It took me almost two weeks just to get into summer vacation mode.
The first week I was still analyzing, preparing, organizing and dealing with every little minutiae that is part of raising a busy family. But like so many moms, I am downright exhausted by said minutiae. I hoped to let go of some, if not most of it, for part of the summer, but I am not wired to live like that. Sure I can turn a blind eye to some of the chaos (occasionally) or force a kid to clean up some mess, but as this article demonstrates, delegating is just another job for me:
Ah, yes, the “Just tell me what to do!” defence—like nails on a chalkboard to female household managers everywhere. The idea of deputing tasks or asking for help implies you’re still the one running the show. Delegating is just another bloody job. (Lauren Ballem)
I even wanted to stop the delegating.
Understand, no one really expects me to stay on top of all of it. Most people in the household are not irritated by laundry left in baskets for days on end or dishes piled beside the dishwasher instead of in it. The lure of take-out over home-cooked meals bothers them less than me when it becomes the norm. (Seriously you want fried chicken again? didn’t you just have that yesterday?)
They love my home cooked food. But they don’t want to help buy it, prepare it, or, what’s worst, clean up after it.
I’m tired. Which is why I let that slide, a little, lately. Most inhabitants here have no complaints when I point to bags of chips, popsicles, a jar of peanut butter and hey, if the bread is gone, or moldy, use a hamburger bun for your PBJ. I don’t care!
But I do care. Just like Lauren Ferranti-Ballem, who wrote the article linked above, cares. She said:
I have a confession to make: I’m not super comfortable about giving stuff up. I like to do things a certain way; I get off on feeling indispensable; I want to own parenthood. And I’m not the only lady who balks at pulling back.
This is my struggle, too.
So when the opportunity came up for my family to go camping for a few days, I sent them packing. The idea of being all alone was much more enticing to me than to ‘miss out’ on some family fun.
Don’t get me wrong. I really
sort of not really wanted to go fishing with them, or canoeing, or hang out on the dock, even see the baby orphan moose back at base-camp. I wanted to build a fire and watch them burn their homework, piece by piece. I wanted to catch up with other family up there, relax, and not be in charge all the time.
But not while forgoing privacy in the shower, or clean sheets on the bed.
I don’t enjoy being surrounded by bugs.
I craved some alone time, some precious me-time. Completely alone with no one coming home for dinner, needing reminders about baseball schedules, or demanding play-dates and sleep-overs. I wanted to sleep in my own bed with all six pillows to myself, I wanted to shower whenever it suited me, not when the bathroom was free, I wanted to eat, or drink, without having the foresight to plan next meals or consider my minions opinions why they don’t like it anymore when for the past three months they ate it twice a week.
They left. I stayed. The dog I was sitting and I went to the leash-free part, the regular park, the pebble beach and through the neighbourhood several times a day, met people (and their dogs) at will, ignored people equally as often, read everything I could get my hands on, ate huge lunches and satisfied myself with small snacks for dinner, and basically recharged my batteries. I watched tv and did not ask a single time where the remote was.
By the time they came home I felt better, and was ready for them to be home again.
I did learn something though, during my mini-vacation. I ignored the baseball schedules and finances. It took me a half-day of plugging into my laptop to organize the transfer of hockey money, update the rain dates of baseball tournaments, and respond to a bunch of emails.
But I’m back on track. A relaxed, somewhat looser track than normal, be that as it may, but still.
Perhaps another mini-vacation will be in order before hockey season starts up again in August.