The Color of My Parachute

I made an appointment today to be evaluated by a vocational expert. What fun! At long last I’ll find out if my current job as stay-at-home-mom has earned me any street cred, or if, in fact, serving sausage patties twenty years ago at Bob Evans was the apex of my career.

This amusing little diversion is being “offered” to me compliments of my estranged husband, who was kind enough to bring this matter before a judge, who was gracious enough to pen the invitation on fancy paper with a Cook County logo on it, and even stamp it with a fancy stamp!

It’s all part of that intricate pas de deux known as The Divorce Proceeding. I’m while I’m told that it’s not uncommon for a working husband to want a non-working wife to be given a gentle nudge toward employment, I know of only one other person (my cousin) who was “invited” to career counseling. Her ex is a prince, a successful hotshot who had it all, including a pregnant girlfriend in Mexico. My cousin was tested and questioned and evaluated and told she might make a good office manager. She’s now finishing anatomy and biology on her way to becoming a registered nurse. Which is a shame, because she makes a mean cup of coffee.

I can’t wait to find out what MY skills are! There’s that bachelor’s degree hiding around here somewhere (buried under my Victoria’s Secret undies, perhaps?). There was that pesky 12-year stint as an entrepreneur and business owner. But that’s all a vague memory, made murky by years of lactating and, you know, other mom…stuff. Because what do moms really do anyway? I heard on the radio once that if you break down the duties of a mom and assign market value to each one, a mother would earn a salary of $118,000. Ha! A conspiracy theory, no doubt, started by lazy, unqualified whiners who want credit for living the easy life.

Not me. I’m ready, EAGER to be tested, to have another man tell me what I need to do. Lead me, I say! It’s just that, well, the $2,500 pricetag of this particular dance is a little baffling. Wouldn’t a new computer be a better investment and help generate income? How about a training course? Or even childcare to allow time for new pursuits? But gosh, thinking of ways I might spend $2,500 just makes my pretty little head hurt! I’d rather think about what I’ll wear to my appointment. The frilly apron is nice and goes with anything. Or the mom jeans and white sneakers. Oh, and I can’t forget my giant Mary Poppins-inspired carpet bag. It’s one of those magic ones that allows me to stuff the three kids inside and forget about them. They don’t require much, really. Just a little air. Otherwise they mostly take care of themselves.

Yes, I am really looking forward to this opportunity to show off my talents. I might speak a little French. Or play the pianoforte. I might even take a refreshing turn about the room (to show my figure in the most pleasing light!).

Hmmm. What color is my parachute? (And will it match my shoes?) I think it’s more of a mantle, anyway. As in a cloak worn by women in Victorian times. How fitting. I’m a modern day Elizabeth Bennett. Plucky and independent. And I have so many more choices than she had in her day. Nevermind that determining my own path is not necessarily one of them. There’s no time for that when I have laundry to fold. And yes, that’s on my resume.

Author Bio:
Tammy Letherer is a divorced mom of three kids under 13. She lives in Chicago, where she writes fiction and non-fiction. Her first novel, Hello Loved Ones, is available on Amazon.com. Excerpts from her second book, Real Time Wreck: A Crash Course in Betrayal and Divorce, can be found on her blog at www.TammyLetherer.com/blog.

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