Mind the Gap

Gaps have been in the news a lot lately. First, President Obama stopped by one of the ubiquitous retailer's Manhattan locations to check out some new threads for his daughters. Next, Kate Middleton browsed the clothier in London in search of spiffy spring onesies for her sweet, little chubby-cheeked prince.

Then there's "thigh gap," a phenomenon in which girls/women/people with far more will power than I'll ever have, are either not eating or compulsively exercising in an attempt to achieve a parenthesis between their legs.

Parents, psychologists and nutritionists are busy trying to put a stop to this dangerous new craze. But while I am at-risk for a lot of other things these days (squirrels copulating in my attic, mortgage foreclosure, fleeing into the desert Marie Osmond-style) thigh gap is definitely not on the list. Because, let's face it, not only are my thighs touching each other, they're steadily closing in on my ankles.

The gap I'm most concerned about is the one on my resume. Yes, the one that's growing faster than a sinkhole with each passing day. And I've already got a BIG old gap (think somewhere between David Letterman's teeth and the Grand Canyon) from 2002-2010 on there. Apparently, I'm taking more breaks than an aging rock band.

Recently I was completing a job application that stated: "If there is a gap of more than three months on your resume, be prepared to discuss."

I have no problem discussing it. I was home raising my children. When I was asked about "the gap" during an interview, I told them that straight up. When they stared blankly back at me, I said, "You know, I was doing some freelance work but, mostly, I was doing mountains of laundry." Then we all laughed and they thanked me for my honesty.

"It's refreshing not to hear someone try to fudge their way through by telling us how many 'projects' they worked on," the interviewer said while rolling his eyes like a cartoon cat.

I'm honest about it because, in all honesty, being home all day with three children under the age of six is the hardest work I've ever done. But if it weren't for those hooligans I wouldn't be half the multi-tasking, problem-solver I am today. Anyone who's done it knows that more than half the time it would be a heck of a lot easier to sit at a desk drinking coffee (while it's still warm) and having a conversation that won't be interrupted by screaming, vomiting or someone handing you a fistful of worms.

I know potential employers really aren't supposed to ask you if you have kids, but isn't questioning "the gap" sort a roundabout way of ferreting out that information?

If I had the nerve, here's what I'd really like to say about my "gap":
  • I was busy trying to find out what happened to the band Dinosaur Jr.
  • I was working on a two-year project in which I tracked the startling connection between women "trading up" to a Chevy Suburban only to find themselves divorced before the second oil change. Stay tuned for my forthcoming docudrama "Skidmarks on My Heart."
  • I sought treatment for a "Wiggles" addiction.
  • I was busy submitting weekly pieces to Newsweek, none of which were published.
  • I attempted to recreate Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin with Lincoln Logs.
  • I entered a protection program which shielded me from over-achieving class mothers.
  • I was on an eight-year assignment with the CIA. I'd love to tell you more, but it's classified.
  • I spent a lot of time trying to find a direct flight to the Island of Sodor.
  • I was in a women's correctional facility - want to see my tats?
  • I played a lot of air guitar.
  • I worked for three tiny tyrants and sometimes, when I was at the top of my game, I could trick them into eating their vegetables.

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