Okay, so check this out. In my real life, aside from being a mom, I work at home doing freelance public relations and writing. Most of the time, it’s about pretty technical things like automation, control and manufacturing. And while this probably sounds EXTREMELY boring, I actually enjoy it and find it interesting.
ESPECIALLY when I find a corollary to my life as a mom. So recently I was interviewing someone about a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and he mentioned that the manufacturing industry is changing the name of MES systems to MOM systems — Manufacturing Operations Management.
What? You don’t find this funny? You don’t see THE IRONY??
Okay, well an MES system is a suite of manufacturing operational software that connects to multiple plant and business systems, collects the relevant data and presents it as easy-to-understand, real-time intelligence for productivity analysis, data mining, querying and reporting. An MES system can help you identify bottlenecks, analyze production downtime causes and energy management, calculate key performance indicators (KPIs), understand your work-in-progress, track the real costs of production, and many more operational performances issues.
(at what point did your eyes glaze over?)
What!? You STILL don’t find it funny??
Let me break it down for you.
An MES system is:
Software (mom’s brain)
That connects to multiple plant and business systems (spouse, children, school, work, home)
Collects relevant data (children’s and spouse’s schedules; play dates; doctor’s appointments; clothing and shoe sizes of every family member; contents of pantry and refrigerator; supplies needed for school/daycare; immunizations required; daily intake of children’s fruits and vegetables; recommendations on pediatric dentists; educating oneself about any number of topics, not to exclude best techniques for discipline, potty training and how to get your child to broccoli; birthdays; anniversaries; dates of holiday family gatherings on both sides; … uh, not to mention everything required for any work that’s outside the home)
And presents it as easy-to-understand, real-time intelligence (may exist in rudimentary lists, a calendar, or electronic planner, but probably all three; also, constant verbal communication to tell spouse and children everything that needs to be done)
For productivity analysis, data mining, querying and reporting (to coordinate activities and process information in the most succinct and orderly way possible so mom, spouse and children can make the best decisions and achieve optimum life satisfaction and achievement)
An MES system can help you:
Identify bottlenecks (being overscheduled)
Analyze production downtime causes (my kid refused to take a nap, which lead to incessant whining and non-stop temper tantrums, which lead to a time-out combined with refusal to put on own shoes and a last-minute potty request = why we were late)
Analyze energy management (no analysis needed — there’s never enough energy due to frequent production downtime causes and too much relevant data)
Calculate key performance indicators (my kid is potty trained! my kid sleeps through the night! my kid said sh*t for the first time!)
Understand your work-in-progress (my kid will eat broccoli, but not tomatoes)
And many more operational performances issues (i.e. lack of a morning exercise routine due to a certain 8-month-old’s frequent early morning awakenings and my inability to go to bed earlier)
Um, does anyone else out there feel like they’re a walking, talking MOM system, without the benefit of super awesome computer software to keep it all organized?? I mean, some companies spend thousands and thousands of dollars to do what a mom does every day — help their business (family) run better.
Ultimately, I’m the planner in my family, as are most moms I think.
If we’re going somewhere, I’m the one organizing the lists of things we need to take a long.
If we need to bring a dish to pass to the above-mentioned event, I’m the one thinking ahead about the groceries we need to buy, and then mentally scheduling a time to make the food, and many times (though not all), actually making it.
I’m the one making sure the Halloween costumes are washed, that we have the right color leggings to go underneath, and that we remember the Halloween candy buckets.
I’m the one making the doctor appointments, and compiling our list of questions to ask the doctor at the next well visit.
I’m the one deciding what clothes and shoes to buy for the next season, agonizing over what size to get so that they’re not overly big at the beginning of the season and too small by the end of it.
I’m the one deciding when to change the clothes over for the next season, then washing and folding the new clothes and storing the old clothes.
Now let me just say that I AM NOT trying to say that my husband doesn’t do anything. Far, FAR from it. In fact, he is INCREDIBLE, and takes on MANY responsibilities in running our house. For example, I don’t clean our house. I organize it and he’s the one who actually cleans it. He does at least half the laundry. He is an active participant in parenting and discipline. He’s always willing to make meals, do dishes, help feed the kids and give baths. And of course he works EXTREMELY hard outside of our home too.
But I think the main difference between the two of us is that, in general, I walk around on a day-to-day basis with my brain LOADED with this type of information. It’s just always THERE. All of these little bits of information and things that I need to do, floating around and bugging me. Whereas my husband (like most husbands, although I hate to generalize), relies on me to be the keeper, the processor, and the organizer of this information (the MOM system!!) so that I can then tell him what needs to be done; after which he is happy to help execute.
Every family has their own division of labor between the husband and the wife, and every family has to figure out what works for them. In the past, I think the reason I’ve found it necessary to justify (to myself) how much work it is to be the MOM system is in part because I’ve spent a lot of time feeling guilty over the fact that my husband does so much stuff around our house — i.e. cleaning, cooking, and doing dishes and laundry — that our society tells us are things women do. I used to feel so guilty that he did all the cleaning and that 9 times out of 10 he does the dishes, etc., etc. But I’ve gotten over it, because it’s a lot of work to be the MOM system!
And let’s be totally honest, I’m a control freak I have a knack for doing this type of thing. So it’s my natural tendency to WANT to do it. Because no one could do it as good as me, see?
Okay, I’m sorry if you couldn’t see the irony between a MOM system and a real-life mom. I’ve always said that I’m easily amused.
I’m curious, in your family is it the real-life mom who plays the role of the MOM system, or is it the dad? Do you other moms feel like you’re walking around with a brain full of exploding bits of information? How do you divide labor in your house?