School vacation is upon us which means many home office workers across the country are developing the low-grade headache they’ll nurse for the next 10 weeks and hiding their office supplies. Not me. A few years ago my kids finally lost interest in me, my work space and all the stuff in it and I couldn’t be happier.
I can understand why post it notes are so irresistible to kids. Kids like stickers and post it notes are nothing more than make-your-own stickers. But file folders? Scotch tape? Business cards with someone else’s name on them? Why?!
And, yes, the office chair has wheels and swivels and if I twirl you around you will get dizzy but we’ve already done that 7 times today. Please, I’m begging you, go play.
Of course, yes, I love my kids. Always have, always will. But it’s hard to write in five minute increments between driving one kid to camp over there and the other kid to camp over there and finding swim suits and towels and slathering on sun tan lotion and then looking for swim goggles in the playroom only to discover…my post it notes!
Every summer from kindergarten to 6th grade there were two to four glorious weeks of all day camp but other than that I was either with the kids and feeling guilty about not working or working and feeling guilty about ignoring the kids. After a two or three summers of yelling and scolding my way through whatever work hours I could scrounge up, I began devising solutions.
- One summer I didn’t even attempt to work during the day and began working after dinner. This made me grouchy and bitter.
- The next summer I just didn’t work. I finished up a bunch of projects in early June and then gave myself a few weeks off. It was nice but when September rolled around, I felt like I was starting my business all over again. After two unpaid months I spent another unpaid month gearing back up.
- The next few summers I worked but took on fewer projects. That was a little better, maybe the best it could be at the time, but September still hit hard and it was impossible to recoup any losses.
There were other coping mechanisms. My mother-in-law sent
the kids a big box of their own office supplies one year. That kept them out of my stash but the house was covered in tape and post it notes – almost literally.
Play dates gave friends a chance to work when their kids were here and I worked
when my kids were somewhere else. Things got done but the logistics were add overhead.
That’s all behind me now.
I can hit my stride on a project and keep going until it’s
done. If there are projects to be done in July and August, sign me up. In fact,
these days, a really busy summer can lead to a more leisurely fall.
Better yet, all of our parental attempts at setting
boundaries and instilling respect for others seem to have paid off. The other
night, my daughter came into the office to print her history paper and, noting
that she’d emptied the paper tray, refilled it. She refilled it.
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