20 August, 2017

How have the summer holidays been?

Summer holidays are rushing to an end and I want to write a little about how things have gone in the realm of time-management for the boys. (See this post about the guidelines we set at the start of the holidays.)
Oyakodonburi or Chicken and Egg on Rice, a favourite Japanese meal of our
middle son. He needed help with this, but it tasted pretty authentic.

Truth is that there has been a lot of electronics. However, there has also been a lot of reading, creativity, and jobs done.

We spent 16 days away in July and those days had very limited amounts of electronics/screen time and lots of reading and board game-time. There were few complaints.

It's been encouraging to see one boy walk away from electronics significantly on most days in the last month.

Exercise has been spotty and I think two boys are going to be sore when they get back to school and cross-country training begins.

Bedtimes have been somewhat managed by us still. Setting limits on when electronics end . . . alas that hasn't stopped some boys staying up to the early hours of the morning reading. Last Monday we instituted a 9 am limit on sleep-ins and tomorrow it will go back to 8 am, then it's 7 am rising on Thursday in preparation for Friday's 8.30 start at school. That has made people grumpy (mostly later in the day when they're tired—they've acquiesced to the early rising times), but hopefully helped them to get to sleep earlier.

Meal cooking has been interesting, and it's been a lot easier to get cooperation than last year. Typical for our household: second time around is better. The boys aren't very creative, in that they've just chosen meals that we usually eat, but they're slowly getting better at cooking main meals (we need to work on speed a bit though—we've had some very late meals). I'm getting better at being the nearby "help desk" rather than getting in the way.

Late-July we did a big change-over of household jobs. That's gone fairly well too, I expected a challenging learning curve, but the boys have moved into their new jobs well: 

  • Washing: As a result David and I are now only responsible for three people's washing (and the sheets and towels). That's a significant change. It's been great to see our new high schooler taking on responsibility for his own washing. He's also now responsible for hanging up the washing for the rest of us, and has done a good job for the most part. It's better now that he's not getting up at midday!
  • Breakfast dishes: Our youngest has done a great job of getting into breakfast washups. Only whinge has been on those days when it is hot enough to make him sweaty or when he hasn't gotten to it before lunch and ends up with some lunch dishes to do too. Next challenge for him will be being organised enough to get it all done before school.
  • House elf: Our eldest doesn't have a set family-related job at this point aside from cooking once a week. We have asked him to help out randomly with washing up at night-time, though. I don't know how this will change. Maybe I'll get him to do some grocery runs when I'm extra busy in the coming months.
Another staff-mum asked me this morning if I was ready for school to start and I heartily said yes. She, however, is in a different life-stage (little ones) and isn't looking forward to her husband being back at school, especially before her kids go back into Japanese kindy. 

I'm glad that these big boys of mine will soon be back at school, they need the routine and challenge. They need the world to not revolve around their own pleasure as much as it does during holiday-time.

I'll also be happy to get my schedule more back under my control. Having them home now is nowhere near as challenging as it was when they were little, but I also have more outside-the-home responsibilities now than I did then. I'll enjoy having less interrupted time, especially in the afternoons. 

Lately I've been getting a bit frustrated at the interruptions and the self-centered assumptions that I should interrupt whatever I'm doing immediately my name is called to attend to whatever they deem is important at that moment (usually these aren't super urgent matters). 

I am torn between being being available and teaching them not to be so self-centred that they assume that whatever they are doing is more important than what I'm doing. Not to mention that they rarely respond immediately when I call their names! 

Then there's the guilt-ridden message that gets showered upon us mums: enjoy them while you have them at home. But they no longer need me constantly and oftentimes what they're asking of me could wait a little while. Not to mention that I can't take 11 weeks off work, nor am I a super-mum—able to work through the night so that I'm available for them all day! So, I'm between a rock and a hard place. A situation that all working mums (and dads) have to deal with.

Anyway enough ranting, I'm just looking forward to having more boundaries in place around my work-life. When they're at school and training—I can work without guilt.

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