I’m not saying working moms don’t deal with bullsh*t. Of course they do. All parents do, on some level. But as the designated “primary caregiver” who is at home 24/7, many of the ridiculous, some seemingly fake, but all totally necessary tasks regarding childcare end up falling completely in my lot.
I’m not talking about the regular day-to-day grind. I’m talking about the kind of stuff you describe to your childless friends who ask you about your day, then they respond with a polite uncomfortable chuckle and a wide-eyed expression of “please don’t ever tell me about your life again.”
I’m hoping the working moms out there at least get acknowledgement, if not assistance [or, I daresay, a full split?], in these absurd mom jobs.
- Clip the kid’s fingernails and toenails. It’s as if my husband has never noticed they grow on people other than himself.
- Clean up basically all the nail remnants off the floor because nails never clip directly into a garbage can. I could probably have my kids stand directly in the garbage can and the nail clippings would still somehow fly all over the floor.
- Periodically go through the kids’ closet and swap stuff they’ve outgrown for appropriately sized stuff, sourced from one of the many boxes I originally packed and labeled. This one is even more riveting than the daily stuff, like laundry.
- Manage to cram the outgrown stuff back into different labeled boxes just in case we decide to have another kid.
- Clean the bath toys. Yes, it actually needs to be done. Especially if they’re the kind that squirt water. Don’t ask me why I know this; some things are better left undescribed.
- Tape together books that have been ripped, chewed, or otherwise partially destroyed (but not destroyed enough to get rid of them. I’ll get my money’s worth out of that $5.99 Sandra Boynton book, damn it!).
- Peel old stickers off the inside of the dryer. No matter how thoroughly you search for them before throwing clothes in the wash, they always appear in the dryer.
- Really, peeling stickers off every surface in the house. Floors, walls, windows, the toilet, your socks…
- Pack lunches and snacks that are devoid of nuts, seeds, or anything processed in a facility that also processes nuts. Yes, I know it’s dangerous for kids with allergies. It doesn’t mean it’s not a pain in the a** for the rest of us. I get it, I do it, but I still get to complain about ever using sun butter in anything.
- Sniff clothes left on the floor of the kid’s room to determine whether they are clean or dirty.
- Sometimes sniff the clothes in the closet too. You never really know how many times a kid will wear the same shirt before you force her to wash it.
- Put together boxes of children’s puzzles to determine whether or not they are missing any pieces.
- Weigh the decision to search for [inevitable] missing pieces or give up and throw the puzzles away.
- Deal with the [inevitable] meltdown from kids when they discover you threw the puzzles away. I can let a few gaps slide, but the accountant in me sets the acceptable level of missing pieces at 5% of the total.
- Come up with fun activities that require absolutely zero help or involvement from me for when I need to get something done and the kids suddenly decide they are unable to play in another room by themselves.
Did I miss any?
About the author: Anna Gracia was a CPA and a teacher in her former life. She is now a writer and stay-at-home-mom to two kids who are home all day. Literally. All. Day. She runs the movie review and commentary website The Snarky Reviewer. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.