March break

March break sneaks up on parents. By the time you read this, we’ll be nearing the end of it. Check your fridge. It’s empty. You know what that means? School starts Monday. Hallelujah. I’ll bet after this week, we are going to appreciate our children’s teachers with renewed enthusiasm.

Try as you might, you are never prepared for March break. It requires the time management skills of Tony Robbins, the culinary strategies of Gordon Ramsey and the patience of Buddhist Nun Pema Chodron. Add a therapy session with Dr. Phil, as this annual vacation humbles parents who work inside and outside of the home. If you work elsewhere, you’re guilty for not being there for your children full on. Instead you are working to pay for their hockey tournaments, birthday parties, new clothes, movie nights and the March break camps you had to put them in so that you can work to pay for all of the above.

If you are a stay-at-home parent, you are guilty if you don’t have every hour of every day planned to the hilt – and you are contemplating your caffeine consumption limits before you snap. You have no budget for field trips because you work inside the home and thus you cannot keep up with Joneses (who don’t necessarily want to be the Joneses, I assure you). Ah, the real cycle of life. There is the “Why don’t we ever go on vacation?” question, followed by the “I’m bored, there’s nothing to do,” statement.

I have a cure for that last one. It’s called a garbage bag. If there is nothing to do in my house, full of Wii games, Nintendo stuff, DVDs and shelves of craft supplies, well then, I suggest we get it gone. Stuff that bag all the way full and take it to the recycling store where other bored kids might find renewed excitement with our lousy items. Even that hamster is getting tired. All he does is run around in a wheel. He is boring too. Let’s send him packing.

Truth be told, I will enjoy March break. Don’t tell them this, but I actually enjoy hanging out with my kids. They are really amazing people. But I will not lie; I will be ready to send them back to school. My kids will realize I’m only fun in short stints. I am disorganized and have deadlines, whether they are home or not. 

Bless the teachers who are organized and structured enough to keep our children engaged and safe while cramming education into their minds. Parents who have children with learning challenges, you know only too well how important teachers are to your life. Bless the teachers who see each of our children as individuals, unique and special, even when they don’t fit in the curriculum. We might not always agree with the methods, but until you’ve volunteered in a classroom of prepubescent teens, you have no idea. Have compassion for teachers, because it is not an easy job. If you doubt that, look at your past week. You had a handful of kids at best; they have about 30 every day, each of whom come with their own personalities. Would you trade places? No way.

Just think, summer is only 14 weeks away. Hey, don’t shoot the messenger. I have a plan. If we are going to convince teachers to work all summer, we’d best start sucking up now. Who’s with me? Form a line. I’ll take attendance.


Kelly Waterhouse