As moms, we play a lot of roles and have a lot of titles. There have been several articles recently about what we would get paid for each of these roles on the open market, and how much we “deserve.” I don’t begrudge many things that I do – other than ironing…I really hate ironing – but I have had an epiphany this week about the role of scheduling and logistics that I play in our house. And I pointed out to my husband that he tends to take it for granted that I just do it all.
What does it mean to be the “Logistics Manager” in our house? I keep track of my husband’s schedule and figure out what the kids and I can join him for, or not. And keep track of the kids while at events – while talking to people, being friendly, and trying not to be rude when I have to chase them down. I keep track of the teenager and all of her sports and activities, the middle and his sports and activities, and the little and all of her stuff. And all of their school days/days off, open houses or parent/teacher nights, weekend or summer camps, doctor appointments, etc. Plus my own business and all the household chores, yard work, and local initiatives in our community.
I am sure there are dads out there who serve in this role. However, more often than not, it falls to moms – whether we are working moms or not.
I am the one everyone asks “where is x?” in the house, the refrigerator, or cabinet.
I do not resent this role – I’m used to it. But sometimes, as moms, we all think it’s nice to get a little recognition, right? When I did catch up on ironing a few weeks ago, not all of the rest of the housework got done (the dining room table is kind of a catch all for all the things everyone brings home, plus all the mail), and I pointed out to my husband that spending 5 hours ironing his dress shirts was time I could have cleaned the whole house. Some weeks, that is just how it is. We all have to prioritize things, every day. Or every week!
I think I’ve said before that my husband travels most weeks, and he wears a button-down dress shirt every day. When he is traveling, he sends his shirts to the cleaners. At home, our dry cleaners closed over 10 years ago, and while I can use a service in another town (and get it back in a week), I mostly just do the laundry here. That said – keeping in mind that I really hate ironing – the shirts tend to stack up and then I do them all at once. Which isn’t normally an issue when he is traveling steadily. However, he is mostly based from home during August – still traveling, but coming home for regular family dinners a couple nights each week and trying to maintain a little more contact with the kids when we can get it.
I try to take Fridays to clean up the house and clear all the laundry so that we can simply enjoy our weekends with dad home – and it just doesn’t always happen. And that’s ok.
Some weeks, none of it gets done because we are just going the whole time. How much time do you spend keeping up with the basics around your house? I am usually good about laundry and dishes, mostly because it drives me crazy to have things pile up. So, those two things are my regular chores that I try to do in between everything else. I do not do laundry every day, mostly because I want to do a full load when I do – a holdover from my parents teaching me not to waste water. I also don’t run the dishwasher more than a couple times a week, only when it is totally full. I do try to clear all the dishes out of the sink, and I probably hand wash more things in the kitchen than many people.
When I do laundry, I try to get it all done in one day, usually twice a week, so that I can clear the mess. Our laundry is in our main floor bathroom, and I just like to get it done when I can and close the closet doors the rest of the time. I also fold everything as I take it out of the dryer – I am totally anal that way, and I have recently been putting each load away as I finish the folding as well. This is a whole new world for me! And it is amazing. It feels really, really good to have that one thing completely done.
The rest of the basic chores around our house (cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, sweeping and dusting) are things I fit in throughout my day or week, as I notice or when I think about it. And I am as big of a procrastinator as anyone. I say that I do them all once a week, but definitely every other week if I’ve been traveling a lot.
Work “chores” are also flexible. Obviously, I let things go a bit last week, in order to focus on my kids during the last week of summer/first week of school. My kids are my number one priority, all the time. That doesn’t mean I am with them all the time, and I am certainly not a “helicopter mom.” I try to let my kids fly on their own and stretch their wings. I am not perfect, but I do try to challenge them to be their best, and I try to be at as many of their games/events as I can.
That said, I do not go to every practice, and if the first half of flag football time is for drills, I am just as likely to run errands or finish some work as I am to watch all of the pre-scrimmage practice time. I missed a lot of the high schooler’s spring sports last year – as she told me to – and she then brought it back up as if I was such a bad mom when we were arguing over something else this summer. I have a hard time driving 4 hours round trip to watch her run for less than 2 minutes in a track meet. And I’m not likely to follow her around the golf course at a tournament. So, the long and short is that we all have to prioritize things.
It is sometimes hard for my kids to recognize that I am working when I am on my phone throughout the day at home, as I’ve said before in this forum. I am thankful that everyone is back in school now, and hopefully I’ll be able to make the most of the mornings the youngest is in preschool for dedicated work time, and then be fully present when all of them get home.
Is it easier or harder for you to keep track of everything when your kids are back in school? It is definitely easier for me! School gives us a set schedule and regular times for meals, snacks, and bedtime, which I think is good for kids. It is also a really long day and a hard adjustment for the younger ones. My son took a two-hour nap after the first day back! He has been grumpy after school every day, and a bottomless pit for snacks and dinners. After a week or two, he will be fully back in the swing, and hopefully roll with all of it.
Growing up is hard work. Learning all the things. Following all the rules. Friends, social norms, teachers, coaches, parents, changes, and life. All of these things are incorporated into each of our kids as they grow and learn. And as mom, I’m here to guide them along the way and help them figure it out. I do not always have the answers. And sometimes, saying “I don’t know, why don’t we look that up?” or “I’m not sure, who do you think might know?” helps them figure it out – and helps them see that it’s ok to ask for help.
As the “Logistics Manager,” my job is more than just scheduling everything for the whole family, and keeping track of their activities. My job includes helping them figure things out and being in charge of their mental health as well as the physical. Paying attention to what they are saying, and what they are not saying.
Being a mom is the greatest job in the world, but it is not for the faint of heart! It is a big deal. Whether you choose to stay home, work at home, or juggle it all while you’re working in an office or high-speed career, I tip my hat to you. Moms and dads are the ones our kids go to first, and it is our job to just be there for them. For all the things, big or small.