p(image-left). !/assets/26010/msteadman.jpg(Maraya Steadman)! Some days when I get to feeling sorry for myself and the fact that I don’t have a job I can escape to, a place where I can away from all these kids every once in awhile, I start to dream about having a cubicle or a desk drawer where I can find a pair of scissors and a roll of Scotch tape. One of the occupational hazards of being a stay-at-home mother is not having any office supplies. My furniture gets decorated with Sharpie markers my preschooler takes out of my desk, my scissors are always missing so I use steak knives to separate the part I’m supposed to sign from the part I’m supposed to read on all the Girl Scout permission slips, and I never have any Scotch tape. It doesn’t matter how much I buy, I still never have any. I typically buy about six rolls at time figuring my kids might take pity on me and leave me a couple slivers on the sixth roll, but they don’t. I also hide it really high up in the kitchen cabinets where the kids won’t see it and can’t find it, until they see me use it and then they know it’s up there. Then the next time I hire a babysitter, they’ll punish me for it by mounting some stealth mission in the dead of night that involves broken spy gear, the steppy stool and their robot claw, and they’ll take my tape. And there I am wrapping birthday presents in duct tape again. Where does it all go? Some of it gets used to tape Pokemon cards to the bedroom walls, some of it gets used to tape 16 rolls of toilet paper to your best friend and turn him into a scary mommy instead of a scary mummy, and some of it is spooled off to make into tape balls that are colored with Sharpie markers. Just the other day I needed Scotch tape to tape a sunshine star to the refrigerator for my son’s gold-star effort at conflict resolution. When his sister went into his room and took one of his favorite toys, he didn’t lose his temper but instead used his words and expressed himself in an appropriate manner. Since I couldn’t find a Sharpie marker I just wrote “Good Job William” in Morse code (I’d learned from the Girl Scouts) by stabbing the star with a steak knife and then went to tape it to the refrigerator. Standing there holding the sunshine star in my fist while searching for the Scotch tape, I started using my words and yelling about this and yelling about that and yelling about you kids always climbing into my kitchen cabinets and into my desk drawer and taking my stuff and where’s my Scotch tape, “Why is it that I never have any Scotch tape!” “It’s okay Mom,” my daughter responded, “you can borrow some of mine.”
_Maraya Steadman, who lives in a Chicago suburb, is a stay-at-home mother of three children. Her website is marayasteadman.com/. Email her at_ "email@example.com":mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.