Friday, August 5, 2011

Past Deadline: I Heart Lost Harbour

(Sorry I am so far behind with posting! This goes back a few weeks.)

My oh my. It seems as if it was only a couple of weeks ago that the kids used to go to school.

Oh yeah. It was.

School’s out and now we are playing a 68-day game of “Let’s hang with Mommy!” Mommy works from home. Rather, Mommy “tries” to work from home. How’s that going for Mommy, anyway?

Well, let’s just say it’s...interesting.

Back when I was really new at this Mommy thing, I used to read lots of blogs about and by WAHMs – Work At Home Moms (as opposed to SAHMs – Stay At Home Moms) about the challenges and rewards of working from home. My mom was a SAHM. Probably I will never truly understand how great it was to have a mom waiting for us every day after school because it is all I have ever known.

After my first baby was born, I remember hitting the six-week mark and being amazed by the fact that in the United States that is all the maternity leave some moms get. I wouldn’t have wanted to go back to work full time after six weeks.

Being self-employed, though, meant no maternity leave at all (at that time). Fortunately, I could modify and manage my schedule and work back into things. It wasn’t always easy (lots of evenings and weekends spent working while Dad was home). Even now, being a WAHM might mean I am physically present at home, but it also means the TV might be on more while Mommy “just has to do this one little thing.”

Grass is always greener, right? Parents who work away from home often wish they had more time with the kids, while some of us who work at home greet more time with a tinge of trepidation.

Fortunately, grandparents, babysitters, play dates and day camps are part of our lives.

This summer has been interesting so far – all 14 days or so of it. My kids are much more mobile this year – they’re older and they can visit neighbourhood friends without always needing Mommy in tow.

They also nap less (read: not at all) and go to bed later than they used to, which means less quiet time for Mommy. They have vast vocabularies, too, which they try out on each other and on me at various pitches and with varying degrees of success.

When the sibling rivalry or the boundary pushing goes a bit too far, then Mommy pulls out her Repertoire of Threats. (At this point I am picturing a large heavy book with gilded pages and gold-embossed lettering, complete with monks chanting instructions about the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. Sorry. Monty Python hiccup there.)

Suffice it to say there is no book. All that’s really there is a sketchy assembly of threats tucked in my addled brain about cancelled play dates and computer prohibitions – but one has to be extraordinarily careful that one doesn’t threaten more than one

After all, one of the Golden Rules of Parenting, aside from giving instructions about not running with scissors (which I actually had to do just the other day), is to follow through. You threaten, you make it so.

Another Golden Rule (there should be a gold-embossed instruction manual with every child) is to be consistent, and that doesn’t mean you should consistently present empty threats. You do that too many times and you just might need the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch after all (what IS this woman babbling about?).

Since school ended (did I mention it was about 14 days ago), I have found myself reaching repeatedly into my repertoire to try to remember the name of the, ahem, summer camp I threatened to send the kids to last year when the going got occasionally tough. I checked a column from about this time last year and there it was: Lost Harbour Summer School and Military Camp.

Lost Harbour (tee hee!) is a magical, faraway place where kids stay for many weeks and where the program consists of four hours of school each day followed by marching and building walls out of heavy rocks.

I haven’t had to play that oh-so-believable (ha!) card yet, but it’s early, and there are still some work deadlines to navigate before Sept. 6.

Published in The Perth Courier, July 14/11

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