THE END OF SCHOOL: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR WORKING PARENTSAnne Tergesen
As the school year winds down, the kids’ excitement is ramping up—and so is my work load. Yes, its here – the happiest of times for school-weary children; the most frenetic of times for their weary parents. I’m sure many of you can relate, whether you’re working outside the home or not. Mind you, I enjoy many of these events and would not miss the opportunity to see my kids participate in them. But having so many of them in such close proximity gets really, really challenging.
Here’s a brief rundown of our household’s 2007 end-of-school marathon:
• two class plays (with requests that I purchase various props and costumes, including a red wig, old fashioned vest, and top hat—don’t ask!)
• two cast parties (with requests that I supply cookies and paper goods)
• a nursery school sing-a-long
• a class picnic scheduled on the day of my biggest deadline of the year
• two sports days—each scheduled on deadline days
• two year-end parties (with requests for more cookies and paper goods)
• two evening meetings to discuss the transition to school next fall for two of my three sons
• two missing library books (with requests that I replace hard-to-find hardback editions—good thing they’re relatively easy to find on eBay)
• various requests from fellow parents for various year-end gifts for teachers (ranging from cold, hard cash to photographs of my children to thank you letters from the kids).
• eight year-end gifts for teachers and administrators to purchase and wrap.
I’m sure I’m leaving a few things out, but you get the picture. Is it any wonder that amid all of this, I completely forgot to sign my youngest up for summer camp? Luckily, there are still spots left, although not in the weeks in which I most need them.
The best advice I’ve been given for how to cope comes from Marc Vachon. Marc and wife Amy recently launched a web site called equallysharedparenting.com. They practice what they preach: Both work part-time so they can divide the parenting and housework. When it comes to splitting the job of organizing the kids’ activities, Marc and Amy recommend an equal arrangement—with the important caveat that there be no micro-management by one spouse of the other’s responsibilities. Thanks Marc! I think I’ll let my husband take on the red wig, vest, and top hat.