Hubby and I were watching a “behind the scenes” type show about the cruise ship industry. They were talking about the tons of food that is prepared and consumed on each cruise, how much fuel is burned each day, and how many crewmembers working ten hour shifts for seven days in a row it takes to make the cruisers’ vacations magical. As the credits rolled, hubs said, “Can you imagine doing all that work every week, and then you just start all over again the next week?”
“Hmmm,” I answered. “Kind of like being a mom.” Hubs seemed bewildered.
I’ve often lamented the fact that motherhood is not your typical project-based type job. Even though I love being a mom, I struggle with the monotonous redundancy of many of my duties. But, thanks to hubby’s comment, now I just convince myself that I’m on a cruise ship in some faraway exotic place. Because Motherhood IS like a Cruise. Come aboard. We’re expecting you.
First, let’s check out our little cruisers’ cabins. Yes, everything is smaller than normal, and once the little mateys get all their stuff in there, it seems a bit claustrophobic. But don’t worry! No matter how messy it gets, I’ll come and clean it up. Some cruisers like to snack in their beds and/or forget to wear a pull up. No problem. I LOVE changing sheets every day. The toilets are a little on the small side too, so don’t worry if you miss. I’ll clean it up. It’s my job, apparently.
Now we’ll head up to the main deck to explore dining options. Oh no! Our little cruisers don’t want to eat what we have on the menu in our sit-down restaurant! Well, luckily, I can open up the buffet at a moment’s notice. I cook a little bit of everything so that no one has to starve to death. Our waste storage on the ship is limited, so I’ll just eat anything the cruisers don’t want.
Our at-sea days can be rough, being stuck on the boat all day with nothing to do besides eat at the buffet and play with the thousands of dollars of toys, games, books, and art supplies we stock. Sometimes cruisers manage to keep themselves busy in the state-of-the art theater room watching movies and playing xbox Kinect, or utilizing the multiple computer kiosks, hand held gaming systems, and tablets that we provide. However, I always have exciting and new activities on hand for when someone gets overwhelmed by their lack of responsibility and obligation.
Port days are much more stimulating. On these days, cruisers greet me in the lobby, still in their pajamas, wanting to know where I will be taking them for their excursions. Depending on the season and the location, I offer all sorts of adventure: underwater exploration, nature hikes, guided tours and sightseeing, cultural immersion, museum visits, sporting events, and local cuisine. Occasionally a cruiser will decide they want to go it alone. That’s fine too. Just as with any other cruise line, I simply remind them that if they don’t get back to the boat on time, I WILL LEAVE WITHOUT THEM. (Although I never really do for fear of litigation.)
Lots of things on our ship happen behind the scenes. No one really knows where the food or the clean towels are stored. They have no idea how many plastic cups we go through a day. I just kind of squeeze in activities like washing, cleaning, and food prep when no one is looking. It’s like I’m magically invisible. No one has to think twice about the little details of the day. Things just happen seamlessly.
You might be surprised to learn that I don’t get paid a lot for my work here on the boat. The cruise company provides my room and board and a decent amount of spending money that I mostly use to keep the cruisers happy. But, it’s my choice to work this job, and although it sounds crazy, I love it. The cruisers are fickle, but a lot of the time they hug me and kiss me and tell me that I’m the best cruise director ever. That means more to me than any amount of money. Plus, I get to sleep with the ship’s captain.
Note: If this post seems a little familiar to you, then THANK YOU! – you’ve been reading my blog for a long time! I originally wrote this post in 2012 as a guest post for another blog, but that blog has been retired from the internet, so I’m recycling it here for your enjoyment. Happy Cruising!