There have been countless blogs about how motherhood is a "real job" and how people who stay at home are actually working, and those bloggers are absolutely right, but this is not exactly that post, because it's been said before and better. And while I used to roll my eyes at terms like "domestic CEO" or "Captain of the Lastname Family," there is a truth that the first year, you spend learning your job, and the second year, you really know the ins and outs of things.
My husband could easily stay at home and take care of the kids, but if he started tomorrow he wouldn't know:
*Exactly how to time mowing the lawn so you get the back done before the kids wake up from their naps and hit the front (where the bedroom windows are) just about the time naptime is over. If you do it the other way, the noise wakes them up or prevents them from ever sleeping. Time it right and you hit the bedroom window area just as two little faces pop up in the window and wave.
*Exactly how to get the lawn mower to start after you add new gas. First you prime it three or four pushes, then you tilt it waaaaaay forward, then waaaaaay backwards (never side to side), prime it three or four more pushes and you're good to go. You have to tilt it. You can prime it until the cows come home, but you'll never get anywhere unless you tilt it.
*When you run out of dishwasher soap before your next grocery run and your budget is that tight, exactly how much Palmolive to add to the dishwasher so that you don't overflow suds onto the floor but still get your dishes sparkling clean. (This is not an exact science, as evidenced by the foam party we held after dinner earlier this week.)
*Which ones the "good bubbles" are.
*How to sell yogurt, fruit and cornflakes for dinner when it's six thousand degrees out and you really, really do not want to do a thing in the kitchen. (Guess what my kids are eating as I type this.)
*Which playground to go to on which day. (If it's rained especially heavily within the prior 48 hours, you do not go to any playground in my city, as they use sand for their base and you will be playing in puddles. Conversely, the ritzy town next door has a bouncy foam-like base which is not conducive to puddles, but if you go on a hot day, you'll boil. Then, you want the one by the bay with all the breezes.)
*That the best deal in town is an annual zoo pass which also gets you into the museum of science for free. Sometimes, you need to hit the zoo for 15 minutes just to see the elephants and then everything is better.
These are my tricks. My other parent friends are just as awesome as I am at their jobs, but I wouldn't know, say, just how long you can leave clothes in their washers before you have to run the cycle again, and they would have no idea what to do when the ice machine on my fridge makes that weird grinding noise (dislodge the glacier that formed when you put too much under the ice maker in the first place).
What are your tricks of the trade?