June 21 12

Just thinking about the upcoming summer is giving me some sort of awesome-looking hive-rash. And it’s not just because it’s, like, 100 degrees outside (which I love) and 100 degrees inside (which I loathe…but thanks to a lovely man named Morry, but air-conditioning woes should soon be a thing of that past and you all can rest assured that I will find something else to kvetch about on Twitter).

Today is my kids’ last full day of school—tomorrow is a half day, which means at noon, I will have three kids who are super, super excited to be done with school and will be angels for about eight minutes until they realize that they are bored to tears and want me to entertain them. Ahh…this is when working from your home office goes from bliss to, um, miss. And I get it, I really do. Mama being at home means exactly one thing to my children—Mama is available for ME and ME ALONE.

For Emily, it means a chauffeur and a hidden chaperone. At age 11, she is testing her independence boundaries, and I’m not quite ready to bite…just yet. She wants to do things with her friends and she wants to do them without adult supervision, but I’m just not ready to allow her to go to the mall alone or to go to Canada’s Wonderland with her friend’s 22-year-old sister. Do you have any idea how much easier my life would be if I could? It wouldn’t mean spending two hours on a Sunday sitting in the mall food court, nursing a coffee as big as my head while I continually text my daughter to make sure she’s not getting talked to by the crazy people who tend to loiter around malls. I mean, our mall is for home to a bearded man who parades around in a giant pink tutu.

For Joshua, it means teacher and assistant. He wants help figuring out something in the book he’s reading. He wants to look up how gelatin is made. He wants help with his swing. He wants help on his bike. He wants to learn a cool, new move on his skateboard. He wants to ride around the block on his scooter. He wants to ask me a million and a half questions about LOST. He wants to explain something about skylanders.

For Isabella, it means the DIY master. “Can we do melty beads? Can you iron my melty beads? Can you put your finger right here so I can take up this project? Can we practice with fondant? Can you teach me how to knit or sew or crochet? Let’s use the easy-bake oven! Wanna make shrinky-dinks. OOOOh! I know. How about play-doh.” God help me if this child asks for MOON SAND.

My job is a dream, really.

I can work without pants on. I drink bottomless coffee. I can eat peanut m&ms and leftover movie popcorn for lunch if I want to. My commute is only as long as it takes for me to get from my bed to my desk. I can re-watch an episode of Mad Men while I edit away. I can take my laptop out onto my wrap-around porch and people-watch while I work. My meetings are on skype, so no one even notices if I run out to refill my tea. I’m twelve times more productive than I ever was in an office environment.

But my kids don’t get it.

To them, Mama home means that Mama is home.

To them, Daddy at the office means that Daddy is working.

This makes sense to them.

This whole business of working from home seems, to them, like just a clever way for me to get more screen time. “How come YOU get to spend the day playing on the computer and we only get ONE HOUR on the ipad?”

Playing. I love that they think I’m playing on the computer when I’m writing, editing, curating, hiring, creating, assigning, brainstorming, building, checking, researching, approving, fixing, helping, publishing.

I hope one day they will realize that I do these things for two reasons.

For me. I work because I love to work. I love it, and I make no apologies for it. I’m good at what I do. It makes me—and my creative brain—incredibly happy and gives me a great sense of fulfillment.

For them. I work because I want to be able to be a better chaperone, a better teacher and assistant, and a better DIY master. I think I’d be pretty lousy at all of those things if I didn’t work.

I hope they’ll realize it.

On a day that they aren’t bored to tears.

  1. Ohhh… now I’m getting scared that if I don’t find a new job in a few months… then I’ll have to deal with this, too! 😉
    No, really. I will be taking off three days a week in July and August since my caregivers are all going spend the summer in Greece (sniff). So yeah. I’ll be missing the school days and working in my office probably somewhere around the third week of July!
    By the way, Joshua and Isabella, mix them together, and you have my two boys. I seriously can’t even like, type a word on my laptop if they’re home with me!

    Comment by Loukia on June 21, 2012
  2. Sleep over camp. Three most excellent words. They’re never too young.

    Comment by mara on June 21, 2012
  3. They are all going to camp (one at overnight…two at day camps)…but mostly I’m thinking about the time when they have nothing…between when school ends and camp starts…between camp sessions etc.

    Comment by ali on June 21, 2012
  4. I think my mom probably worked out of the office mostly to not hear the “I’m bored” of summer vacation. And if she did, she sent us to the pool down the street. 🙂

    I miss all of you!

    Comment by Kristabella on June 21, 2012
  5. What, you can’t juggle all that? Pssshhhh.

    You should send the kids to my house and I’ll corral them in the backyard with a bouncy castle and an endless supply I craft materials. I figure they can all work it out, Lord of the Flies style.

    Then, we drink coffee and type.

    Comment by Alex on June 21, 2012
  6. This is the best idea ever.

    Comment by alimartell on June 21, 2012
  7. Ugh – yes. This. I feel your pain. I envy my husband, who gets to go to an office and work without distraction.

    Comment by Kristen Howerton on June 21, 2012
  8. Some days I feel more like a referee than a mom, those days I really miss my office. Then I remember that one time when half of my co-workers played the “let’s give Jen the silent treat and freeze her out game” (I don’t miss it so much then). I think it’s almost worse for you since you can’t throw your kids in their beds/cribs for 3 hours in the afternoon and declare it nap time.

    Also, when I come, I request a visit to the mall so a) you can shop for me and b) to see the man in the tutu. I’m equally excited about both.

    Comment by Jen on June 21, 2012
  9. I’ve been thinking the exact same thoughts as the last day of school approaches. Oh, and moon sand? Just no.

    Comment by Tamara on June 21, 2012
  10. Funny I remember the days when we were kids and we’d leave in the morning and be back before supper! I’d ride my bike to the stable (4 miles and across a highway) from about age 9 on and just spend my days there (I guess in fact it was free day camp ha ha).

    I’m lucky to have a job 10 mins from home and 20 hrs a week .. drop my son at his swim lessons and swim team .. and get there at 1pm in time to hang on the beach. I agree, if I was working from home it would be IMPOSSIBLE to work with him home.

    Hopefully you can use those weeks in between camp sessions to just enjoy some time with them!

    Comment by Sarah on June 22, 2012

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