It’s school holidays and I’ve been working from home. Some may say this is crazy, yet it works better for us and I get to see my three children. I don’t actually talk to them, instead I spend much of my time asking them gently, with a manic voice, to go away because I’m working, but I get to see them.
They’ve grown up with parents who work at home so they’re actually quite amazing, yet they’re still kids and noise seems to be a big part of everyday life. They also like to listen to the same songs over and over (yesterday it was a song about poo, today it’s a song about bullshit… see the common theme). Arguing about everything in the entire universe is another favourite past time, as is talking incessantly about Minecraft, Pokemon and other iPad apps. And when they’ve taken a break from all of those special activities, which is every fifteen minutes it seems, they like to ask for “something to eat” or complain about how bored they are.
Luckily, my husband also works from home and has stepped in as the main child wrangler these holidays and their days have been filled with loads of sleepovers, catch-ups, swimming and other activities for children who have an animalistic desire to always be doing something “fun”. If there’s any doubt that Twiggy’s doing the lion share of the kids’ transportation, sister war mediation and feed store handler, you just need to look at his face at about 5pm. He looks about 10 years older. The years drop away with each coffee and alcoholic beverage.
Strangely, I quite like school holidays because the stress of having to get everyone to and from school, help with homework or constantly negotiate a reasonable bed time is out of the equation. It’s a little easier.
It’s just the constant noise that does my head in and last night I opted for one of three failsafe escape methods used by parents all over the world. This time I opted for hanging out in the driveway – it’s great for when you can’t go out with mates drinking wine on a week night.
It’s funny what parents tell themselves to justify loco behaviour. Here’s just three things parents say:
1. Driveway loitering is A-OK
I’ve known some people who go and sit in the car without any intention of going anywhere. They just sit there, their souls torn away by the never-ending nature of parenting. Sometimes they sit there with wine. However, I like to combine this method with the shopping escape. It’s when you loudly declare that we are out of milk or bread or toilet paper and you nominate to sacrifice your precious time to go and fetch said items. Already you’re winning because who willingly wants to go to the supermarket? I do. Without kids it’s a lovely, mindless distraction and you get to snack on sugared almonds from the self service foodstuff section. Shopping done and you head home with the tunes blaring or perhaps you prefer to ride in silence so you can hear yourself swearing at other drivers. You pull into the driveway and you remember that it’s witching hour and instead of jumping out of the car to face the chaos, you sit in the car. Last night I was in the driveway for close to twenty minutes before guilt washed over me. Man, those twenty minutes were lovely. It was nice in the driveway.
2. Hiding in uncomfortable places is fun
By uncomfortable I mean “places that you’d only choose to spend time in when you are trying to get away from your family”. These include the pantry, the toilet, the laundry and sometimes just hiding outside near the bins. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I’d suggest the pantry as the preferred option because at least there’s food and quite possibly booze there. That makes standing in the dark, wedged against a box of cornflakes, way better. And it always helps to stuff your face with chocolate when you’re crying.
3. Pretending to sleep is perfectly reasonable
This too is one of my favourites. “I’m SOOOO tired, I’m off to bed,” I declare. And then I give everyone a kiss and take myself off to my room. If anyone comes near me, I pull the covers over my head and pretend to snore. Then, as soon as they leave, I whip my iPad out and continue reading my book. If I’ve been super clever I also have a snack and maybe even a glass of wine sneakily stashed behind a photo frame. Of course, I spend much of time congratulating myself on my escape skills until I wake in the middle of the night with my iPad slammed against my face and dribble coming out the side of my mouth. Why is it impossible to read more than four pages at a time?
Now my husband, and possibly kids, have read this post I’ll need to come up with some new escape plans. Anyone got some to share with me? Us parents have to stick together.