Friday, October 4, 2013

How Working In A Jail Prepared Me For Motherhood. Seriously.

I worked in a jail many years ago. It was a shit job (sometimes, literally a shit job), but I learned a lot from it. More than I ever would have guessed! In many ways, it actually really prepared me for motherhood. WHAT? Yes. Here's how.

- Whether it's a freshly arrested, drugged up or drunk inmate repeatedly screaming "FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING WHORE" at me through his jail cell door, or my kids whining "Mommy, I don't want to get my jammies ooooooon" 500 times, I can tune it out like I'm deaf. 
Like I'm sitting alone in a field of daisies, reading a book and mainlining wine. 
What's that noise? A bird chirping? 

- Restraining a fighting inmate intent on killing me or giving a kid medicine, same tactic. Wrestle them to the ground, sit on them, and restrain their arms, fearing for my life, limbs, and eyes the entire time. It's all the same. Only, kids are shockingly stronger! They have more stamina, and are slightly insane.

- The dependency. Whether inmate or child, they depend on you for EVERYTHING. Meals, medicine, soap, clothing. It doesn't matter if I'm at the jail or in my own house, the constant requests for things are, well, constant.

- I had to check on the inmates within their housing units at least once an hour to make sure they weren't killing each other, themselves, escaping, doing drugs, etc. Good prep for checking on the kids every minute to make sure they aren't drowning in the toilet, lighting fires, choking each other out, shaving their legs with my discarded razor they dug out of the trash (true story- good job, son), eating glue, you get it.

- I also had to do head counts every shift at the jail. It's the same as having my kids out in public. One... two... ohshitwhere's- oh, three. Repeat every 15 seconds to two minutes, depending on where we're at.

- Monitoring television time. If we put on a channel and it was showing the same show or movie as the night before, the inmates acted like we were cutting their fucking faces off. IT'S THE SAME THING AS LAST NIGHT! CHANGE IT! CHANGE THE CHANNEL NOW! OOHH MY GOD MY EYES ARE MELTING OFF MY FACE!
Kids pretty much throw the same fit over TV except in the opposite way. They want to watch the same exact thing over and over and over and over and over again. Then over again.
Either way, it makes me want to blow up the television with glee.

- The fighting. Whether at home or jail, I'm constantly breaking up fights. He touched me! He touched me first! He took my pencil! He farted on me (that one I've heard at jail AND at home as excuses for fighting. NO JOKE.)! He was looking at me! He's walking too slow!
Just shut the hell up. All of you.

- The paperwork. Whether registering a kid for school or booking an inmate into the jail, the paperwork is enough to make trees cry. And me.  

- The insane inmates were awesome prep for motherhood. When a toddler is doing something really, really strange or babbling incoherently, I just know to politely nod my head and soothingly say, "Okay, yes, I hear you. I understand" while wondering in the back of my mind what the fuck they are talking about or doing. I also learned how to handle unpredictable people, which, let's be honest here: kids are TOTALLY that.

- Searching them for contraband. Inmates hide anything and everything everywhere. Really, everywhere. After having conducted thousands of body searches, I can guarantee you that my kids have no chance of slipping anything by me on their person. 
Whether having an inmate open his or her mouth after taking medication to show me that they didn't "cheek" their meds, or prying a kid's mouth open to see what he's hiding in there, it's all the same. I know what a hand looks like when it's concealing something, kids. I see your shifty eyes. And don't even think about using the other cheeks to hide anything, sons. I know how to search people by having them bend over, squat and cough. Unfortunately.

On second thought, I wasn't paid enough at the jail. At least at home, I am paid in snot-soaked kisses.

Join in the fun on Facebook and Twitter!