I am the management. I create the schedule, assign the tasks, check the progress of the team. I am the CFO, the cook, the housekeeping staff. I run interference. I am the chauffeur. I provide the tools and oversee the work. I take notes. I am the secretary and the gopher. I am the staff-nurse. I am the critic and the audience. I am the one who writes the script and fills out the cast. I am on call 24 hours a day. I work for free. But I am not the Boss.
Today has been tough. No school which meant bored kids, bickering kids. And, it means they will still be in school next July when I am ready to hit the beach after this long, cold winter. We have a pageant on Saturday, a birthday party on Friday night, a family dinner on Sunday.
The pageant has taken the better part of a month to prepare for. Seriously. Four costume changes each, multiple routines (Oh, yes, I am the choreographer too.) Too much work, all mine. Forcing extra piano practice sessions and dance practice sessions on top of our already overly full schedule of dance, piano, theater classes, schoolwork and life. Fitting in trips to have dresses altered, nails done, superfluous activities galore. I have not a minute to spare it seems.
The girls have insane amounts of homework lately, and on top of that extra work from their advanced academic program. Research projects. MLA documentation. Ridiculous expectations. And one who tells me at 9pm tonight that she has a book report due tomorrow. not. yet. started.
Cake. Games. Prize bags. Cupcakes, juice. Did I remember to buy her a gift? Keeping track of who can come, who was invited. Almost forgetting the neighbor's kid. Birthday parties are not exactly a breeze.
I have wash in the washer, wash in the dryer, clothes folded on the bed. There are dishes. The floors need washing. Boots, hats and gloves are multiplying by the front door. Get two together and end up with fifty. They multiple exponentially and without restraint. The trash, which I have taken out twice already, is overflowing in the kitchen.
I am overwhelmed.
Sometimes I envy the working mom. Drop those kids off at daycare and with no one in the house all day, it stays clean for hours, if not days, at a time. My house doesn't stay clean for mere minutes. I can leave a room spotless, and return to disaster. When someone asks what I do, I sheepishly answer that I am a stay-at-home-mom. There's no shame in it. It is work.
But staying home is also a luxury. Steve works hard enough to allow me to maintain a place in the home. Being here for the kids, guiding their every step, loving them through every mess, every spat, every dirty dish and every bedtime argument. Staying home allows me to be the general management, even when it feels like mere maintenance.
Management. It's what I do.