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From The Front Lines

Like many other parents on the force, I began my parenting career at the most basic entry level

I’m not currently renovating my house but I’m seriously considering construction for one important addition.

No, it’s not a spare bedroom for guests, though that sounds lovely. And no, it’s not an office in which I could peacefully write articles.

I want to build a moat around my bedroom. Now the cool thing about having a moat surrounding your room is that it’s totally crossable via a drawbridge. But if, let’s say, I plan to take a nap on Shabbos afternoon and, let’s say, I’d rather not have my children banging down my door to ask for a drink when they are completely capable of getting a drink themselves, then UP goes the drawbridge and I’m left alone for the duration of my brief nap.

Unfortunately, the less-than-cool thing about a moat is that it costs approximately $1.5 million to build. (I did my research.)

However, I am not deterred. I have a plan. All I need to do is dust off my old résumé, spruce it up a bit, and I’m sure  I will soon be hired for a part-time, highly lucrative position that can fund this dream of mine.

I do need to update my résumé to reflect the new skills I’ve developed while working on the front lines in the parenting field.

Like many other parents on the force, I began my parenting career at the most basic entry level. I was pretty surprised that there was no prior training before the job began. It was clear  the Boss seemed to have a lot more confidence in my parenting abilities than I did, and to be honest, I was a bit overwhelmed by the responsibilities suddenly placed on my shoulders, without being given any type of user manual or instructions.

At the very least, a beginner’s orientation would have been appreciated since I could not possibly have been less oriented than when I first started.

My team consisted of two in-house adults, both equally new to their positions, one baby who had zero helpful advice to give, a smattering of new stretchies, and a suggestion to “sleep when the baby sleeps.”

Looking back, I’m not sure that was enough information or personnel for the rather vital task at hand, but at least now I can add to my résumé:

Able to tackle new assignments with equal amounts of optimism and caffeine. Can work  around the clock. Have been known to undress, change, and re-dress an infant in the dark with both eyes mostly closed.

*Unless the infant was mistakenly put in pjs that snapped instead of zippered.

A few years and a few more kids later, and I’m proud to say that while I’m no expert in the field, I have been forcibly thrust into quite a few learning opportunities that have truly helped my résumé shine.

For instance, I cannot count the number of times I’ve had to untangle my son’s peyos from an electric train or a remote-control car. How we ended up in that situation more than once isn’t important. What’s important is that now it is apparent that I:

Have hours of hands-on experience perfecting the fine motor skills necessary to take apart fine motors while the owner of these motors attempted to offer useless pointers at very high decibels from a very close vantage point.

Then there’s the learning curve that comes along with bathtime. Bathtime usually comes right before bedtime and if not executed at exactly the right time with all the stars in alignment, there is a pretty decent chance that there will be the same amount of water outside the bath as inside, with at least one child crying that the other took his toy and/or coveted bath position near the faucet. However, I can truthfully say that I:

Am able to wade through Tsunami-like conditions and can perform search and rescue under same conditions. Can bravely evacuate small children from areas of extreme flooding, occasionally while keeping calm.

Important Note: Extracurricular lifesaving skills like that really make your résumé stand out.

As you can imagine, with a handful of boys in the house there are occasional acts of destruction and lunacy that are carried out with utmost secrecy, and when questioned, not one child knows anything about them. A few of these escapades received international attention and might sound familiar to you due to the originality of the offense and the fact that there is no conviction on record. (Perhaps you’ve heard of The Great Sweet Potato Fiasco of ‘22, when 25 sweet potatoes were thrown over the third-floor balcony to the pavement below on Erev Pesach of that same year.)

It’s not always easy detective work but my time spent in the pursuit of justice has paid off since I am now a:

Director of Data Retrieval. Licensed interrogator and private investigator specializing in domestic misdemeanors and small acts of anarchy.

As one of the commanding officers in charge of a troop of boys who spend a good amount of time pummeling each other because of perceived slights or simply because it’s a Tuesday, it falls upon me to acknowledge the valiant individuals who risk their own safety in an attempt to break up the fighting and sibling rivalry.

It’s me.

I’m the valiant individual.

It is therefore with great pride and much humility that I can say that I have performed:

years of distinguished service, courageously intercepting the line of fire for the sake of restoring peace throughout the land.

This updated résumé is looking pretty impressive already and I’m not even halfway done. I will no doubt be snatched right up by an understanding and wealthy employer who will be only too delighted to hire me at a salary commensurate with such an outstanding résumé.

Which is a relief, because this moat isn’t going to pay for itself.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 807)

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