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Mom's Time Out

Light at the end of the tunnel

Abigail Shiyer

(April, 2010) There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I don't know about you, but this past month really seemed long to me. It was plagued with stress and some "not so fun" times. On the heels of several feet of snow, my Dad had a stroke just about the same time that my mom had a scheduled hip replacement and I was her "coach" - they were unable to care for each other for a little while so "tag" - I was it. At this point my kids wanted to be anywhere but stuck inside again and I just wanted to scream.

I feel so fortunate to have been able to chip in when my parents needed me, but - let me tell you - it was exhausting. I promised myself that when things "settled" I would do something for me. So - I decided that once the weather broke, I would hire a babysitter and spend a couple hours a day just enjoying my horses. Before I was a Mom, I would spend a whole day taking great pleasure grooming and riding my horses, cleaning the barn, cleaning tack - just kicking back and relaxing outside with my horses. Yes - that is what I will do…

So - the first thing I needed to do was find someone to watch my kids while I carried out this most desperate of plans. I sat down to write down a description for the babysitter. Maybe I was going a little overboard, but these kids are my most prized possession - so it is very important to me that I get someone good - and just as important that they know what they are agreeing to…

I was going to place an ad in the paper. The more I thought about it, the better this idea seemed. I was really full of myself I think. I was imagining my kids being in daycare all day while I did whatever I wanted. I was really thinking that what I deserved was a life of luxury after all of this stress that I had been through. That I had performed some herculean task and needed to be rewarded for my efforts. Oh my goodness - sometimes I really wonder about myself… Don't worry it didn't last long. Just as I was getting ready to get serious about my ad, my cousin sent me an email about being a Parent. It was as if God had reached down, added my email address to her distribution and hit the SEND button for her. The email went something like this:

Job Description:

Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to the hospital, emergency room, walk in clinics, primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities! PTA meetings, school reports card days, open house things of that nature. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.


The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets, baking, constant cleaning and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

Possibility for Advancement & Promotion:

None.. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.

Previous Experience:

None required unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

Wages and Compensation:

Get this! You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.


While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love, and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.

This pushed my guilt button in a couple different ways. For one, I am a "parent" to these 2 wonderful little beings for EVER. Not just when it suits me. And Two… after my parents have faithfully stuck to the job description above, I feel that I deserve a "break" because I ran myself ragged for 3 weeks. No no - I need to take a Time Out and get over myself. Thank you God for my Mom and Dad who are still alive and kicking and who still take such great care of ME. And - Thank you God for my two wonderful children who I am committed to serving for the rest of my life. - Maybe I could ride my horse on the weekends? - just for an hour or two? Maybe….

Read other articles by Abigail Shiyer