I haven’t worked outside of the home for almost six years. My husband would say, “Six years without a paycheck.” So when the opportunity arose to participate in a two-day research study that paid a couple hundred dollars, needless to say, I was very interested. After enduring years of a small child and Type A Golden Retriever not really listening to me, I was delighted that someone actually wanted to pay me for my opinion. And let’s face it, it was two days of not feeling guilty about slacking off on housework and NO SpongeBob blasting from the television. However, it did mean lining up childcare for an 11 hour stretch, missing a parent/teacher conference and a volunteer session at the library. My husband cheerfully promised to pick up the slack because Mama was finally going to bring home some bacon for the first time in half a decade. And besides, my parents are always happy to watch their only granddaughter, at least in small doses.
When the big day finally arrived, it was the first time in quite a while that something got me out of bed at 5 a.m. that didn’t involve a sick child or a desire to get caught up on unwatched episodes of Bonnie Hunt. So I got dressed, scooped Grace out of bed in her pajamas and dumped her off at Grandma’s house. It felt great to be driving in the morning rush hour fray again, a faux Chai Green Tea in my circa 1995 to go cup (extra parabens I’m sure) and listening to my favorite radio program. The day was full of promise.
My goal was to arrive at the research facility before 7:30 a.m. with the possibility my name would be drawn for an extra $25.00 for arriving early. I hadn’t even earned my first paycheck yet and I already had a chance for a bonus. I was liking this working stuff. Of course, the last time I drove in rush hour traffic in Indianapolis was in 1993 before I moved out of state. Since then, night blindness has set in as a result of only driving during the day. As I attempted to navigate my way through new interchanges and highway construction, my phone rings and it is my husband. “What, you’re not there yet?” “Hurry so you can get my twenty-five dollars!” I could have sworn I heard a “Ho” thrown in at the end of his sentence.
The study turned out to be a Mock Jury. I have never served on jury duty (knock on wood) so I was looking forward to my first Perry Mason experience. The study entailed a long day of listening to opening arguments, testimony and filling out surveys. I was feeling pretty good about myself until the first bathroom break where I discovered that I put my underwear on inside out. I’m thinking, if I can’t even put my underwear on correctly, how is someone going to hire me after being on the “beach” for six years?
I can’t talk about the actual case, but I can say that if you are ever in a situation in which a jury of your peers must decide your fate, you may as well kiss your ass goodbye. The mindset of the masses is certainly enough to scare me straight with the likes of fellow jury members Dilbert, Joni Mitchell and Jimmy “JJ” Walker all trying to come to a consensus.
All in all I liked the experience of having a “mock job”. I have a great deal of respect for women who go off to work everyday while raising a family. I’m very privileged to have the opportunity to spend time at home with my child while she is still young. What to do with my earnings? Stocks, bonds, retirement? Nah, there’s a big sale at Kohl’s. Gotta load up on those mom jeans and house coats.