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Spring break quickly translates to spring broken

Submitted by on Thursday, 2 April 2009 2 Comments

How long does it take the average house to devolve into chaos once spring break begins?

I don’t know if there’s an industry standard, but based on anecdotal evidence here this week I’d say roughly 23.6 hours from immaculate to war zone.

Sunday night: Dishes washed and put away, navigable path cleared through the living room, laundry folded, books shelved. Work to-do list laid out, and it’s do-able.

Monday evening: Sink overflowing, dirty socks tiptoeing back into the mainstream. Toys have re-established a base camp in the living room. To-do list looks like Mount Neverest.

Overnight, the enemy forces had invaded to turn home sweet home into the 38th parallel. Except one side – that would be me – was caught unarmed and unprepared.

Spring break actually broke early when Big Guy came down with a case of bronchitis that put him down for the count on Monday instead of the scheduled Wednesday start. Dang it, I had things to get done on those two days that didn’t involve waiting rooms and insurance hassles.

Oops. Did I say that out loud. What I meant was, “Oh, my poor sick baby! Here’s another tissue, some more ibuprofen and a snuggle. Now please go back to sleep so I can get some work done.”

Over the three months since Big Guy had gone back to school and Dad left for boot camp – both on the same chaotic January day – we’d settled into a groove. Boots would play with his trains or color or “read,” all quietly in the bedroom as I worked. There would be the occasional break for snacks, but once I set those at set times, all went smoothly.

We’d wrap everything up by the time Big Guy’s day was over, and the afternoons were free.

Big Guy, though, is unaccustomed to the morning ritual.  I’m unaccustomed having two people whose mommy-do lists keep usurping my to-do list. Not to mention the competition with each other.

“I’m typing in green!”

“No, it’s my turn!”

“You just had a turn!”

Then both erupt in a huge blast of “Mommy!” and I start wondering how quickly I can get the cable company to install another line so I can move my computer to the garage and hide there until May.

I know parents who prefer the frequent breaks of year-round school, under the theory that it’s easier to find child care a month at a time than for a three-month chunk. It sounded good, but it’s not holding up in real-world conditions for us. It’s a pain in the neck when the sands start shifting again just as  you’ve settled in to the new schedule.

And when spring break breaks early, you’re going to get plowed over if the armed guards aren’t standing ready to turn back the coup.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • ParentingPink said:

    LOL! I couldn’t agree more! Today was my kindegartener’s first day of Spring Break and the house is in shambles – not to mention all of the arguments I’ve been trying to break up! I mean, really, who cares about whether or not the stupid stuffed bunny wants to eat chocolate or broccoli (yes, this was a recent HEATED debate among me 6 & 4 year olds)???? I say, as long as the bunny eats, that’s good enough for me!

  • Debra said:

    That sounds like some of the important issues the guys go to war over around here: Whether Percy wants Thomas to bake him a chocolate or vanilla birthday cake and how many pinatas they should have at the party. Last count, I think they were up to 40 — enough that Harold the Helicopter had to fly overhead with them because trees no longer could hold the weight.