The kids are back in school, and it’s time to play a little Things to Do Now That the Kids are Back in School bingo!
Do you remember an impossibly long time ago in June? Don’t worry. I’m not asking for specifics. (I’m not a sadist after all.) I mean, do you remember that general feeling of just barely keeping it together for the last month of school? The school lunches that veered closer and closer into “might be getting a concerned call from the school” territory; those “just make it through for a few more weeks” deals you made with yourself and your kids in an effort to make it to the prize: summer vacation!
As a work-from-home parent, I recognize I have a lot more flexibility than many. If you are a mama who takes her kids to day care, Grandma’s house or a variety of day camps all summer, your summer schedule maybe didn’t look so radically different from what you did during the school year, but even then, that school-free vibe means you can likely still identify with that summer feeling of pressure released.
For a while, it was glorious.
Well, then summer happened. Two months of constant demands to take me somewhere, do something, change the DVD, make him stop kicking me, are we out of Popsicles already, who is this kid in the backyard, has anyone seen the dog, why is there so much sand in my foyer?
I was exhausted. My work and housework piled up. I needed my kids back in school. That June brink-of-nervous-breakdown went on hiatus for July, but by mid-August, she had reared her ugly head. Making lunches and 7 a.m. wake-up calls started to look like symptoms of a well-ordered life, not the impossible demands they had seemed six short weeks before.
Now we are back to the daily grind, and I’m not going to lie. A part of me, a large part of me, is very happy to have a few golden hours each day to write and to pull my house back into the very loose semblance of order I usually maintain.
So join with me, if you will, in a little Things to Do Now the Kids are Back in School bingo, first blackout wins!
1. Chip the layers of Popsicle drips off the floor by the patio door
Two months of practice, and I still didn’t get into the habit of getting the kids to put their shoes on before I handed them the Popsicles, resulting in a game of kids balancing on one foot to put shoes on while waving the quickly melting frozen treats around like demented Harry Potter impressionists. Busting up those layers of drips is going to take a jackhammer, I’m afraid.
2. Choke the vacuum with half a playgrounds’ worth of sand
Honest to God, the sand! I encourage my kids to play at playgrounds covered in wood chips or that rubbery foam stuff made from old tires or whatever. I stand with my arms crossed in the doorway, protecting the foyer like the cruelest Shawshank Redemption prison guard, demanding they empty their shoes before they cross the threshold, but still those little grains of horror make their way in and terrorize me.
3. Make & drink a cup of coffee within one hour
I make a cup then get distracted (probably by mountains of sand and requests for Popsicles) or realize I am not going to get through my coffee, so I put the half-finished mug in the fridge, then forget and make another. Eventually, I find the partially finished cups and microwave them back to life. This time of year is time for a new me, though. I am going to make and drink a cup of coffee within one hour. Are you up for the challenge?
4. Fold laundry while catching up on (violent &/or swear-y) TV shows
Sorry, SpongeBob. Mama still hasn’t gotten through Breaking Bad. [Note: No extra points awarded for putting the laundry away. Just let it live on top of the dresser until the kids grow out of the clothes.]
5. Finally recycle all those nasty, broken-down sandals
They were worn every day, in every weather and on every terrain. Face it. They are never going to last another season, and they shouldn’t be in your house for “just in case.” Call your nearest toxic waste disposal and be free of them.
6. De-stickify any three walls
I just want to lean against a wall and not be stuck there by… I’m not sure what, exactly. Gum? Tree sap? Industrial-grade silicon?
7. Track down what that awful smell is
Was there an animal in here? Is it a “treasure” in someone’s pocket? Maybe it was those sandals?
8. Feel a little lost in the quiet…
… and spare a wistful moment for the things you meant to do this summer. (Maybe even miss your kids a little. You know you are going to eventually.)
Happily sip an afternoon glass of wine. Three o’clock is coming, Mama!
How are you doing now that the back-to-school rush is over? Are you still enjoying the stability of a new year’s routine? For now, I am. I mean, of course I am still trying to cram way too much into too little time. My house is still a mess, and it is just a different version of overwhelmed I am feeling but … aaahhh. At least it is my usual feeling of overwhelmed… until I start craving Christmas vacation.
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