As much I love the summer…the sun when it shines warm and bright, all the wonderful fruits and vegetables that you can get in abundance at the Farmer’s Markets, picnics and barbecues, swimming, walking and bike riding at the Bay…my least favorite thing about summer is the kids being home from school. In my case – with three teenage boys – the days go something like this:
They sleep all day because the house is peaceful and quiet. Around noon they get up and immediately I start getting text messages, “What can I eat?” which by the way seems to be the prevailing theme of summer. They snack all the time. Even though I have left a note on the kitchen counter with their chores listed they often wait until right before they know their Dad will be home before doing them and they certainly don’t do anything more than what was asked. They play video games, computer games, myspace, download anime, listen to music, watch movies and on the occassion I actually discover that one of them has read all afternoon. When they know I am about twenty minutes from home I start getting phone calls, “What’s for dinner Mom?”, “Can you bring us home a Gatorade or a bag of chips?”, “When you get home can we go….”
I walk in the door and inevitably see ground zero or as I refer to it, my kitchen. Dishes and glasses everywhere…wrappers from packages they have opened. Crumbs on the counter top, trash can overflowing (if it wasn’t one of the items on the chore list for the day) Invariably my husband has rushed home and gotten on the computer because he is taking online classes at the college right now and is completely oblivious to the mess around him.
I get bombarded the second I walk in the door with all the questions my kids didn’t text or call me with during the course of my working day. My theory is to not engage with them until I have to. I put my stuff down, kiss my husband hello and ignoring the barage of questions or comments head straight to my room. It’s my sanctuary and I spend as much time as possible changing out of my work clothes into comfy clothes, washing the makeup off my face..pretty much anything to allow me to stay in the relative peacefulness of my room as long as I can.
When I exit my room I’ve made the mental switch from work to mom. I tell the kids they can talk to me in the kitchen. I spend twenty minutes picking my kitchen back up while the kids sit at the kitchen counter and talk my ear off. When they have run out of steam and are ready to go back to video games my kitchen is clean and dinner is going. I’ve become a master at cooking and cleaning as I go. Amazingly enough my kids haven’t figured out how much I get them to while we talk in the kitchen either.
When dinner is done and my husband is done with his class and homework everything settles down. Because we both have to get up really early we generally are in bed by 9. Sometimes 10. Of course that is the middle of our kids day. They are raring to go and end up staying up all night. Last night – point of example – at midnight I got up and had to tell the kids to be quiet so we could sleep and then again at one. It doesn’t make for a good night of rest. Before you know it we have to get up and the house is clean, peaceful and quiet and we start the routine all over again.
When does school start again? When do we get back to a routine that leaves my house clean and my sanity in tact? I love summer…I really do but I don’t enjoy the chaos that summer brings with my kids having no real daily structure and no reason to go to bed before the wee hours of the dawn. Myabe I should move somehwere warm so I can enjoy the weather year round and not lump the nice weather with summer break.