04 April 2011

Ground Control



A few years ago, when my sons were old enough to wonder what I did all day when they were in school and Daddy was ‘at work,’ I decided to write my Mom CV (resumé for my American friends). Not that I was looking for another job, thank you very much – quite satisfied with my position. Still, I thought the role needed defining (and yes, perhaps a bit more respect). Also, to be perfectly honest, as someone who moved to Monaco from a ‘real’ New York career in Advertising and Marketing Communications, I knew a CV could only enhance my credibility, at least on the ‘what did you do all day days?’

So I listed a few obvious functions every mother will recognize: primary caretaker, teacher, nurse, nutritionist, doctor diagnostician, chef, chauffeur, mediator, music tutor, sports coach (it wasn’t my Swiss husband who taught the boys to play baseball!) psychologist, photographer, videographer, detective (to figure out who did what to whom first) disciplinarian, fixer and worrier-in-chief.

That didn’t begin to cover it, so I added a section: responsible for household management. With two homes, cars and a boat, maintaining everything in proper running order required time. In this section I also included chief organizer, accountant, secretary, interior decorator, shopper, deal negotiator, and vacation planner/travel agent. (I specialize in luxury adventure holidays that appeal to growing boys and are not too strenuous on well-grown parents.) Add to that special event manager, social coordinator and party planner – children’s birthdays, business dinners and various other themed events offered, and you see clear evidence of managerial skills.

Nonetheless, the above still left a small chunk of time, so I grouped a host of non-paid, semi-professional positions under ‘volunteer extraordinaire.’ From PTA rep to School Board member, from sailing team helper and charity worker. Then if any time remained I tried to do some writing. Trust me, like most moms out there; I never had the slightest problem filling my days.

Lately, however, I find myself obliged to take on a new and rather challenging mission – and hence it’s time to update my resumé. (Please note: I’ve always been fascinated with aviation. My father long ago served as a fighter pilot in the war and flew a P-47, the hottest plane of its day.)

In any case, with one teen, one ‘tween, one child and one husband, I’ve been thinking how closely my Mom Job today resembles that of an air traffic or ground controller. Perhaps not in the most literal sense, but certainly in terms of filing flight plans and orchestrating multiple takeoffs and landings to various destinations.

I’m not so sure how I feel about it - because basically it means the boys are growing up and beginning to go their separate ways.  My husband calls it the era of partial family. Instead of us all together being the norm, it is now happy circumstance. So to maximize family time, traffic control is ever more important.

I’m still learning the ropes. My teen would say I’m far too strict with the controlled airspace and he shouldn’t be limited to visual flight rules (no flying after dark.) They all three take exception to my frequent ‘Report Position’ calls and there are times despite my best efforts that we experience radio silence. 

Still, I continue to clear them for take off, over and over again, as any good controller must. It has to happen. I just hope that if I let them fly away they will eventually land safely and not too far from home. 

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