Thursday, January 29, 2015

Inventory Management

My favorite paying job that I've ever had (sorry freelancing!) was being a buyer for a retail store.  Wow, I was good at that.  Maybe not quite at first.  But eventually yes.  You know how mostly people don't like their jobs?  Not I.  Not then.  No, I really loved that job.

If I ever have to go back to work outside the home, I hope I can go back to doing something just like that.

When you're homemaking, there are a lot of things expected of you (mostly expected of you by yourself, amiright?  Like sometimes I say to my husband "gosh, I'm sorry I didn't get to *insert obscure house cleaning task here* but there just aren't enough hours in the day!" and he looks at me with this "wow, I have no idea whatsoever what you're talking about, but you're pretty and I like you so I hope I say the right thing here..." face and I realize that...you know...I've taken things a little too far) and I'd wager to guess that most of us don't love every single aspect.  I mean we're trying and we're learning but, just, temperaments and talents and all that.

So I think it's nice, maybe even important, for us to name and acknowledge the things we do love or are good at.  That way if we're feeling especially bedraggled and put upon whilst trying to live out our vocation (you know, the only path that's going to get us to a joy filled eternity?  Heaven help me.) we can cling the That Thing and thereby feel not so inept. 

Gosh I hope I'm not the only one who still sometimes feels inept at the very thing she's supposed to be the boss of.

For me That Thing is what I like to call "inventory management."  And this, y'all this is why I was such a good buyer.  I love making sure we have enough of stuff.  Not too much, not too little.  Enough that we never run out, but not so much that we use up all our storage space and/or money.  It's a beautiful balancing act weighing the awesome deal on shampoo against the other required expenses for the month.  It's empowering for me in my current role to look at our backstock shelves and see multiple units (oh girl, you know I call them units.  I do, I do, I do.  Ain't no shame.) of our most used non-perishables.

A whole shelf devoted to paper goods (YES I DO SO CALL THEM PAPER GOODS.  Raisin' my hands to testify....)- my tissues, my paper towels, my toilet paper- makes me feel like I'm winning at homemaking.  It really does.  I want to think I ought to ask if that's sad, but I just don't think it is.  Because it's so useful!

But it's not the only useful thing.  There are as many useful things as there are expectations of us as mothers.  What's your Thing?  Maybe you've never thought about it before.  Maybe you think you're not very good at any of it.  If that's the case, I can pretty much promise you that you're just not acknowledging that the thing you're good at is important.  Like maybe "I suck at all things mothering and homemaking.  I mean sure I make up really fun stories that my kids love, but that's not a reeeeeeal thing...." or "I wish I could do better at all things I'm not really fond of, but instead I'm just going to real quick bake my family their favorite gourmet dessert and have it finished in time for dinner..."

It's good to try and do better.  It's good to improve.  It's good to acknowledge our shortcomings and work to narrow that gap.  But some days are just hard and we feel like...we feel like the thing we can't do is the very thing we were created to do and how can that even be a thing, Lord help me.  For those days especially, it is so good, so helpful, to know what we are really talented at.  To be able to take a breather and do That Thing so we can remind our doubting selves that yes, we've got this.  That not every single bit of it is ridiculous and all-consuming.

For me it's inventory management.  For you it's probably something else.  If you don't already know what that is, investigate a little.  Get to know your homemakerself a little better.  Appreciate what your natural talents at least as much as you bemoan your shortcomings.  It's good.  It'll be good for everyone.

This irrelevant picture might be my most favorite one of her ever.


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44 comments :

  1. So great. And YES with the inventory management. I never thought about it like that but that is totally one of my things, too! It's, like, empowering or something. Along with the pretty organization of it all and home projects.

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  2. That is the most adorable picture!!!

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  3. I like laundry and cooking dinner. Those are the two areas that I almost always have under control not accounting for the younger kids wanting to eat only mac cheese and peanut butter. And I have an older daughter that mostly takes care of the dishes each day. Cleaning especially besides the basic clean shower so it isn't moldy and projects like say painting those are my hard areas.

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    1. Becky, you and I should team up! We'd have everything covered.

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  4. THANK YOU for writing this!

    I'm really good at keeping the clutter picked up. That's all that comes to mind, but I'm awfully good at it!

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    1. I stink at this - it's a fabulous talent!

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  5. I am awesome at improvisation, stain removal and repair. I leave it to your imagination what my kids are like that these are my homemaking A+ areas

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  6. Inventory Management! Yes that is one of my things. Unfortunately I am not in charge of inventory right now which drives me a bit batty. Also record keeping and taxes. Those accounts will balance! I'm also good at creating schedules. Sticking to them, however, is a different matter, but it looks good on paper.

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  7. What a great pick me up......I'm going to have to noodle on this a bit, but you're so right, when you start acknowledging what you're good at, you start to realize that you don't suck at everything else, and start to build some confidence!

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  8. I love this post! I am good at the food and supply inventory of our home too. I do really love doing the clothing inventory. I have tubs and lists and love to shop for exactly what we need for shoes and clothes, no more and no less. I find that one so satisfying!

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  9. I am good at inventory management, and I can cook things that have healthy stuff in them that my kids will still eat happily. I'm only on day 2 of home schooling, but I am learning that I'm still good at teaching people stuff (tutoring in highschool for the win!). :) I definitely needed that perspective shift, so thanks! There were some areas of this calling that were really starting to get inside my head (I'm looking at you, never-ending laundry pile and clutter-generating house).

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  10. I think I'm good at problem solving when it comes to things, not always people. Home repairs, clutter management, or turning ugly into pretty I think I'm good at, even if it takes me a few tries to get it right. When it comes to people I usually have a no nonsense approach as in "I feel for ya, but put on your big girl panties and buck up." lol

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  11. Sometimes I feel this intense urge to "create" or "produce" something, so I find a healthy baked good to make for the kids or an easy DIY craft project. It's easy to feel guilty about spending the time on those things, but when you look at it through this lens, it turns it into something positive. So, thanks.

    I'm also a wicked good organizer/sorter. I have a good spatial sense of how things can fit together in a useful way. Just do NOT ask me to clean the shower/tub. That's the worst! :)

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  12. All I ask is if you do go back to the retail world, you give your talents to Crate and Barrel or Anthropologie (and give me your employee discount).

    My "thing" is two things: tossing/purging/donating anything and everything in our house so we have almost zero clutter, and laundry. I love doing laundry (probably because nobody has more than 20ish items of clothes in their inventory.)

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  13. It took me ten years of marriage to realize that I get an intense sense of well being from an overflowing grocery cart. If we have enough food in the house, I'm happy. So, I'm pretty good at feeding people. Also, I really love reading to my kids. Good idea Dwija, this is one of the most positive comment boxes I've seen in a long time! Way to go good mamas!

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  14. I am good at filling hungry bellies! I love to cook, and entertain, and cooking a good meal for friends and family, and sitting down to eat it with them, always brings me joy. And pie! I'm really good at making pie!

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  15. I love this post! You spoke right to my heart. I like what you are good at. On a smaller scale, since we have limited space, I make sure we are always stocked up and ready to rock. It gives me a sense of peace! Truly.

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  16. This is the happiest combox I've seen in a loooooooong time. As someone who's not a mom or homemaker just yet I'll have to give some thought to what my Thing might be (other than maybe disinfecting - kill all the germs!) but I absolutely love this post.

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  17. Love this! Cooking is mine. It took some practice, but I make most of our dinners from scratch. My family eats pretty good. And as long as I don't get interrupted 5,267 times I don't even mind spending the time on it.

    I'm also handy with a sewing machine. Not professional by any means, but I can make pretty quilts and cobble together stuff for costumes pretty easily. I wish I had more time for it, but I fit it in when I can.

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  19. This was a perfect thing for me to read today. I love feeding people. Like, LOVE. Grocery shopping is fun to me (crazy, right?) and making dinner is my favorite part of the day. Whenever you come to my house it may look like a bomb went off, but I'll feed you something yummy so maybe you won't notice. ;)

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  20. Like sometimes I say to my husband "gosh, I'm sorry I didn't get to *insert obscure house cleaning task here* but there just aren't enough hours in the day!" and he looks at me with this "wow, I have no idea whatsoever what you're talking about, but you're pretty and I like you so I hope I say the right thing here..."
    LOL....perfect!

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  21. What a great post! I love keeping my kids healthy and having remedies on hand to keep them out of the doctor's office. And my kids love the bread I make. I hate cleaning, but I am great at making them do it! :-)

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  22. cooking, meal planning,,,,no leftovers or produce shall rot in my house, lol

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  23. Making budgets, and cooking/baking. So, basically, allocate all the monies to food and cook said food, repeat. :)

    Thanks for this!

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  24. ooh, ooh, I know this one!!!! Finally, something I am truly great at! And, if you want to verify, Please feel free to ask Jeff, he'll totally confirm it!! Ready? Running the cars out of gas and not refueling them because they say there are 4 miles left in the tank and I can get to the closest gas station in just about 4 miles. I am especially good at this on Saturday so Sunday after mass we must go straight to the gas station. I also plan well for this when we are running late, (you know me, I'm almost always late!)
    Anyway, there ya have it! My gift to my family!
    ps: I have also been know to "steal" gas from the lawnmower tank to make it to the gas station...

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    1. Oops, apparently I forgot to sign Em out, but this comment was brought to you by Virg

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  25. I feel like my talents seem to exist in all the non-cleaning things (it would probably be sewing if I had to pick one). I think this is such a good idea, because the cleaning related things can totally get me down. Although I did realize the other day that if I come out and start scrubbing things the kids all think it's the greatest thing ever and join in. However something tells me the novelty of it will probably wear off in less than a week if day time scrubbing becomes a regular occurrence.

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  26. Oh fun!! What lovely comments to read!

    Purging all the things. Laundry. Turning leftovers into something new and delightful. De-cluttering. Keeping the kitchen counters clean and wiped off.

    Is someone out there good at scrubbing showers? Cause I would totally trade you some time doing any of the above for a good shower scrub.

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  27. Thank you for writing this; it was so good to read today! And, you are so, so right! I'm good at cooking yummy things. It makes me so happy to sit down to eat with my family with food that we're all excited to eat!

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  28. This is a wonderful post, and this: "I want to think I ought to ask if that's sad, but I just don't think it is." - might be one of my favorite sentences ever. I only have two little-little ones, and currently also work outside the home (may change in the future), but amidst my many shortcomings I generally rock doing the whole house's laundry and keeping the dirty dish quotient at a minimum, with no dishwasher ... Thanks for reminding me I'm not substandard at all of The Things! :)

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  29. A friend was a buyer for Williams Sonoma and it was always so fun to hear how she figured out what to get. Also ridiculous, because that catalogue is like the silliest ever, but still really fun.
    I guess I'm good at cooking dinner and reading stories to my kids. My husband is really good at including our son in tasks -- like helping cook or clean.

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    1. Language/laughter warning: http://theconcourse.deadspin.com/the-2014-haters-guide-to-the-williams-sonoma-catalog-1667452305

      Hilarious take on the frivolous stuff in the catalog. But I will admit, I received the cupcake mix for Christmas and nearly choked to death eating them so fast. Amazing.

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  30. oh my goodness moms should do a little skill share! I'd gladly cook people some meals, fold their laundry into beautifully uniform squares or read to their little ones if only someone would come over and make my place look less shabby and cluttered and more decorated. That, I am realizing is my not so secret dream.

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  31. Now, this is fun! What a great post! Let's see, I think I'm pretty darn good at planning and organization. People are usually shocked that dinner is on the table at 5 pm every night in this house. That's because I plan--from the menu, to the ingredients, to what time each aspect must be started to be ready at 5. I run our homeschool that way too, and I'm sure that is the reason we are all finished with school by noon each day.

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  32. I like to fix things, organize things, keep my family clothed from the thrift store, and bake wonderful desserts. I don't love to cook regular food or deal with clutter. I hate putting things away even though I love to organize. So if I wait until it's a mess, I'll hit that closet with joy! This is so fun!

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  33. I am good at making the house a "pretty home". I work a 40 hour week and there is no time for good cleaning every day, and although I am a damn good cook, I pretty much hate it now that I HAVE to cook as a wife/mom. I also really love the "nice" grocery store instead of the cheap one, so I don't always stretch a dollar that well. But I CAN make any room look straight out of Better Homes and Gardens with some paint and thrift store scores :-)

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  34. I'm good at the whole meal planning & cooking thing while staying on a budget. Also? We are the family that is always on time. I just know when we have to leave to be somewhere, including that "extra" time you always seem to need because someone has to pee...

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  35. Ohmigosh THANK YOU for this post. Of course I feel like a failure at this mothering thing! I'm constantly thinking "If only I could keep the clutter under control and dust once in a while, THEN I would be a good homemaker," and when I see the dust bunnies under the bed and the piles of stuff on the kitchen island, I sigh and feel defeated. However, I am good on staying on top of laundry. My family seldom runs out of essentials. That is something, I suppose. Thank you again.

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