The Summer of My Discontent

Yesterday, my ten year old daughter, Jennifer, asked me a question that surprised me”¦and no, it wasn’t about sex. School had just let out the day before, and what she wanted to know was if we could go to a movie on Monday.

“Doesn’t she realize that although I don’t leave the house to go to an office that I am a working mom nonetheless? I have a job to do! How did she get the impression that I can just take off and go to a movie on a workday?”

I really didn’t need to get defensive at her question. Her perspective just reflects my accessibility, which is one of the best benefits of working at home. Because our office is in what used to be our dining room, there’s never a time when I’m unavailable to any of the kids. That is unless I tell Jennifer to quit reporting on Nigel the cat’s antics and leave me alone for a half hour so I can finish my blog”¦

Back to Jennifer’s question: the truth is that because we have our own business, I could actually take her to a movie on any day. But I never would during the workweek. It’s taken a couple of years to get in this frame of mind, but now I feel a great deal of responsibility to our business. I know the only way it’s going to grow is if I’m a fully committed partner in it.

Which brings me to the challenge that summer holds: how to balance work, family, and the household? It’s not a problem when the school is in session because I have a chunk of time to devote to the business. But during the summer, I begin to feel guilty if Jennifer has spent a beautifully sunny day perfecting her fine motor skills on her Nintendo DS or asking the rhetorical question, “˜What DVD should I put in now?”

And the kids have their own agendas for the summer, most of which require my involvement like moving furniture in their rooms or chauffering them and their friends to the swimming pool.

Plus, my personal goal for the summer is to rid the garage of client files from defunct companies and deflated footballs and go on a Swiffer binge”¦the cats are starting to sneeze from the cobwebs in their whiskers.

Maybe I can get creative and kill a couple of birds with one stone ““ so to speak. Instead of sending them off to expensive camps why not devise my own?

I’m thinking of “CSI Petaluma.” While I’m working, my kids get to spend two weeks dusting all the blinds in the house for fingerprints. Or maybe “Kitchen Archeology. In this hands-on workshop, they’ll dig through cupboards for fossilized Macaroni and Cheese.” And last but not least, I’ll sign them up for “Exploring Entomology. The Web comes to life as young scientists encounter the amazing world living beneath the workbench in the garage. Material fee includes broom, dustpan, and rubber gloves.”

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