Tuesday, February 10, 2009

craigslist help wanted, $35K!

Normally, craigslist is like a big flea market: Sometimes you stumble upon a really good find, but most of the time, it's all just recycled crap. Someone wanting something for free or dirt cheap, someone wanting to get rid of their dirt-cheap crap for free. You drop in on occasion, sometimes to browse items for sale, sometimes just to see who is hiring for what, curious about your options, should you ever decide to hang up the writer hat and get a real job for a change.

Today was one of those drop-in days. And while you didn't stumble across any good finds, you did find an ad that calls for a nanny/assistant for a Malibu family of five (with pets), which was obviously placed by a wife/mother who is apparently just not that into the mom bit. How can you be so sure? Read what Malibu Mom writes:


Oops. Malibu Area Mom.

Temporary to possible Permanent

Monday - Friday 1:30pm - 9:30pm. Some occasional late evenings and/or weekends. The ideal candidate would be able to commit to these hours and be flexible.

Cool. An eight-hour day, but you'd get the mornings to yourself. Not bad.

She goes on:

The ideal candidate can multi task, plan ahead, problem solve and give plenty of nurturing love to 3 respectful and delightful children (9-14).

Hmmm. The ideal candidate sounds like... a mom. In fact, no matter how respectful 'n' delightful these three children are, no one could ever possibly give them the nurturing love they require but a mom. Preferably, the Mom, mom. (That means you, Malibu Area Mom.)

For clarity, Malibu Area Mom adds this:

My children are quite energetic, so we need someone with lots of energy.

Ohhhh. Those kind of kids. Still. Not a bad gig so far. Someone could make a nice living taking care of three energetic kids in the Malibu area.

Must have excellent organizational skills, oral and written communication skills. He/She should be skilled in Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook.

Three kinds of skills? Malibu Area Mom wants someone with mad skills! This must be for the assistant part of the job. And, fair enough. You suppose most people who are of the age to care for three kids and double as an assistant to an executive would expect to know their way around the Microsoft Office Suite, no?

College degree is required.

Assuming you're still playing along, you may be thinking this job has promise. You're not exactly sure why anyone would need a college degree to do what she's described so far, but whatever. If Malibu Area Mom wants a degreed household employee, surely she's willing to pony up and pay what a college-educated employee is worth. And her kids deserve top drawer care.

(Just to be clear? You're not being facetious here. Her kids do deserve top drawer. The absolute very best. All kids do.)

Valid drivers license / insurance required.

Safety first!

CPR is a plus.

Er, wait. What? Back it up, Malibu Area Mom. You require a college degree, but CPR is "a plus"? Really? Because if you think about it, isn't it more important that your stand-in knows how to save an energetic life than whether or not he/she has read Milton?

This is where the funny feeling starts to settle in. And as it turns out, Malibu Area Mom is just warming up.

Picking up kids from school, organizing homework & study time, scheduling after school activities, supervise play, preparing kid meals, help get children ready for bed.

You get the picking up from school bit. And, okay, homework supervision is necessary, as is play supervision, and it's nice to sometimes be able to hand over that baton of responsibility. As a mother yourself, you can see where Malibu Area Mom is coming from, can understand needing additional help here and there. In fact, you had a nanny of your own when your family was younger, and you know how much you appreciated having someone there to share in the monumental, non-stop task of caring for children.

But meals and bedtime, every night? Just where are you, Malibu Area Mom? Where do you go?

Handle/coordinate personal activities and events, being aware when children are in and out of school; their holiday schedules and outside activities, schedule and arrange activities for children as requested.


Make reservations, flights and car rental arrangements for vacations, as well as arrangements for appointments/reservations, i.e., doctors, hair cut, dinner, etc.

Of course, but --

Help with personal purchases ranging from clothes to home appliances.

Malibu Area Mom?

Order gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays for friends and family.


Handle/coordinate the maintenance, upkeep and cleaning of home, including appliances, managing the house, straighten house as needed.

OKAY. You GET IT already. SOMEONE needs to parent these children. But the question remains: Where are you, Malibu Area Mom?

Because what you're describing here, in very thorough detail, MAM, is, um, actually, your job.


Let's just let that sink in for a second.

Because what's coming next is the real doozy.

We're talking now about the value you place on this position, Malibu Area Mom. The price you are willing to pay for the care and feeding and nurturing of your three children, the upkeep of your home, the smooth-running of your daily life, plus the extra touches. Like the gift buying, and the vacation planning, and all the other stuff that makes every moment a memory, every second something to savor.

All of this, to your way of thinking, is worth a paltry $35,000 per year.


And, whoa.

And... why?

Granted, you could never really place a price on the value a mother brings to her family. But in this instance, you kinda have to try, because you're asking someone to step in your shoes and do your job. A job that you think is worth, oh, roughly $15 an hour. Why, Malibu Area Mom? Why would you so completely undervalue what you do? Do you have any idea how important your work is? How noble and honorable and necessary your job is? Could there be any more important, any more weighty a calling than to raise up three responsible, mature human beings?

No, MAM. There cannot.

Please, Malibu Area Mom. Rethink your drink. Not just in consideration of your future nanny/assistant (God bless him/her), but for you, and your energetic kids. You're worth so much more, and so are your children. What you bring to your family, and, by extension, the rest of the world, is something worth so much more.

But it's not something you can buy or sell or trade. And it's definitely not something you'll find on craigslist.
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