I am so grumpy here all of a sudden. I am biting heads off like a lurking snapping turtle cruising for random toes dangling in the water. Any victim will do.
And I just realized why — tomorrow morning my kids are not going to school. Summer’s here. I am happy that we will be on vacation and have a lot of fun-filled days planned for the kids. I love being a mom and spending time with my kids. I look forward to summer and get excited about the last day of school, too. So why the dread?
Well, because it is hard enough to find time for myself when they are at school 6-7 hours a day and now they will be with me constantly. It will be like perpetual weekend. Sounds good, right? Except that I always breathe a sigh of relief on Sunday nights because I have been going all out for 48 hours and Monday morning is when I catch my breath. I can go to the gym, call a friend, go for coffee. Hell, let’s get real: I can just empty the dishwasher and re-load it and wash all the dishes that have been piling up on the counters since Friday. Then do laundry, buy groceries, make beds, pick up clutter, sort closets, etc., etc., etc.,
You see, we have a bad system here that totally relies on kids being out of the house for a chunk of the day. The grown-ups in this house do no housework over the weekend. Also, once dinner is made and eaten, it is very unlikely that any of the grown-ups will do anything resembling a household chore. Originally, this system of running our household started because I noticed that once my husband was home from work, he is in relax-o mode. He gets to sit down, chat, look at his computer, go on the internet, watch sports, whatever he wants! Since he was not really able to be flexible in this for whatever reason, I decided that I would also be off the clock. So, we sit around doing nothing all evening! Just chatting and wasting time online, watching a show or a movie. It’s great! And the same thing is true on the weekends: Charlie does nothing, therefore, I do nothing. It saves a lot of resentment. And if he actually does something like set the table or unload the dishwasher or help with homework, or chauffeur kids around, I am really grateful.
Living in this house is pretty sweet, because there are no chores. We all have our jobs during the day:
- Charlie: go to work and earn an income
- Kids: go to school and extra-curriculars
- Aerin: take care of the house (i.e., do all the chores) and then be on what I call the “kid shift” from 2:30 to 8:30 pm.
So the problem is that when the kid shift expands from dawn till dusk, the chores take a serious hit. Prepare to be surrounded by clutter, dirty dishes, and unfolded laundry. Plus, all the bits of “me” time I have scheduled in, like going to the gym, occasionally seeing a friend for a quiet coffee, maybe some yoga or a run, all seem to be things of the past (and not-so-distant future). So, yeah, I guess I am grumpy.
I can just hear all the working moms out there pshawing my worries about this transition and I know it’s a nice problem to have (luckily most of mine are that kind and I know it!) but it must be easier if you have the same job all year. I mean, you just sign them up for camp or hire a babysitter or drop them off at the grandparents instead of the school and life goes on much as before … here we are dealing with a major change in routine. And I am not that good at change.
Oh well. Summer is short — I am just going to enjoy it and chores be damned!
By the way, this was my first post under my new pseudonym. Blogging anonymously is actually a lot easier, so I can now release my inner opinionated woman. Any of you who have followed me prior to this know my real identity and I hope you don’t mind going along with me on this … thanks for reading!
It is not wrong to say that the end of the school year is the end of your life, but it might be a bit…dramatic 🙂
But I hear you and the assignment of chores and duties in the household. It is very hard. I, too, have been struggling with resentment. This past year, I decided to stop worrying about how many nights I was home late from work, after all Tim doesn’t worry about it? He would say yes to things, I would say no, because I knew HE had said yes to something and that would mean too many nights we were not home together! So I have tried following his lead, and saying “yes” if I want too. It did help with the resentment. But I don’t think it has really worked for our family. Sigh….back to drawing board. Surely there has to be some sort of happy medium for both of us? Both partners will regress to the mean at some point, right?
Ha ha — you’re right it is dramatic, but I was following someone’s very helpful (!) advice to just hit “Post” without going back and re-reading too much!
This is really well written!! Thanks for sharing. I also feel overwhelmed by having kids around 24-7 during the summer months. Quiet time is so essential to my overall well being and it is definitely challenging to get it in without feeling guilty.
How does Jennifer manage to do yoga and let the kids paint on the carpet without losing her zen? That is something to strive for.