While I think of myself as an at-home mom, the truth is I am a work-at-home parent. During the school year, just like my at-home counterparts, I do a little housework the minute my kids leave for school in the morning, but after that I can’t hit the bon-bons and chat shows. Nope. When the kids are gone, I have to get to work.
Many days I am on the phone and at the laptop the whole time my girls are at school, taking a little time out for laundry and to change out of my jammies, lest the UPS man happen by and catch me all a-fright.
So, what happens to parents like me when the end-of-school day bell rings for the last time in June?
Well, it can be a little rough.
Up until the last day of school, the biggest obstacle to getting my work done was my dog, Q.T. A few weeks back I had to interrupt a telephone interview with a gentleman to prevent Q.T. from consuming the contents of a tube of toothpaste he was chewing enthusiastically.
Now, if I had been interviewing the president, I could have let Q.T. take his chances with Colgate. Whatever happened, at least he would have had shiny white teeth and fresh breath.
The kids? You can’t just let them chew the tube. You have to supervise.
Now that it’s summer, I have Suzi. I can tell my impetuous little dear a dozen times that "Mommy has to talk to someone on the phone so everybody has to be quiet for a few minutes," or "Mommy has a big deadline tomorrow and needs to concentrate." But if something bothers Suzi, she wants Mom Services now! She will not be stopped from screaming or demanding to see me immediately – whether I’m sitting at the kitchen table waving my arms at her to shush, or barricaded in my bedroom with two dressers pushed up against the door.
Suzi must be heard!
The summer may be less challenging with my older daughter. These days Patti, my tween, loves to make herself scarce. She has figured out that if she stays just outside of my line of sight, I won’t look at her and remember a chore I wanted her to do. Smart girl. But the challenge is, like a twist on the Nanny McPhee line, the less your kids think they need you, the more they really do. So now is hardly the time to let my 10-year-old run wild.
Sure I would love to chuck all the work and devote myself to making my girls’ summer a rewarding and educational one. I’d love to travel all over and tutor them four hours a day. And I will do my best. But the economic reality is Mommy needs to work. And that makes for bored, sometimes ignored kiddos.
Well, I know I’m not the only parent fearing the long days of summer that lie ahead and all the challenges that they’ll bring.
But at least there are some wonderful things about summer vacation…
I get to reconnect with my girls, who have started calling me by their teachers’ names (!).
The weather is wonderful.
We get to sleep in.
No more 40 pages of assorted papers coming home every week.
No more packing lunches.
Our summer trip is coming up.
And school starts in just 70 days (gulp).