It happens every year. School ends and I find myself completely unprepared for the changes in our family rhythm. It’s not that I’m surprised that the calendar has maintained its persistent march. It’s not that I mind these people being at home. It’s that I have to adjust my daily expectations among a group of people who do not favor routine and order and much as I do.
Today is Monday. This Monday, for me, bears a remarkable similarity to last Monday, when my four people plodded off to campus. I should make clear here that my husband teaches at the same school my kids have attended since forever, while I work from my dining room desk. All day, everyday, Monday through Friday.
I have a few deadlines, a bundle of paperwork and some correspondence to sift through. On weekdays I run, start laundry, tidy the kitchen, and work. Today is a work day. I planned to work.
Except today is their first day of summer. They want to do all their summer things right now. Today. Zoo, aquarium, camp, sleepovers, swimming, movie day, baking, crafts. They want to get donuts and stay in their jammies and play wii loudly. They want to use my computer, the computer I am using to do my job things.
It will be more challenging once teacher man finishes up his end of the year duties with senior luncheons and awards and commencement and parties. Then all four of them will want to play. And I will listen to their plans and type away. I will want them to be quiet and gone and also want to be with them, playing outside, riding bikes, visiting the library, riding high on a summer unfolding with promise.
I didn’t prepare mentally for this shift in routine. I didn’t make a plan to balance their needs with my work. I didn’t think through what the challenges would be, of living in two realities at once. But aren’t we always there, walking the line between so many good places? Working woman, mom, wife, runner, cook, cleaner, bookkeeper. How do we shift these roles seamlessly? I want time to reset the internal workings of my brain, get my head around a loose idea of the next 3 months, but time’s up. Summer’s here. I’m working woman and mom with no time to shift hats; I’m wearing them both and more.
How do you handle transition? What helps and what doesn’t?