Monday, May 31, 2010
I know most people hail the beginnings of summer with parties, happy smiles, and lazy days by the pool. As a SAHM, who works with her children at home during the off school hours, I find the unending rush of summer days to be something scary to dread, not celebrate. Yes, as my husband reminds me, I no longer have to drag my carcass and everyone else’s out of bed at 6:30 every morning, but that’s actually part of the problem. I know, other mom’s probably view my attitude like I’m Scrooge at Christmas, but I can’t help it. Let’s take a closer look.
1. No alarm clocks = No schedule.
Yes, I don’t have to roll out of bed at the butt-crack of dawn during June and July, but we also have no discernable schedule for the months of summer. I know, I can hear all of you now yelling that I could create one, but seriously? If someone isn’t telling me things have to be done at a certain time, they can so easily be put off. (Remember, I live a life of prioritizing; if it ain't screaming, it doesn't make the list.) Plus, any schedule we put into practice would be overrun by the trip to Grandma’s house, visiting friends to keep the kids occupied, lack of appointments that need to be kept, RWA National Conference, and visits to local attractions (again to keep the kids occupied). So we get to the end of July and I’m trying to figure out what I actually got accomplished since school got out, besides keeping children occupied.
2. No school = Children home 24/7
I’m not saying that school is a babysitter, but frankly, if they aren’t in school then I could use a nanny. I constantly have kids underfoot while I’m trying to write, do client work, handle business phone calls, and continue to do all those things I do when the kids are usually gone. They may not be working (I consider school to be a kid’s job), but I still have to. My frustration gets out of control pretty quick when I get interrupted every 20 minutes and am now expected to stop and mediate the fights that break out every 10.
3. I’m a Loner
Not only am I an introvert, but I thrive on time by myself. The biggest adjustment for me when I had my first child wasn’t even going without sleep (though that was painful), it was never being alone. Sometimes I felt like I was smothering, and the same is true for summertime. The hubby actually bears the brunt of this problem. I manage all day long, but the minute the kids go to bed, I lock myself in the bedroom and don’t wish to see anyone until daylight. Okay, so this is an exaggeration, but it happens more often than not. Poor guy. I’m sure there are times he wonders how he managed to marry a bear that hibernates in the summertime. :)
4. Battle of the Siblings
I’m a twin, so while I do have a sister, it isn’t like most sibling relationships. Our nearest sibling, a brother, wasn’t born until we turned 18 years old. Although I know that my sister and I fought, especially as teens, it was unusual rather than the norm. But it seems like my children do nothing but fight, and it gets worse the more time they spend together. Apparently I haven’t figured out the secret to sibling management yet. My best tactic is to send them to their separate rooms so we can all have some peace and quiet for a while. Oh, and we do have “rest time” every day of the summer. I require my children to spend an hour every afternoon reading in their beds, so we can have some time out from each other. Plus, it gives me an excuse to make them read while they’re out of school. But not an hour after they’re back up, the bickering starts once more…
So no, summer is not my ideal time of the year. And this year, summer is lasting an extra week longer. Instead of going back to school the first week of August, they won’t return until the second week (I think because of budget cuts). The teenager I hired for the past few summers to keep them for one day a week so I could have a break has moved on to college, and I haven’t been able to find another. This might be a long summer indeed.
So, do you have any suggestions for this grumpy summer bear? I’d especially love any tips on handling the fighting, and keeping them occupied without having to stand over them 24/7 every day.
P.S. Check out the write-up about the Heart of Dixie Romance Readers' Luncheon over on Barbara Vey's blog.