Summer vacation approaches. And by “vacation” I don’t really mean “vacation.” It’s more like summer break only it’s not really a break for me. In fact, I’d like to rename it Summer NoBreak, because it’s that time of year that we are all here in this house together all the time. All. The. Time.
I work from home, remember? So, working at home while all the kids are frolicking and getting on each other’s nerves is like working in the midst of a mosh pit. I should get hazard pay. I should get a set of those Bose earphones that claim to block noise . . . and a nifty set of blinders, the kind that horses wear so I can focus on my job without losing my mind.
It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with my precious children, these adorable creatures that God entrusted to me. It’s just that I can only take so much. My oldest children are 17 and ever since they arrived, I’ve been a stay-at-home mother. I’ve been here, present in body, if not in mind and spirit. Seventeen years is a long time.
Of course, I totally regret my inattentiveness throughout the years. Why can’t I just pay more attention? Why can’t I soak in the moments around me? Why is my mind constantly straining to get away from wherever I am?
I’ll tell you. Because hanging out with kids twenty-four hours a day is boring. I was bored with it even when I was a kid! Why do you think I read so much? Also? Kids are loud, at least my kids are. My kids are not sequential, they do not care one whit about order or neatness and none of them has learned to bake cookies or iron pants. (I blame myself.)
I miss school, my own personal school days. When you’re in school, you know exactly where you stand. Each test gets a grade. You find out mid-semester if you’re passing. If you’re me, you get gold stars and 100% scores and you know that you are doing a mighty fine job. You get feedback.
But if you’re a mom, all you know is that your kids still don’t carry their dishes to the sink. They drop their dirty clothes right next to the hamper. They bicker and make each other cry. The feedback you get comes in the form of slamming doors and snotty remarks.
With that echoing in your ears, you hope you’re doing all right, but how can you really know? You cross your fingers and compare yourself to really bad parents on the news just to make yourself feel better.
So, while I wait for time to pass and for my final grade to come, I am going to focus on the positives.
In this case, that means this summer I’m finally going to get enough sleep . . . for the first time in seventeen years, all my kids are old enough to either sleep in (yes, Teenagers, I’m talking about you) or let me sleep in without waking me every ten minutes just to see when I plan to wake up.
All the same, Summer NoBreak is coming and I have mixed feelings about that.