The lady sized me up over her bifocals. She scrutinized my application while phones rang in the background of the busy office.
"So, you are seeking to apply for a specific style of mothering. Is that correct?" she asked.
"That's right. Do you have any available?"
"Well. We need to see what you would best be suited for and then we'll go from there."
In my head, the many different kinds of mothers I had observed over the years surrounded me. Where did I fit in?
"Now, I see you are applying to be a Loving, Patient, and Thoughtful mother. Just how did you hear about that position?"
"From Hallmark, the card company. It's their biggest selling card, and I think it fits my skill set."
But that was wishful thinking, and only half the story. Just that morning I had screamed in frustration when the world's fussiest baby quacked for hours for no reason I could discern, and wouldn't even take a nap. Fully convinced I would never be able to get out of my bath robe again, I handled it with as much grace as I could, which turned out to be an amount so small you would need a NASA microscope to see it.
"That's a very competitive style. Many apply, and many don't make it. Do you have any secondary choices?" She refocused her attention on my application.
"Um, yes. Fun mom, or Organized mom."
"Fun mom, you say? What appeals to you about that?"
I thought it would be neat to be the kind of mom who always has fun outings and learning opportunities planned, a constant playmate to my curious little guy. The kind of mom I see sitting on a blanket at the park with her toddler having a blast on a clear sunny day. That looked appealing. That could be me.
"Remember all that energy you had when you were twenty years old? Do you still have any of it?"
"No," I confessed sadly. "I used it all up digging potatoes and writing academic papers."
"Let's think about Organized mom."
Someone told me they heard about it at a place called The Container Store. I'm not only natural a stickler for organization, but I find joy in it. Since becoming a mother, there have been no late night runs to the store because we ran out of something, never a time when I absolutely needed to do the laundry for fear of nothing to wear, never a time when I didn't know where every little errant baby sock in the house was located. Things did slip by the wayside, but never for very long. This could go places.
"Have you ever left the house and forgot to put diapers in your bag?"
"Just once," I admitted, "but I thought some were in there. That never happens now. Never. I spend all morning making sure the diaper bag is well stocked."
"Oh? What happens when you have to be someplace in the morning? Do you do it the night before?"
"No, that would never happen because it's impossible for me to ever leave the house before noon. Physically impossible. Also, I never forget anything except for when I do, which is all the time since I became a mom."
This was going nowhere. "Look, what kind of mom style openings are left?"
The interviewer spun around and tapped the computer keyboard.
"We always have openings for Helicopter mom..."
"I don't know what that is."
"It's where you hover over your child, managing every detail of their life closely and lose yourself in the minutiae of your child's existence. The assignment starts when they become school aged."
Ugh. No way. It sounded noisy and unbalanced.
I thought about the times I try really, really hard with Duckling, doing my best and how sometimes I fall wildly short, and other times exceed beyond my expectations.
Hey, wait a minute.
"Do you have something like a "Doing My Best mom"? Oh sure, it turned out that not only were there many loyal members in the Doing My Best corps, but that many of the best moms were operating in some subdivision of that company. Even better, this Division is always hiring as there is an endless need for this mom-type.
"Congratulations. This position and title are retroactive. Oh, and Happy Mother's Day"