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Slacker Mom Vacation Wins

standard February 20, 2015 3 responses

This week was “Ski Week” in our school district, a bizarro break that can always be found somewhere between Winter Break and Spring Break, rumored to have started back when families would literally just head for the hills as soon as the snow got good and the schools started closing to pretend that they were controlling the situation. (OK, I admit I might have started that rumor.)

It’s kind of a joke these days because snow, like rain, has been rather scarce around these parts for the last few years.

In any case, god forbid the children ever have to go to school for more than 6 weeks at a time, and so Ski Week still exists.

And, while last week I had virtually no work to do, this week I was absolutely slammed. Which is awesome when you have two children begging to be entertained.

Even better, after two days of working like crazy and periodically yelling “I sure hope you guys aren’t on the computer again” out of my open office door, C and I came down with a small stomach bug.

She spent an evening throwing up, I spent almost 24 hours sleeping. Which was great, because of all the deadlines I somehow had to meet. For a whole day I alternated between intense writing and equally intense napping.

And that was the day I stopped asking them if they were on the computer or wondering just how many TV shows they’d watched.

Guilt gained ground as the nausea and sleepiness relented and I found myself lamenting my less-than-stellar vacation orchestrating to a friend the next day.

Her reply?

“You know, they’re still better off than the kids who are working in the fields.”

I stopped my whining and thought about it.

Two kids, playing educational games on computers and watching truly harmless TV shows, running around in the sunny backyard, no pressure, no schedule, just unstructured free time. For a week.

If you ask the International Unofficial College of Super Judgy Moms I have completely and utterly failed my kids this week. No educational day trips, no intricate crafts, endless hours where I completely ignored my kids…

If you check my Facebook stream, we have completely and utterly missed the point of Ski Week. Clearly we should have either been on a ski run or on a sandy sunny beach.

But if you ask me or my kids? I think we did this vacation just perfectly. I met all of my deadlines beautifully and my kids are relaxed and recharged and just about bored enough with each other’s  company to almost want to go back to school.

Almost. But they shouldn’t worry too much. They’re off again in 6 weeks and I’m sure I’ll be just as lax about planning anything for them to do and just as busy then as I was this week.


Between then and now nothing and everything has changed

standard March 18, 2011 2 responses

When my babies were little every little thing felt like a massive deal. What to feed them? What diapers to use? Do we sleep train? Do we feed on demand? Dare we hire a sitter?

The details were paramount and filled our days from one end to the other. It felt like we were making massive life altering decisions one after another.

Of course now I know that those decisions were in fact tiny and inconsequential. The only people who were really affected by the outcome was us, the grown-ups, the parents. If the food we chose didn’t agree with their tummies, they’d be a bit cranky for a while and we might lose a night of sleep. In the morning they’d be fine. If we chose a bad diaper, we’d just be stuck with more laundry, more sheets to change. Sleep training made our lives hell for months, but we’re the ones left with the emotional battle scars, neither kid has any lingering memory of the trauma.

Now that they’re bigger we’re still making decisions every single moment of the day. Most are just as inconsequential as before – what’s for dinner, what’s for breakfast, what to wear today – but some, well some are mindblowingly big.

Instead of worrying about diapers and milk, now we worry about making sure the kids are happy, healthy, and developing good self-esteem and values. We worry about their education, their compassion, their exposure to religion and big, scary world events. These issues don’t just color our day to day lives, they’ll impact and color every aspect of their future.

Today making sure the kids are ok goes way beyond keeping their bellies full, their tushies dry, and a smile playing on their faces. And while I know that the decisions we were making when they were infants seemed just as important as the ones we’re making now, I can’t help but feel like there’s more to this stuff.

They won’t remember what kind of formula went into their bottles when mommy’s milk ran out. They will however always have their self-esteem, their values, their ability to handles stress and everything else we can teach them during these key formative years.

When I stop to think about it I hyperventilate a bit. Luckily life never pauses quite long enough for paralysis to set in. I fit these massive, life impacting decisions between the little day-to-day ones and hope in the long-run we’re heading in the right direction.

Then I comb through books like Raising Happiness and The Power of your Child’s Imagination to check and recheck our course, making slight alterations, pulling myself back on track, and breathing a sigh of relief when I realize that we’re actually doing pretty darn well.

Being away

standard January 17, 2011 9 responses

Our weekday routine is down pat.

I get up at 6:15 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 6am on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I shower and have breakfast. At 7 the girls roll out of bed and head to the kitchen for breakfast, which I feed them while prepping C’s lunch, getting their clothes ready, and finishing my tea.

M eats with the girls and helps me get them dressed, then, while I’m brushing their hair he kisses us all goodbye and heads off to work. Shortly after I load the girls into the car and start the long morning commute.

I drop one off in one town, head 20 minutes away to drop the other off, then I head to Starbucks for my morning coffee and to get my own day started.

At 5:15 I retrace my steps, dashing from work to pick up Little L. As I’m hurrying to daycare M is making his way to C’s school to pick her up. We meet up at home around 6pm — just in time to feed the girls and get them ready for bed.

On nights when M can’t pick C up, I have to go from daycare to the school and then back south to our home. We get there around 6:45, making the evening a tad more challenging, but doable nonetheless.

When I go out of town things get a bit more hairy.

To get both girls to school and daycare on time, M has to be late for work. While L can be dropped off early, there is no early care for C. 8:30 is the earliest she can be dropped off, meaning there’s no way for M to be at work before 9. And in order to be at daycare by 5:30, he has to leave work by 4:45, which makes for a very short work day. Not ideal for those lawyer types.

Once in a while when I have to be out of town for a conference or a work trip we make it work. We call in help — relying on family and friends to collect one child while M is picking up the other. It works for a day here or a day there, but it’s not something we like doing often.

It’s looking like we’re going to have to get used to it. 

The Life Coach program that I want to attend is located in Sacramento, about a two hour drive from here. There are four three day seminars that have to be taken on site. Add to that a blog conference or two — key if I want to make a name for myself as a social media career coach — and now we’re talking 6 trips, 6 times when I really throw my family’s routine for a loop.

It’s the constant struggle that moms face. My dreams and aspirations versus the good of the family. 

We’ll plan, we’ll get help, we’ll prep the girls and make it work. It won’t be easy, but it won’t be the end of the world either. And in the end it’ll be well worth it.

I’ll get to spend at least 12 uninterupted nights in a hotel room.

I mean… I’ll have a career that allows me to be both fulfilled and the kind of mom I aspire to be. Ahem. Right. That’s totally why it’s worth it.

Yet another trip without the family

standard September 22, 2010 Leave a response

In April I went to LA. In June I flew to NY. In August I flew back to NY.

Not one of those trips included my family. In each instance I left my kids at home with my husband.

On Thursday morning I’m leaving again. And again I’m leaving them at home. I’m heading to North Carolina to speak at the awesome TypeA Mom Conference. And while I’m very excited to see my bloggy friends again and to meet new ones, I do have to say a huge part of me is dreading going.

It’s not the social anxiety of old. I’ve come a long way since then.

It’s that I’m just tired.

School just started and we’re just barely getting into a routine. I only just started catching my breath and getting back to work on the book. And now I’m leaving again. For five days.

It’s also that I feel like I got to spend precious little time just enjoying my family this summer. We’ve had snatches of great family moments, but they were scattered here and there. I’m ready for a family vacation. The four of us. Together. No work. No routines. No school. Just buckets and sand and endless stretches of time to enjoy each other and relax.

That’s not happening any time soon. Thursday morning I’m rushing both girls to school before heading home and jumping into a cab. I’m going to head to the airport where I’ll once again feel oddly unencumbered as I sail through security, and then I’m going to spend all day on two planes, criss-crossing the country. I’m packing two books, that’s how much free time I’m going to have.

Back in April and June I felt giddy at the mere thought of traveling solo. Even the trip in August felt like a treat. This one feels a bit like a business trip.

I think I might even miss the kids on the flight.