A couple weeks ago, I had one of those epic breakdowns; an emotional outburst that catapults you to the brink of insanity even without the help of several glasses – maybe a bottle – of wine. Yes, a breakdown so bold, you can’t decipher the point to life anymore, and in between the briny tears, your eyes give up trying to obtain clear vision and blur beyond comprehension and then they add insult to injury by making the unflattering choice of puffing out, adorning themselves with red around the edges and then no matter how much you try and blink it away, they begin to sting like the dickens. Finally, as you wipe tear after tear away, you realise you’ve adopted The Ugly Cry Face; an expression you can’t remove, there is no help for it, and an expression that is not an Urban Legend – so keep it to yourself, it’s not for public consumption – You rub your wet nose into your shirt as you snort back up all the mucus your body seems to think it needs to dispel right then and right there, but, to no avail.

And so, you kind of just lay there. Quivering. Be it cowering over the toilet, or passed out under the bed, or if you’re me, sprawled out on the kitchen floor amongst the pots and pans your two-year old had retrieved and placed around you supportively.

So if you’re wondering where I’ve been, there you have it. Earlier that day I had finally received word. Word that: No. In fact, Mrs. Huyghebaert we regret to inform you that indeed we believe you are not qualified to make soap. Best-fucking-wishes in your search, yours truly, Company Inc.

Since October, I’ve probably written nearly a couple hundred resumes and cover letter, specific to the ads I would see in the paper, or on Craigslist or on company websites. I had made countless phone calls inquiring about potential positions, or spent afternoon cold-calling places in the hopes that they had openings they hadn’t put out ads for yet.

By January, it had already been heart-wrenching to hear yet another straight-forward “no,” or to be told to call back at another time, again and again, or worst of all was to hear nothing at all – which was most of the time – every form of rejection, each one harder to swallow than the last, but in my mind at the time, all survivable failures.

I knew I had a sticky wicket of a situation being a stay at home mom, already out of the job circuit for two years, with very tight scheduling needs and availability, but I figured after all the searching, all those calls, all the individually written letters … something was going to come of it.

Well, in April I figured I found it. Finally something came up that I thought was the right fit for me. A beginning as in not only a place to start, but the right hours, not a terrible commute, no experience necessary and best of all, room to develop and move up in the company in order to end up doing what I should be: Writing.

Writing in some capacity, with a company I actually liked, all too good to be true – and I knew it – but I barreled ahead anyway, guns blazing, because to me it was Mecca, and I said this in my opening communications with the company – I belonged with them – little did I know much of this was going to fall on deaf ears.

I had politely pummeled them with emails during their routine of mindlessly flipping through resumes, to remind them that I was still there, still interested, still qualified, dedicated, enthusiastic, loyal … until someone finally bothered to reply one month and one week after I attended my first interview.

A simple form letter informing me of another failure, not unlike any of the other short emails I had already received, in detail, but as for importance? This one took a big swing and delivered a hard blow.

And so, the day that I finally heard the “no,” I already knew was coming, before I told Hubby or Bestie or anyone I had a little – cough cough – one epic cry. It wasn’t until then that I had this thought, this one thought which has troubled me ever since.

As far as I remember there was no interview process to become a mother. No room full of well-dressed applicants filling out paper work for the position titled “Mother”. There is no inquiry, no vote, and no email registration or selection process. Supposedly, “the most important job” in the world has no system in place that demands a process of filtration, that inputs all the potentials but only spits out the very best, most qualified, most deserving few like every other job application process known to man. No as a mother, frankly, you can be anyone. It’s on the “honour system” that we operate, believing that you don’t suck as a parent and end up vacuuming up your kid like a hamster.

This job called “Mom” comes at you whether you are ready, experienced, qualified or any of the above. It is handed to you no questions asked. No one follows you home and gives you weekly progress reports; there was no on-the-job-training, or power-point presentation to get you comfortable in your new position. There was nothing. Nothing. And then suddenly, there was a little something looking up at you with big eyes that were pleading, saying, “Please tell me you’re the most qualified one they could find to mother me.” Sorry kid, I know as much as you do. I’ll try to keep you away from the paper-shredder?

It just doesn’t make sense to me. You’re telling me, I am qualified to be a mother, one of life’s most difficult undertakings but I am not qualified … to …. make … soap?!

Every rejection letter I get in my inbox makes me want to send a slap upside the head email saying something like …

Listen up dickwad, Dear Job Recruiter and Organizer person, whoever you are. You don’t get it. Not only am I qualified to make fucking soap, you frigging ass-monkey, I am more than qualified to do your fucking job. And you want to know why? Because being a mother means learning true dedication and because of that my experience far outweighs anything you’ve got under your belt, trust me. Considering you don’t even have the wherewithal to return an email with even a witless reply, I’ll break this down for you, nice and simple. Unlike the job position you hold – we don’t know how – the job of motherhood means no weekends, no overtime pay, no breaks, no end of day and no clocking out. Maybe being a mother is a blessing but it isn’t an easy one and when the job isn’t easy I can’t call in sick or just fuck the dog waiting for my shift to terminate. I have to be there, present, every hour in every day of every week. Invested. I have to work through injury, exhaustion, sickness, frailty and weakness of heart. My job takes stamina, creativity in the face of adversity, and endurance the likes of which you can’t even begin to fathom, yet I show up every day, one hundred percent because someone deemed me qualified. Finally. Qualified. But somehow, to you I remain under-qualified to do the most menial of tasks like serve your guests, or stock your shelves or make your soap and patronize all you think your blessed company stands for… still, to you I am just a nameless, faceless applicant pleading for an entry-level job you couldn’t give two shits about because you’ve forgotten what it’s like to struggle. Struggle to be heard, be seen, get a foot in the door, or struggle to be given one single frigging chance to say, “Look, I am the most qualified person you’re going to see apply for this job,” because I know what it takes now to be the kind of employee you need. And, maybe I can’t find a way to tell you in the interview because you wont do me the decency of looking me in the eye, but I am your candidate. And I hope you know that when I do get in the door and finally get that job, you better fucking understand that I’ll be gunning for you and your job. I will never overlook someone like me, because I believe in taking chances on the people who exhaust all options, never give up and understand the true meaning of persistence.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jonah’s Mom