The dog days of summer are in full swing around here. Those weeks when camps have ended and my Facebook feed is full of adorable first day of school photos and the sweaters on display at the mall signal that school and fall and pumpkin spice everything season is just around the corner. That magical (read: NOT MAGICAL) time of year when as a working mom things get a little bit…tricky.
Luckily, as a social media manager in a department of ONE, almost all of the work I do can be done with little more than a laptop. I am what you’d consider a work-from-the-office mom *and* a work-at-home-office mom as I do have some flexibility to do my work from either location. But, here’s the truth. When I go in to work at the office, I’m leaving my kids at home to fend for themselves, which I don’t like. I’m fielding calls every half hour about who is breathing on who and who is standing too close to who and who is not listening and who won’t take the dog out and who is THE ACTUAL WORST. When I work from my home office, I have three kids at home who want rides and to arrange playdates and to be fed all the livelong day (seriously, why are they always hungry?) and to “just look at me mama as I try on every single bathing suit in my closet!”
I am operating at half-mast in both of my jobs, the mom job and the actual job.
“Send the kids to me!” she says, every single year, during these dog days. She is a great sister, but on any given year she lives in Reno or New York or Nashville or Perth or Seattle, and she has a job and responsibilities and pets. And I’m not one to ask for help. (It’s a problem, I know, and I’m working on it.) But, this year, I called her bluff and said yes, I would be sending a 12-year-old boy to her for a week and please take care of him and don’t worry he is hearty and unbreakable and if you stuff him full of burgers and sushi and listen to him when he rambles about football and remind him that he needs to shower he will be just fine.
It’s funny because as the child of divorced parents, my sister and I were pinballed across the USA from a very young age. 5, I’m pretty sure. We were traveling on planes from Milwaukee to Atlanta and from Atlanta to Milwaukee the way some kids go to the park. We had a collection of wing pins and knew the unaccompanied drill. My son at 12 is the first of my children to fly alone, and even though he’s no stranger to flying, alone in a post-9/11 world is different, scarier. I remember my mom walking me onto the actual airplane and essentially tucking me in for my flight, but now you need forms and permissions and my baby would have to figure out how to go through customs on his own and decide whether or not to check his bag or stow it and he’d have to find the gate and make sure he got onto the right airplane and not end up lost in New York like Kevin from Home Alone 2.
But last night I got the call. The flight was great. I wasn’t nervous for even a single second. They gave me earbuds and snacks. I love you. Bye.
Funny, I thought his bar mitzvah this coming November was going to be the defining moment of 2015 for my boy.
But no. As usual, I was wrong.