Friday, September 9, 2011

Pour Me a Mimosa, September's Finally Here

Want to feel like the worst mom in history? Talk to someone after September 1st whose face still lights up when she's talking about having her kids home for the summer.
I love my kids. I do. I love having them home. I love making them dinner. I love taking them swimming and hiking and out to the video arcade. I love watching them race go-karts and teach each other how to play chess. And come the end of July my mental clock starts ticking down until the day I get to feed them breakfast, kiss their sweet little faces goodbye, and put them on that big yellow rolling thing that’s going to whisk them away to a full day of education, entertainment and, hopefully, enjoyment…someplace else, for six precious hours a day.
1)      School keeps them busy. Do your kids demand that every second of every minute of every hour of their day be filled with…something? Let me TELL you.
My boys, my boys are happy enough to putter around the house during the day. My daughter’s a whole different story. She’s not happy if she doesn’t have a project in her hands. And since she isn’t always good at coming up with those projects on her own, guess who she counts on to fill her day?
At school she has an entire curriculum sitting there waiting to keep her little hands filled from the time she gets to school until the time she gets back on that bus to come on home, and we’re both okay with that.
2)      Early bedtime. Oh, c’mon. You knew it was coming. We’re all bedtime slackers here. There’s too much to do to put the kids to bed early in the summer, and let’s face it…it’s kind of nice having them sleep in until 8 or 9 for a change!
That said, you gotta get some grown-up time in somewhere. And since I’m the antithesis of a morning person, that “somewhere” is after the kids go to bed at night. Why, last night, after I put the kids to bed, I poured myself a glass of wine, grabbed some chocolate, and…sorted socks. Two months’ worth of socks.
On second thought…'s almost here...
3)  Getting back into a routine. If I wanted to get up every morning, go to work at the same time every day and go to bed at the same time every night, I wouldn’t freelance for a living. Knowing the kids will be in school from 8 am to 2:30 pm every day, however, does wonders for my ability to set up SOME kind of schedule for myself, instead of trying to juggle work, housework and a few hours of sanity around the pool, the library and whenever the heck the kids happen to go to bed.

4)      Step away from the video games. Want to know my guilty little secret? I try and work when the kids are in school or in bed, but I’ve been known to put in my fair share of 10-12 hour days. As a mom whose kids liberally hock giant loogies on the word “nap”, keeping them all occupied long enough for me to write more than 2 or 3 words at a time gets a little tricky.  

I’ve been known to cave, waive video game and television restrictions and let the kids go nuts all day long as long as they’re occupied and out of my hair.

When they’re in school they don’t get home until 3, have at least an hour of homework (yes, all of them), have to eat dinner, take a bath and, somewhere in there, go to dance/band rehearsals/scouts/swimming lessons. Even if I let them spend every free minute they had in an afternoon glued to a video game (which I don’t), they still wouldn’t spend more than an hour or two slow-roasting their retinas in front of the warm glow of their computer screen.

5)      Having them around other kids. I’m not gonna lie. I have an open door policy when it comes to the kids’ friends. They’re happy when there’s a houseful of people, I’m happy when they’re happy, and I have as much of the neighborhood as possible in and out of my house all summer long.

But there are some parents I just don’t know like that-mostly the ones I only see at school functions or Girl Scout dinners. We say hello, but when the kids ask if they can have a sleepover in the middle of July we all get that “deer in the headlights” look as we realize that we have absolutely no idea how to get ahold of each other.

The rejoicing that takes place when these guys get back together in September can make even the best parent feel like Scrooge. Trust me on this one.

What’s your take on going back to school? Throwing a party, or counting down the days until June rolls around again?