Inner Mind


Spinning Straw into Gold Resume

After twenty six years of staying at home to care for her children, Woman divorces the man who has been bringing in the income that supported her and their children.

She now needs a job to support herself. 

The councilor at the employment office is younger than the number of years since she last worked outside of her home. He tells Woman that she needs to have a resume. What has she done, what skills does she have?

Woman starts to list what it is that she has done.


She sang songs, specializing in the nursery ones, the ones that soothe babies to sleep and the chanting ones, the ones that restore her own humour, perspective and energy.

She changed diapers 17,520 times while clucking sympathetic noises at the usually happy baby.

She washed 98,000 cups. She never could get people to remember to reuse the same cup for their next drink of water.

She wiped 560 runny noses. One kid gets a cold and they all think they need one, with the extra attention it gets them and the excuse to wiggle out of tasks they don't like.

She scraped 35,000 carrots. For one month of the year, at least, they were from her own garden and that gave her a feeling of satisfaction.

She boiled 2,000 pots of macaroni. Kids love their noodles.

She washed 91,400 socks. She even got quite good at keeping them in pairs. Well, she was smart enough to figure it out to buy more than one pair of the same kind of sock. 12 packs were great.


After a while woman starts to feel silly adding up the times she gave shoulder rubs and hugs, the times she provided a loving presence to a distressed child or a situation that required adult supervision. Never mind the times she stopped, with and without the children, to listen to the birds sing or to admire the flowers. Flowers remind her of shovel fulls of dirt lifted, buckets of compost buried, worms noticed and encouraged.

Skunks and raccoons were noticed, if not exactly encouraged though she did point them out to the children and enjoy their antics. She doesn't even want to think about all the neighbourhood cats and dogs that came to snack at her compost pile.

She can't even begin to add up all the time and effort she spent trying to figure out how to do seemingly necessary things that were not part of her childhood education, in school or at home.

Woman sighs deeply and wonders however she will find someone to give her a job.

By Rita Baruss
written for International Women's Day
celebration presentation in Antigonish, NS, March 8, 2001