Monday, June 18, 2012

I'm not exactly complaining

My calendar says that the kids go to school until Friday June 29 -- and that between now and then, I have about five work contracts to finish. All well and good. Except that today one child is sick, the rest of the week will see another child in exams, and the third home with permission while most of his classmates go to Quebec City and Ottawa.

Let me say that I have always been a mom who loved summertime, who loved having my kids home and grieved when September rolled around.

But that was before a few things changed. Thing 1 was that my husband took on a now-two-and-a-half-year secondment from teaching to work at the Perimeter Institute. In his new role, summer is the busy season, rather than the off season. Last summer, I did not anticipate this change well -- and the kids went to various camps, all at different times. It meant that no two weeks were alike and I got interesting combinations of children, but no week when everyone was occupied. It just meant that by the time September rolled around, I breathed a tired sigh of relief.

This summer, there's another change, which is that my new business is thriving and it ain't really a seasonal one. So, I've committed to work throughout July and August, with the exception of our family holiday week.

I am deeply grateful that the business is doing well and that I made the decision to be self-employed over fulltime employment where I would be committee (trapped?) inside for 40 daylight hours a week. I am also glad that my kids will soon be home. They are tired after a long school year and ready for some time off. We have a nicely paced summer in terms of their activities -- and this year, there are two and a half weeks of camp/program overlap.

But there's another change too, and that is that as my kids have approached adolescence, their pace has changed. Two of the three are now Kids Who Sleeeeeeeeep In. It used to be that summer meant we'd get out early in the morning and do something fun -- and then we'd putter in the afternoons, allowing me time to work. Now, work shifts to the morning and hopefully that will be enough. They are also plenty old enough that I can leave them on their own -- but at the same time, left to their own devices, free time devolves into technology time of one sort or another. The other part of this adolescence thing is a tendency to rush from sports to collapse, or work to indolence, leaving piles of laundry, refuse and general stuff in the wake. (Honestly, they were more able at cleaning up after themselves a few years ago. Pesky adolescent brain...)

The worry is that Mama won't be able to do it all -- the work, the tidying up, the keeping kids oocupied, the enjoying this short sweet season. I really want to make sure that last task doesn't fall off the list, because my kids are growing up fast. The fact that they leave detritus behind them, that they need too-frequent chauffeuring, that they sleep till all hours -- these are really beside the point. It'll take some renegotiation of roles and responsibilities, like any change does, but I want to make sure to enjoy them and the summer along the way.

So that's the plan.

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