I think spending some time in the workforce before having children is the best way to go, not because regular jobs are important or fulfilling, but because it helps you pretend that you’re a martyr. Your children (and their friends) will watch you scrub the floor in your stained yoga pants and marvel, “To think she could have been making six figures and giving press conferences, but she loved her children more!”
It’s kind of like those moms who are really overweight, whose kids go around saying that once upon a time their mom was breathtakingly beautiful. They bring their friends home who watch in awe as she thunders down the stairs. When she is out of earshot, her child explains, “She used to be ravishing, but you know how it is when you have four kids—you can’t help but gain 200 pounds.” On the fridge is her 8th-grade picture in which she looks almost slender, proof of her former beauty.
My dad was a photographer, so it would be hard to convince anyone that I was ever ravishing, but I do have a pants suit from my working days. I haven’t worn it in several years, and may never wear it again, but I hold on to it just the same in case my daughters want to show it to their friends. “See how she yells at our little brother,” they’ll say. “Well, there was a time when she was used to getting what she wanted.” No matter that I never managed anybody or that I almost lost my job for falling asleep in front of the top HR executive of my Fortune 500 company. He phoned my boss to find out why she had hired me and how soon I could be fired. Fortunately I was pregnant, so instead of being tagged a slacker, it was discovered that I am a martyr, burning the candle on both ends and surrendering my womb for the next generation.
I like to daydream about things I might do if I didn’t have to referee games of “Bubby Bear” or answer questions like “What does ‘Darth’ mean?” and “What does ‘Vader’ mean?” I might start an online boutique specializing in baby toupees to help bald babies from forming a complex. An even better idea is my restaurant franchise, “Soup Stop.” Everyone who’s hip knows that beans and lentils are the healthiest, greenest thing to eat, so I’d find a few tasty soup recipes and sell them to yuppies in Seattle or the Silicone Valley. Three or four dollars for a hip meal at Soup Stop.
At the end of the day, though, instead of making millions, I’m begging my four-year-old to try her lentils. If she eats just one bite as large as a teaspoon, I’ll give her a whole bowl of ice cream! She eats half a teaspoon, which presents me with a dilemma: half a bowl of ice cream or no ice cream? Her older sister states she doesn’t want any dessert so she’s not going to eat her yucky lentils, and even though she’s almost six, she needs help choosing her jammies. Meanwhile, the baby’s screaming and throwing his lentils onto my stained yoga pants. “AAAAHHHH!” I scream. “Do you know what I sacrificed for you?!” They watch in awe as my face turns red. “Baby toupees and Soup Stop!!”