Gray. That’s the color of the sky today, yesterday, and supposedly tomorrow. It was pretty much the color all last week, too, when my kids were off from school for spring break. And the week before that, when they had a late-March snow day.
But all this gray is proving useful for one thing — making me think ahead to summer, when the skies had better be blue. That’s because snow days, spring break and summer all have one thing in common for WAHMs: our kids are around way more than usual.
I’ve developed a rock-solid routine of working nearly non-stop each day while my kids are at school. That means I don’t spend those six hours grocery shopping (relegated to a week night), lunching with friends (well, almost never) or running errands (something I can do with kids in tow). But because I’ve gotten used to focusing so intensely during that time, the avalanche of snow days we endured this winter really knocked my work days off balance.
Ditto for spring break last week. Not that it was unexpected, mind you — it had been on the calendar for months — but as luck would have it, my husband also happened to be away on a business trip all week. So all kid- and house-related duties were mine. As were about 45 or 50 hours of freelancing.
By the end of the week, I’d gotten pretty used to having the kids around while I was working. I took interview calls upstairs, where an errant quarrel between siblings couldn’t be heard, and I learned to put up with regular interruptions when I was writing. It wasn’t so bad, except that it brought a quiet dread about the summer to come.
With me going full-throttle with my freelancing — and happily so — it got me wondering exactly how I will adjust to the constant household hub-bub four kids on summer vacation will bring. Granted, the two oldest boys will have jobs, and my daughter is enrolled in six weeks of day camp and a week of sleep-away. And Son #3 will be gone for two weeks straight with his dad on a grand Boy Scout adventure.
Still . . . there will be more dishes, and more food needed. More commotion. More friends ringing the doorbell. More nights holding dinner waiting for the last kid to trickle in. More . . . everything.
Is this a brand-new challenge? Certainly not. But it changes every year, as my kids and business grow side by side. This summer will require a fresh approach to running such a busy household and a profitable business simultaneously.
How do you plan to cope?