And you thought your boss was bad. Try having a CEO who picks out your clothes for you.
I’ve recently started considering the similarities between running a household and running a business. If other homes are anything like mine, the Mom person is definitely the CEO. Probably the COO, too. And the CFO, and the ELO and the C3PO, too.
Scratch that last one.
My wife hates anything Star Wars.
So the Dad person ends up with a sympathy position as Director of Other Crap – mostly stuff like yardwork and hooking up the Blu-Ray player and plunging the toilet when it backs up...which happens every day. No shame in any of that.
A lot of hand sanitizer, maybe.
But no shame.
However, when it comes to getting the ground-level workers – if “kids” can indeed be compared to workers at all - to shag their butts a little, it seems that the levels of approval required for having anything completed in a satisfactory manner turns into a micromangement fiesta, the likes of which corporate America couldn’t even begin to comprehend.
I would make a Donald Trump joke here, but there’s no fresh fun to be made of that guy anymore.
In the corporate world, most workers are able to choose an outfit that simultaneously provides them a pleasant appearance while adhering to the mandated dress code. Some don’t seem to realize what a flip-flop is, but okay. They’re in the minority. But child laborers on the domestic front? Those little souls require constant supervision, starting with the choosing of the pants and leading right up until the last shoe is tied.
And on the right feet.
Even then, it’s sometimes a tough decision as to whether they’re ready to go into the world. Is something on backward? Does the hair look like it’s ever met with a comb? Are there facial substances that should have been washed off, circa the day before yesterday? The mental checklist that has to be run through pre-departure is no small task. I realize kids don’t have the greatest discretion when it comes to matching colors and such, but I’ve found myself saying “You call that a double-bow?” far more times than I was prepared to back when I thought they’d be born with at least a functional knowledge of how to tie knots.
Learning every day, both them and me.
I’m going out on a limb to say there’s no business in the world that would require their upper management craft lunches for their staff – selections that represent the food pyriamid or parallelogram or tetrahedron, or whatever insane shape that thing takes these days. That sort of micromangement magic is reserved for home professionals who know that, given the opportunity, their kids would fill a lunchbox with Pixie Stix, M&Ms and Slice and call the job done. Good thing your responsibilities include inspecting their choices before they walk out the door. And God forbid anyone in your crew is on a no-triangle diet that day and decides that the PB&J you took great pains to create for him or her has been cut into a geometrically undigestable arrangement. It’s not uncommon to hear, “I wanted circles today!” in our house.
I lay a solid management override on that one every time.
It’s only natural to assume that the extra micromanagerial efforts you’ve exercised would be adopted by your workers as they become tenured, that your mantra of “Homework first, then TV” would be somewhat ingrained in their work habits – if not all at once, then at least over the course of time. So it can be a little disappointing when you find yourself having to tell your fifteen year-old that no, an F on a report card does not stand for “Fantastic!”, and that from now on they’ll be finishing their assignments with you watching over their shoulder – even if you don’t know Algebra 2 from Al Jarreau’s Greatest Hits. It’s painful for them as much as it is for you, and even though you shouldn’t have to, you’ll do it.
No matter how tempting it might be to fire those little buggers and hire a new crew, you won’t be able to do it.
It’s kind of illegal to, anyway.
And so, instead of letting them fumble through the world mixing their stripes with plaids and greeting the world with crust in their eyes, you’ll be prepared to follow them to college if need be, to smooth down their cowlicks and make sure they don’t collect tattoos and piercings until they’re at least able to pay for such things without dipping into their student loans to fund it all. Someday, when people who don’t care all that much about them ask why their spreadsheets don’t balance or why they fell asleep at the bagel maker, they’ll remember that someone else paid strict attention to their doings…someone who had a bigger stake in their life, and didn’t wear a name tag. Maybe the mantra will kick in then. And if not, you can just follow them into work and do your thing there, too. You’d rather not, but you will if you have to.
It’s just part of the unwritten contract of parenthood.
We micromanage because we love.
This post sponsored by Darcy Perdu at www.SoThenStories.com who
shares her true-life bodacious blunders and hilarious humiliations --
(and invites you to do the same.) Check her website out -- I dare you
not to laugh out loud or snort in an unladylike fashion. Also, wish her a happy birthday!