Past Deadline: What? I Can Leave the House?

Posted: July 30, 2014 in Past Deadline, Perth Courier, Stephanie Gray, Stephanie Gray Communications

Almost there with catch-up night! Here’s the July 3/14 Past Deadline column from The Perth Courier.

What? I can leave the house?

School’s out. Did you notice? I did.

For many years this season struck fear into my heart. Okay, maybe not fear, more like trepidation. Or angst or concern. Anyway, something struck my heart – or maybe it was my gut.

Whatever it was, it’s because I am self-employed (which can be fearful enough at any time). The good thing is it tends to give me a flexible schedule that has, since the kids were born, allowed me to work from home and be around when they are off school. By the way, “flexible schedule” actually means “working nights and weekends when the other parental unit is home in order to catch up.”

Nevertheless, it has worked.

The thing is, although my office is at home, I am frequently required to leave the house and show up for things and meet with people. That’s usually fine, especially when it is a routine thing, such as teaching a class at the same time each week. As many moms and dads know, setting up babysitters tends to work best when you have a consistent need, such as every day all day or, in my case, one day a week when I’m teaching in the summer. You set it up and kapow! It’s in place and you’re good to go.

 But what about those unscheduled things? After all, teaching isn’t actually my “self-employed” gig; it’s my “part-time gig.” So I still have to meet with clients or run a bunch of work errands that aren’t really scheduled.

Well, I’ve learned from experience you just can’t drag the short people everywhere, so that’s when having two sets of generous grandparents nearby who are willing to help has been a godsend.

Even so, this requires arrangements and drop-offs and pick-ups, etc., which can make things a little hectic and unpredictable for everyone.

This year, though, one of the short people is 12, and he is good about minding the other short person when I need to conduct the aforementioned business.

There are two interesting points to make about this. First, it is a great example of how there are pros and cons to every stage. For instance, newborns are portable and sleep a lot, but they also wake up in the night and need to eat 42 times a day and so on, not to mention the poopy diapers.

Well, the current stage features the pro of having a responsible kid who I can leave in charge, which gives me a degree of relief and freedom, coupled with the con of fretting over what…um…unique things his younger sister might be able to conjure up while under his care. Thank goodness for cell phones.

The second point to all of this is…omigod I have a 12-year-old kid? How did that happen?

Point two sort of ties into point one as well. I remember, eons ago, other parents telling me to savour every moment. Don’t rush them growing up. Enjoy the spit up and poo and sleepless nights because at other stages you’ll just be losing sleep over different – bigger – things.

I would nod obediently and silently wonder how many hours of sleep the advice giver was getting while biting my tongue so I didn’t say, “I’m exhausted and you’re crazy!”

Oh, I’m kidding! Sort of. I mean, it’s good advice and it’s true because kids grow up fast, but I’m also human and I’ve gotta tell you I don’t miss poopy diapers. I could, however, do with watching some Mighty Machines episodes. Coolest show.

Ahem. Anyway, all of this is to say the start of this summer has been somewhat awesome because even though I am working I also a) have that dandy “flexible” schedule that might allow us to go to the beach from time to time, b) have that 12-year-old onsite babysitter for the first time ever and c) don’t have to pack lunches every single day!

Yes oh yes I am ecstatic on the lunch front. Packing lunches was fun for a while – a year, maybe two, but the thrill has most definitely worn off and the chief cook and tiny plastic container washer is happy for the break.

As an added bonus, the temptation of munching on leftover snack items from those lunch bags is also eliminated for a couple of months. Now, if I could just avoid snacking at the beach….


School's out...wheee....

School’s out…wheee….


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