Usually that statement produces panic in me knowing for 82 consecutive days my children’s productivity, security, and mortality are completely my responsibility.
Not this year.
No more lying awake at night in a cold sweat restlessly muttering over and over, “What am I going to do with them? How will I keep them busy? What if they find out I don’t know what the %$#@ I’m doing?” Instead, I’m going to drift off to sleep peacefully for a full five hours.
Why such serenity?
Because for the first time in 21 years all my children have summer jobs. And not just mowing the neighbor’s lawn or playing online poker, but actual out-of-my-house, account-to-someone-else, 25+ hours-a-week employment.
Woo hoo! What will I do with all the free time?
Go to the zoo, hang out at the mall, run through the sprinklers and play with my friends! It’s going to be the best summer ever. I’ve earned it because getting my offspring to the point where they’re all employable beings has been a lot of work. Most recently I helped my son prepare for his first ever job interview.
As we began comprehensive preparations, I know he regretted casually asking one day, “So, Mom what do you do in a job interview anyway?” Of course, I was ecstatic he asked my advice, first, because the kid rarely asks for anything from me beyond food, cash or a ride, and second, because I happen to be a job interview ace.
During my last semester of college, an insightful English instructor taught her class full of college-educated yet real-world invalids the skills of resume writing and job interviewing, which has proved invaluable. Besides helping me land a plum job at an advertising agency right out of college, those skills also helped me Yoda a friend to get his first job as a commercial pilot. I told my son this impressive story when he balked at my interview question role-play exercise.
I explained how my friend had botched a previous interview by stammering nervously through answers to unexpected questions about a discrepancy on his college transcript that was a clerical error. Under my tutelage, we practiced a succinct and confident explanation of the situation, which he used during his next interview earning him silver wings upon his chest.
My son played along. I made him sit up straight, hold still, not chew gum and answer tricky questions like, “What is your greatest weakness?” He thought it was all pretty goofy, but he did it and in the end he learned practice does make perfect.
When he came out of the interview and I asked how it went, he got a sheepish smile on his face as he admitted they asked every question we’d practiced. He also said he bumped into a buddy after his first ever interview and he said, “I had no idea what I was doing in there. For one of the questions I totally had to make something up and I could tell they knew I was full of crap.”
He got a job too, but that’s not the point.
The point is I was right, and this summer is going to rock.