I know when Bryson and I have had enough of summer vacation.
We start to argue and even the things that I used to find annoying but still cute at the beginning of summer are now just annoying. He can’t seem to find anything he can do by himself and I am starting to feel the pressure of a thousand things that I had wanted to do during break that hadn’t been done yet.
Apparently this holiday vacation is fitting that same mold.
I might have just looked at the boy and told him to go back to school.
He has plenty of things to do already – laundry to put away, books to read, piano and oboe to practice. It’s not like he needs to sit and read me the funnies I already read on Sunday or bug me to read another chapter of The Fairy Swarm. Nope. He is old enough to find something to do while I get other stuff done.
Of course, I realize that as soon as he gets engrossed in something, I’ll be bothering him to run some errands with me (I’m long overdue for a trip to the post office and I need to stop at the pharmacy and B wants to stop to drop something off at a friend’s house). Then the tables will be turned and he’ll be irritated with me.
I feel awful – he isn’t always going to want to spend time with his mom. He’ll keep growing (and he’s doing that so much faster than I am ready for already…) and eventually part of that growing will be spending time with friends instead of me. I just know that I have a thousand things I ought to be doing…I have papers to grade and plans to write and yearbook stuff to finish up and thank you notes to write. I have an office that needs to be unearthed – it’s no wonder nothing gets done at home whenever I can’t find the space to work under all that stuff.
It’s a paradox. I want to be able to do all of these things on my to-do list in order to free up more time whenever we head back to school to spend with him and my husband and my mom. School will be busier than ever once we get back because musical rehearsals start. I need to be super efficient with my time so I can say yes to an extra chapter of reading before bed whenever we go back. Getting a jump on some of what needs done now could make a huge difference.
So saying no now is really saying yes later.
The tension it creates in me and between us seems to be counterproductive.
So I called him out from his room (where he holed up after I got frustrated with him) and asked him if he understood why I was short with him.
“Because I was distracting you. Break is your time to get caught up on your work so you have free time for other stuff – like reading with me or writing or doing other fun stuff.”
And then he just trotted back off to his room to continue reading his big fat library book.
No hard feelings.
What a relief.
But I’m still not convinced that this whole work-life balance thing isn’t more like reaching Laundry Zero or the ever elusive Inbox Zero. You feel like you’re on top of everything for a few hours or maybe a couple of days…and then, nope. You’ve spent too much time on one thing only at the expense of something else and you need to readjust to cover that shift.