Use your words!
That was the only help the poor boy’s mom offered as Grace held her son’s left cheek to the carpet during a friendly playgroup skirmish. It was more sport than conflict, but when your face becomes one with the rug, there is win and there is lose. And other parental verbs.
My guest today, Sharon, writes a blog called Mommy Verbs. There, she contemplates the Candy Crush phenomenon, the rules of the road (trip), and reintroduces us to effective mom verbs, such as Receive, Blast, and Search.
Let’s welcome her. You’ll love her stuff.
Summer of a work at home dad
Summertime is coming to an end and the kiddos are both heading to school for the very first time this year.
If you ask my kiddos if they have had a good summer, they would most certainly share a resounding YES!
As a matter of fact, they have enjoyed a very long summer. Longer than usual.
But the truth is, they don’t even know how fabulous their summer has really been. They are actually quite lucky.
Lucky, because their Dad was home with them all summer. And not me, their Momma.
How to be a word-from-home parent during the summer
Not that I am not a super fun parent. Come on now, I can be fun.
It just would have been a very different summer for them.
You see, there is no one right way to be a work-from-home Momma or Dad during the summer. There is just the way that works for you, whether you are the Momma or the Dad.
My way looks like schedules and plans and agendas and To Do lists.
I think it is because I was a teacher for so many years. Summers were awesome for me, but I still needed the structure, the time management, the lesson plan. I still needed to accomplish things, make things happen. And that was before I had kiddos with me.
Now that I am in a new job, I am what they call a 12 month employee, so the summer break is no more for me.
But Dad Felix works from home. He works from the computer at the desk in our office/den. And with the boy child starting Kindergarten this year, sitters and daycare were no more, so he was going to be the work from home Dad this summer.
I realized during the last week of school, that everyone was going to need a plan for these summer days. Everyone was going to need a schedule, a way of being for the summer, just to keep the peace and sanity.
So the teacher in me did what I do. I planned. I organized. I scheduled. I made some charts. I bought some stickers and activity books. I assigned tasks to be completed.
- Read for 30 minutes
- Complete two pages in the activity books
- Make your bed
- Clean your room
- Do one helping house chore
I taped it to the wall and told the kiddos the expectations for them. When I came home, I checked their jobs and awarded stickers.
This lasted exactly two weeks.
How dad’s plan was different
Because it was my plan and not theirs. I’m not at all surprised, but as it turns out, this was not Felix’s style of summertime at home with kiddos.
No, his plan was very different from mine.
Felix let them lead. He didn’t rush them in the mornings. Truth be told, the kiddos enjoy some lounging around on the couch with Nickelodeon time in the mornings. Dad discovered that this was the best time for him to get his work done.
He was calm. Zen Daddy. And he stopped and fetched throughout the day. Fetched the boy child some milk. Fetched them both some breakfast. Fetched them lunch later in the day. Fetched them what they needed throughout the day. He found shoes and toys.
He refereed arguments and entertained. He taught them how to play solitaire. He reinforced rest times as needed.
And he focused on what was important. Once the work was done, they started the play. They all went outside. They rode bikes. They went for a run. They went out for lunch or to the library. They ran errands. They went to the pool.
They went to friend’s houses and they had friends over to play.
Keeping it real
Some days, I was jealous of their play time. Other days I was happy to be in a calm, quiet office 15 minutes away.
Because I know it was hard work. I know they had a lot of fun, but I know that Felix was tired at the end of the day. He did a lot around the house and he still managed to balance the fun while keeping everyone happy.
One evening, I was heading home late and we shared this exchange:
That’s Felix. Keeping it real. “Be prepared, the house is a mess. But be excited that the kids are happy and enjoying themselves. And I’m happy to make you a sandwich when you get home.”
You can see why he earned the name: Fix It Felix. He’s a fixer. And a keeper.
I know he wouldn’t trade this opportunity to be at home with his kiddos for the past three months.
He knows how lucky he is to be able to spend this time with them, making these memories. I know how lucky they are to have made these memories.
But the kiddos have no real idea just how lucky they are, because they just had an amazing summer at home with their Dad.
But I hope they realize it someday.
Sharon at MommyVerbs is a working Momma – a newly tattooed, ‘just turned 40 year old’ who enjoys writing about life with her family–Felix, X and Y, while playing fast and loose with punctuation … engaging each day … one action word at a time. And, she’s on a mission. To be intentional. To pay attention to the action of her world. To engage and encourage others to do the same … especially when it comes to parenting and health and wellness, what we eat and how we spend our time. Her challenge to you is: Eat Well. Play More. Choose Happy.