A job description for a kind of person who would be a ideal mother for a baby might read like this:

WANTED - easygoing, relaxed, loving type to care for infant. Should enjoy rocking, cuddling, be able to hold baby patiently for 20 minute feedings every three or four hours without fidgetting. Light sleeper, early riser. No degree necessary. Must take all shifts, seven-day week. No vacation unless can arrange to have own mother as temporary substitute. No opportunity to advance.

A year and a half later, the ideal candidate for the job of mothering the same child would match this description:

WANTED - Athlete in top condition to safeguard tireless toddler. Needs quick reflexes, boundless energy, infinite patience. ESP helpful. knowledge of first aid essential. Must be able to drive, cook, phone, work despite constant distractions. Workday, 15 hours. No coffee or lunch breaks unless child naps. Would consider pediatric nurse with olympic background.

In another 18 months, the same mother should be able to meet these qualifications:

POSITION OPEN - Expert in early childhood education to provide stimulating, loving, creative, individualized learning environment for pre-schooler. Should have experience in art, music, recreation, be able to speak one foreign language. Training in linguistics, psychology and Montessori desirable. Two hours off five days a week when nursery school is in session and child is well.

Job stability improves somewhat when a child is between 6 and 12 years old, and the mothers who cope most easily meet these qualifications:

GOOD OPPORTUNITY - For expert in recreation, camping, indian arts, all sports. Should be able to referee. Must be willing to be den mother, room mother, block mother. public relations skills essential. Should be able to deal effectively with teachers, PTA officers, other parents. knowledge of sex education, new math required. Must have no objections to mud, insect collections, pets, neighbor's kids.

A mother changes occupations again when her child reaches 13 or 14 and must face up to new requirements:

JOB AVAILABLE - For specialist in adolescent psychology, with experience in large quantity cooking. Tolerance is chief requirement. Slight hearing loss helpful or must provide own ear plugs. Must be unflappable. Should be able to sense when presence is embarrasing to child and disappear.

After 18 years as a working mother, a woman is qualified for only one more job:

URGENTLY NEEDED - Financier to provide money, clothes, music, wheels to collegian. No advice necessary. Position may last indefinitely. Ample time left to take income - producing work.

--Joan Beck--
submitted by jeanette Lisefski
Chicken soup for the woman's soul
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