions toward doing something about it, sometimes not. In this pursuit, I have generated countless lists, which I still have on file, in case they are needed. I have consulted multiple web sites, studied child development tirelessly, and visited UNM to make a decision about entering their Professional Writing program. I have discussed all of these options in agonizing detail with my parents and husband, year after year, while they patiently supported me, with the result that I have not done a damn thing but be a mother and work with kids. Still.

Fine motor practice (otherwise known as screwing around with pom poms), 2007
I am thirty-six now, and I have worked long enough to say that I think I do at least have a basic outline of what I need in a job to be happy. If I had any job in the world that I wanted it would need to include three things:
  1. Making a difference 
  2. Working with children
  3. Writing
Crap. I have that job now. The writing part happens on the side, and is unpaid at present, but basically I already have the perfect job.

 So, one question. Can I have a raise now?  


  1. Hi Tara. The title of this blog post drew me in, with a smile before I read anything. Your career anxiety and wondering "how can I support my family?" has some guys who worry the same. For most years that I was married, with kids and supporting my family, I worried long and often about "What If I Lose This Job?" I knew I could do the waiter thing, and I had early on done the newspaper reporter thing, but neither pay very much. Still, you do get Social Security credit for them. Which I hope you get from your school IA job! And finally, as many folks have said, I think you have a rare talent for speaking from the heart in a real world, literate way that sounds so awesome and authentic. Congrats! Tom.

    1. Yes. Social security. My ace in the hole. Thank you very much for that reminder. Maybe someday I will also generate some pay for this "rare talent" of mine. Perhaps enough to buy more of your books. :)


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Faith in Ambiguity by Tara Adams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License