A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Career Day

Nature Boy (the 12 year old) said to me the other morning, “Oh Mom, I forgot to tell you, today is Career Day at school.”

So I did what any Stay at Home Mom/Writer/Blogger would do.

I put my coffee cup down, turned off the news, got up off the couch, and started gathering supplies. I picked up someone’s dirty socks off the floor, grabbed my laptop, and then headed to the kitchen for a scouring pad, a frying pan, a fire extinguisher, and a first aid kit.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“Well you obviously want me to come to Career Day to speak to your friends about my job, so I’m gathering visual aids.”

The look.

Oh dear God in Heaven, the look of terror on this child’s face…you would have thought I had just ordered him to go to school naked, pedaling a tricycle.

“No Mom. That’s not why I’m telling you. I just need you to sign my permission slip.”

“You don’t want me to speak to your class?”

“No thanks.”

Oh crap. Cue the PTSD flashback about that time I overheard my daughter saying “When I grow up, I’m going to have a real job, not like Mommy.”


My kids clearly have no idea that I quit a lucrative job ten years ago for the express purpose of being at home with them. And now here I am, with three kids, the paltry remnants of a long neglected 401K, a ten year gap on my resume, and a very clear message that I’m not invited to Career Day.

Move over, Self-Pity; it’s Rage’s turn to talk.

“Why not? My job is important. My job is interesting. I’m successful at what I do, you know.”

“It’s not that, Mom.”

condescending willy wonka on blogging

“I was just in The Huffington Freaking Post, dude. And so were you! They quoted us both, remember?”

“Mo-ooooooooooooom. All the Career Day speakers are already lined up. It’s too late to get on the schedule.”

“Well, ask me earlier next time, Hon. I’d love to talk to your class about my job. There are so many cool things I could discuss!”

“Really.” (Sarcasm?! He knows sarcasm?! Well played, my boy, well played.)

“Uh-YUH! Like how to remove stains, reduce photo size for faster webpage loading, cut brownies perfectly, code with HTML, auger a toilet, boost SEO, get kids to school on time, use social media for marketing, erase water marks from coffee tables, install WordPress plugins, remove a tick, burn a blog feed, finger whistle, vlog, manage a household budget, build your brand, dress a wound, understand and comply with FTC regulations, ooh – my raw kale salad recipe!….”

“Mom. I have to go. Maybe next year. Okay?”

“Well, what parent presentations have you signed up to attend?”

“Cooking and Insurance.”

“Excuse me?” (Did he just say what I think he said?)

“I said Cooking and Insurance. There’s going to be a real restaurant chef there and also a former college football player who now sells insurance.”


“Mom. I have to go.”

“I was expecting you to say Paleontologist or Criminologist or Film Director.”

“MOM. I’m going to miss the bus.”

“Do you even know what I do all day? Shoot, honey, I can teach you how to cook, for Pete’s sake. Do you want to see our insurance policies after school? Geez, I had no idea you were so interested in those things.”


“Hold up. You think selling insurance is more interesting than running a household, raising children, and writing comedy? I feel like I don’t even know you.”

“Mom, I have to go. Can we talk about it after school?”

“Okay. Fine. Have fun learning about those exciting careers.”

“I love you Mom. Have a good day. Oh Mom? I’m out of socks. Can you please do my laundry today?”

“We’ll see. I’m live Tweeting the Dr. Oz show. He’s doing a whole episode about gynecological mysteries and I can’t miss it.”

(There’s that look again.)

Oh snap.


This one’s for all the hard working mothers and bloggers out there who never get asked to speak at Career Day. Fuck that fucking shit.

Source: Know Your Meme


  1. Crystal R. R. Edwards

    We’ve had that same discussion here for years. I finally got a mixed kudo and slap in the face a few days ago, however. Donald was talking to our older girl about her idea of blogging, when out of nowhere she told him, “… because I want to be a comedy writer, like Mom.” He promptly sent me a text to tell me about it. Because! It should be validating! And my own daughter doesn’t see me as useless! Incredible!

    If you’d asked me two weeks ago what my reaction to that would be, I might have mentioned confetti cannons and free bacon in the town square for the whole community. Instead, I sent a text back: “TURN AROUND NOW, MCKINLEY! SAVE YOURSELF!”

    Because! I wasn’t validated at all! She didn’t tell me, she told her daddy. And hearing it come from him made me realize this is a pretty shitty gig, overall. No other job I’ve ever had would cause me to be validated by a text from a third party. Ever.

    I’ve reached the point where I don’t want my kids’ approval for this, because they might later realize that I was doing it for very, very little return. I want them to respect themselves more and choose something profitable for their lives. Like sell insurance.

  2. Gibby

    Hahahaha, this is hilarious! This scene could be played out in my house.

    (And really, insurance?!?)

    • The Bearded Iris

      I know! Insurance? Seriously?

  3. Janis@AllThingsBeautiful

    I can sooooooo relate! My kids laugh whenever I mention my blog, or that I’m working on my blog, or learned something new, etc. etc… I would much rather hear you speak than some retired football player who sells insurance anyday!, just sayin’!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thank you, me too. But I guess that’s why we go to blog conferences, eh?

  4. Allison @ Motherhood, WTF?

    We’re not up to these battles yet. But I love your list of job skills. I’ve been thinking a lot about returning to work lately, mostly because my husband keeps saying things like, “wouldn’t it be GREAT to have two incomes??” I felt like I had no marketable skills except sarcasm and writing. (Yes, sarcasm is a skill.) But I’ll just copy your list onto my resume. I can also remove poop filled underpants without getting poop everywhere. Oh, who am I fooling? No I can’t.

    • The Bearded Iris

      And sadly, sarcasm and writing don’t often pay the bills, unless you’re Jon Stewart or Dooce. You’ve been blogging for a long time – you have more technical skills than you probably give yourself credit for.

  5. Josh "Adrian Bielski" Dendy

    You should have all that AND a penis.

    • The Bearded Iris

      I have no response to that.

      • Josh "Adrian Bielski" Dendy

        Seriously, God help me; everytime you tell someone you’re a stay-at-home-dad, their eyes glaze over and drool starts seeping from the corners of their mouths as if you just rocketed them into some existential crisis, until they meet you with the most carefully contemplated response they can craft: “Oh, so you don’t work?”

        • The Bearded Iris

          OH! NOW I understand. I totally didn’t get your first comment. (Duh.) You don’t even want to know what I thought you meant by that. (#penisjoke)

          Oh, I know, it is totally worse for the SAHDs. My husband did it for about a year once while I brought home the bacon and bless his heart, the mommies at the playground always looked at him like he was some kind of freaky child molester on the prowl. 🙁 That was one tough year for all of us. You are such a great dad though – you’re doing the right thing! Who needs fucking career day anyway.

          • Josh "Adrian Bielski" Dendy

            I still want to go to career day when my son is older. By then my massive burnsides will be..well, massive-r. Yeah, I’m going to embarrass his ass sixteen years in the making.

        • Jenni

          SAHDs get BIG fucking trophies! (Well, at least figurative ones from us SAHMs who see those Susie Homemakers give you the stink-eye on the playground….)

  6. Jester Queen

    You must haunt them with this in their futures. Like next week. Or maybe tonight. Since your son is meeting a chef, he can cook dinner, right?

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oooh, I like your thinking, JQ. I’ve been charging him $0.25 for every sock I have to turn right side out. He’s totally getting the point. (Which kind of sucks for me because I was enjoying that little weekly increase in my fun money.)

  7. Tracy @ Scribblesaurus Me

    That’s weird – I’ve had almost the exact same discussion with my husband! Now I find it hilarious when I go visit him at Zynga and his co-workers are all “Hey! I love your blog!” and my husband gets all weird about it.

    That’s right baby – your friends know I have low progesterone and fear arachnids like a crazy squirrel. Deal with it.

    I can’t wait until I get to be rejected by my son for school career day! You always make me laugh 😉

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks Tracy! Maybe he won’t reject you. Maybe you’ll be such a big famous author by then that he’ll be begging you to come to school and sign autographs!

  8. Laura

    OMG…I damn near peed my pants while reading this. Freaking hilarious! I’m super elated that Kristen turned me on to your blog. I’ve never cried so much from laughing in my life. God Bless ya! Happy Mother’s Day to you. You are awesome!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hi Laura! I LOVE to hear that! God bless you too for making my day. And God bless Kristen for bringing you here. She rocks.

  9. Jane

    I was laughing but really laughed out loud at “fuck that fucking shit”

  10. Muffintopmommy

    “Fuck that fucking shit.” How do they not appreciate what a linguistic genius you are mi amiga!?

    Some day! Some day I tell you! Victory will be ours! (When we’re bagging groceries with Frances bc we realized our shit stinking 401k’s that flatlined when we wiped asses ad infinitum weren’t enough for us to live large at the fancy assisted living. Le sigh.)
    But we will make it funtastic. Yes we will!

    • The Bearded Iris

      I’d make a shitty grocery bagger. I could waitress at IHOP though or do inventory somewhere. I like to count things.

  11. Alexis

    This is funny in a way that is HORRIFYING. It totally sucks doesn’t it? Yeah that ex-jock who sells insurance, THAT’S who we want providing career advice to our kids. *sigh*

    I’ve gotten sucked into this vortex of career insecurity lately myself. We went to a work function (husband is a college professor) and I hate having to introduce myself as a SAHM because their eyes glaze over as though they are fearful that I’m going to launch into some diatribe about the best way to keep the carpet vacuumed. Which then prompts me to nervously/awkwardly start firing off my credentials in a desperate plea to win their admiration, “I HAVE TWO GRADUATE DEGREES AND USED TO WORK AT APPLE AND MY BLOG GETS THOUSANDS OF VISITORS A DAY AND I AM CLEARLY A VERY IMPORTANT PERSON!!!!!”

    Then we all walk in different directions feeling ashamed and a little sick about what just transpired. Ugh.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Yes. Yes. YES! Oh I have been at those cocktail parties where the eyes glaze over. One time, at a function, I told a small group of strangers that I was a Thoracic Surgeon. They were very surprised, but they started treating me with a little more respect, hanging on my every word like “Wow, she’s a surgeon, AND she’s funny!” That was pretty fun. I think I’ll do that more often.

  12. Kristin @ What She Said

    Wait – you know how to burn a blog feed? I paid someone to do that shit for me!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hells yeah, sister! And I edit my feed’s email delivery options every damn day because I never seem to post at the same time and don’t want my subscribers to get their stuff hours later than the Twitter & Facebook followers do (cuz I’m awesome like that). Feedburner is easy. You can totally do it.

      • Rachel Fruitloop

        I really need to learn how to do that! I write the local playgroup’s blog (got roped in as secretary – clearly did not read your blog post about avoiding “volunteering” in time! D’oh!) I’ll post and then the email alerts don’t go out until the next day, so annoying. You’ve inspired me to go investigate this further.

        • The Bearded Iris

          The first step is to make sure your feed is set up in your time zone. I think the default time zone must be the prime meridian or something whack like that. Then you just go to the delivery options and you can customize away.

  13. Kristin @ What She Said

    P.S. I would like to say, “Fuck that fucking shit,” to my boss every time she gives me the “look” that lets me know that she thinks my blog is a silly, frivolous, narcissistic waste of time. Because I didn’t have to tell her that I had one, but did because I wanted to post work-related writing pieces on my portfolio page and felt I should get her permission to do so. You know… out of respect. Because I sometimes curse and talk about hairy man ass on my blog. And what do I get for it? Judgment. And blog and Twitter stalking. And a whole lot of paranoia.

    Fuck that fucking shit.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Fuck that fucking shit. You are the bomb! Any employer would be lucky to have someone with your integrity and skills. If I find you a better job can I get a finder’s fee? I’m cheap. But you already know that.

    • Alexandra

      Fuck that fucking shit is one of my favorite words to say in my head. And it’s one word the way I say it, too.

  14. Suniverse

    I think I need to go to career day.

    To get some goddamn advice.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Well here’s the advice Nature Boy got last week:
      1.) It’s important to evenly distribute your cheese on the tortilla or else your quesadilla won’t be very good. (I think this could apply to other careers besides professional cooking, don’t you?)
      2.) Study hard. You might think you have a chance to play for the NFL, but if you jack up your knee your junior year, you have a snowball’s chance in Hell of getting drafted and then you’ll end up pushing papers at your Daddy’s insurance company just to put food on your baby mama’s table, and that ain’t no way to live, kids.

      • Melissa Gilbert

        Real wisdom there…

  15. Daryce

    Shit, sistah (that’s my Boston accent), you are funny!!!

  16. Jen

    When I explained to my six-year-old daughter that I am a writer, she asked if I could do something more exciting.

    “Like?” I dare ask.

    “You could be an accountant like Grandma!” she said. With a straight face.

    Gotta love kids.

  17. Lisa Hewitt

    Fuck it. I jusy put my “art” on Craig’s list. I can not blog, though mashable thinks I’m a mommy blogger, I do not understand, again. I did sell insurance/financial products, and made massive amounts of money, it just sucked the marrow from my bones. There are no words more vile than “monday morning sales meeting” or more heart breaking than”it’s o.k we’ll go see Batman when you get back in town”. Just keep doing what you do – you do it so well and you obviously love it. And we obviously love you. You can do career day here, it’ll be fun!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks Lisa. Ah yes, I remember “Monday Morning Sales Meetings.” Marrow sucking, indeed. You’re right, I do love what I do and I’m glad it shows! Fuck Mashable’s ridiculous infographic. Fuck that fucking shit.

  18. Kathy V.

    You. Are. Awesome. My kid’s not talking yet, thank god. But I do get pretty sick of people saying that I ‘don’t work’ just because I don’t get paid for what I do. Because apparently if you don’t get paid, what you actually do is sit around eating bonbons and watching soap operas all day. Well, fuck you, and your little dog too. (Not you, you’re glorious, I mean EVERYBODY ELSE.)

    • The Bearded Iris

      YEAH! Fuck them. We matter. Our whole country is backassward on how we pay people for their worth. Teachers and SAHMs should make way more money than professional athletes and entertainers.

  19. By Word of Mouth Musings

    I cannot code HTML, cannot boost SEO and sure as Hell have zero, nada, zilch expertise as a toilet augerer … I am never going to be invited as show and tell.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh honey – I would invite you to MY show and tell any day! You have skills to pay the bills! How about your Rainman-esque recall of names and blogs? And your ability to organize and coordinate conflicting conference schedules? GENIUS. And let’s not forget your immense knowledge base of Sephora products, gluten-free facts, travel tips, home schooling, and fashion that is actually comfortable. I could go on and on. People like us may not have the kind of traditional skills they want at “Career Day,” but our skills matter and they make the world a better place. Up top! (*high five*)

      • By Word of Mouth Musings

        OMGawsh, I do have skillz … Love that you compared me to Rainman – and I am not remotely offended … hope to see you again soon.

    • tracy Beckerman

      What the heck is a toilet augerer anyway. If it’s anything like the person who has to go around plunging stopped up toilets cuz the kids fill them up with poop and toilet paper so they don’t flush and then LEAVE THEM THAT WAY, then I guess I am one too.

      • The Bearded Iris

        Yep. That’s it. An auger is a little more heavy-duty than a plunger. It’s a flexible metal pole you insert into the toilet hole and turn until it breaks up the actual clog. So so gross. Count your lucky stars you’ve never had to shop for one, buy one, use one, or clean one. (SHUDDER)

  20. Jenni

    Well then, I think I’m totally fucked then, for Career Day and if I ever need auger a toilet. (Which I will now go google to see what the hell it is…) =-D

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh, I’ll save you the trouble – an auger is a long flexible wire pole that rotates with a crank. Sometimes a plunger just won’t dislodge a clogged toilet, so you need to insert the auger and turn it until it actually breaks up the brick-like-turd your severely constipated child has deposited into your commode. The grossest part is then removing the turd-encrusted auger, transporting it through your house, and hosing it off in your yard. Good times. And yes, this happened to us when my husband was out of town and I had to learn to do it on my own. Going to the Ace Hardware and asking for help on how to break up a solid clog was pretty fun though.

  21. kristen from motherload

    Okay so last year Kate comes home from kindergarten and is all, “Alden’s mom came into school today and talked to us about her job and she makes robots for NASA and sends them into outer space.”

    To which I was all, “WhatEVER. I could totally have done that too if I wanted a BORING job. Instead I find it more intellectually stimulating shopping at Target and Trader Joe’s and figuring out how to get grape juice stains out of your clothes.”

    Showed her.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hey, it takes major science skills to know how to remove each kind of stain. We’re talking enzymes and proteins and lipids here people. We may not know how to BUILD robots, but we sho’ can DANCE like robots. HOLLA!

  22. Julie

    It’s lame that this made me cry, right? I am so frustrated right now with the SAHM thing. I would like to go back to work, I really would. But it’s not going to happen. And I’m watching that gap widen in my resume and dealing with all the mom guilt and just UGH. UGH UGH UGH.

    I’m really good at the SAHM gig. I rock the kitchen. The house is always clean. The kid is happy and healthy and the husband is fed and sassy. But what am I??

    And that picture on the bottom sums it up just freaking right too.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Not lame at all. It made me cry too and then it made me angry. At least you rock the SAHM gig. Take pride in that, sister. My house is never clean.

      Here’s the good news – there are jobs today that we can do from home with our fierce social media skills. Keep doing what you do on your blog and when the time is right, you’ll make something happen. You have SKILLZ!

  23. tracy Beckerman

    I actually was invited to and did speak at Career Day at my daughter’s middle school two years ago and not only did she NOT sign up for my session, she told her friends not to either because (in her words) “There are so many other sessions that will be more interesting than my mother’s.”
    Well the joke was on her because there were THIRTY kids who came to my session. That is THIRTY kids who stared out the window, played mindlessly with their gum and fell asleep on their desks.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh snap. Middle schoolers are a tough crowd. And they totally wouldn’t get our hairy nipple jokes either. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing that I wasn’t invited.

  24. NanaBread (Jeanne)

    Wait… you can finger whistle?
    Happy Mother’s Day, Leslie. 🙂

    • The Bearded Iris

      I CAN! So loudly, in fact, that every dog in three subdivisions comes running when I call my kids home for dinner. It’s one of my best tricks. Maybe I’ll do a tutorial on it someday.

  25. Kat1e

    I’m neither stay at home, nor a mom, but I found this fracking funny! 🙂

  26. Michaela Mitchell

    I’m not a SAHM, and I don’t know how y’all do it! One weekend at a time is about all I can stand before I’m ready to run screaming into the streets to go back to work…and yeah, you work your asses off, and I bow down to your awesomeness for not just doing it, but wanting to take the most thankless job on the planet…

    I love my boys…and I love their daycare, passionately…

    To all the SAHMs in the world – you freaking rock! Happy Mother’s Day!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hahaha! Oh yes, well, I do love my children’s schools. And I do not love summertime. I just started working part-time from home and I’m hoping it will be the best of both worlds. Or, it might turn out to be the worst of both worlds, which would totally suck. Happy Mother’s Day to you too Michaela!

  27. Dr. Cynicism

    Hahaha! How about I take you to MY career day, and then you can teach us about boosting our SEO and being better bloggers. Pretty please?!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Okay, first of all, I LOVE your little avatar there. That is just a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

      Secondly, yes. Invite me. I will come. And I will bring visual aids! But first I need to actually learn more about SEO because Google keeps changing their very complicated algorithm and I cannot keep up. The main thing I can tell you is to use your categories and tags like your life depended on it. And title your posts well. And do lots of links to your other posts within each post. That’s a good place to start. 🙂

  28. Just Jennifer

    This. Is. So. Awesome.

  29. Jay- The Dude of the House

    I think all former football players become insurance salesmen. Sort of ironic, in a way.

  30. Jessica

    I now need to google the word “auger” this may mean that I’m not ready to present as career day as a SAHM.

  31. Kathleen

    That meme is exactly right!
    Here’s to next year’s Career Day, lol=)

    • milbert

      OK, you are soo hilarious, i laughed out loud the whole time….(your post, all the subsequent comments from everyone). I think being able to remove blocked turds is an unrated skill. Add that to the resume…i would join a webinar on that, and judging by the comments on the definition of ‘auger’, many others would too! From one SAHM to another, keep the humor going……you would rock at a bloggers conference!

      • The Bearded Iris

        Thanks Milbert! Glad you enjoyed it! I’ve been watching YouTube plumbing videos so I can install some new faucets and surely I could do at least as well as those guys. Hmmm, maybe an auger tutorial should be my next vlog! Thanks for the suggestion!

  32. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel

    Thank you for this. We’re not quite there yet but I can see just this happening.

  33. Astra

    Brilliant! Your conversations with the offspring sound remarkably similar to mine!
    “… you would have thought I had just ordered him to go to school naked, pedaling a tricycle.” Best ever (only because I think I saw the look just this morning!)! Glad to have found your site! ~A

  34. Alexandra


    I can’t believe how much smarter I am than all of you guys.

    I MAKE myself even BETTER than career day.

    Pshaw and who needs career day.

    I volunteer every year for Junior Achievement and spend the six weeks of every Wednesday afternoon talking about ME.

    Come on, Les, you struck me as a girl on the ball when we met. xo

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