The Coast News Group
Small Talk

Pencil in some time to relax over spring break

Though they are scattered from early March to mid-April, schools have been enjoying spring breaks. It is always glorious for the students and many of the teachers, but while you are the mother of a youngster still in elementary school, words like “break”  and “vacation” may not really apply.
Any mom can tell you, school breaks are no trip to the spa. Youngsters don’t let you sleep in. The energetic little beasts still seem to want to eat and very few can be left to their own devices for long without the house looking like a bomb hit. Those adorable creatures still need to be bathed, dressed, doctored, occupied and entertained somehow, from sunrise to sunset.
And yet, as the holiday approached, I saw moms smiling. Some families had cross-country trips planned. Some had day trips on tap and hoped for a little beach weather. But if you are or have been a mother, you know that isn’t what these women were really excited about. At this stage of the game, they have completely rearranged their priorities. They know it will be another five years before then can lather up with suntan oil and snooze in the sun. They do not expect a cruise. They aren’t anticipating anything with absolute leisure involved, nor do they require it.
“So, what are you going to do over the break?” I innocently asked.
“Not fix lunches!” cried one.
“Not spend three hours hovering over my child while he dawdles with his homework,” said another.
“Not do any last-minute science projects,” sighed another.
“Not drop everything at 2:15 p.m. and wrestle after-school traffic,” said a third.
“I’m arranging as many overnight play dates as I possibly can,” admitted another. “That’s real freedom.”
It can be, as they say, the little things. Like taking your children for haircuts in the middle of the day or being able to go anywhere with them before rush hour and the dinner hour hit. It is staying up late with your kids to watch a movie or some goofy reruns with popcorn and soda. It’s letting dinner go until 9 p.m. so the kids can finish playing kick-the-can in the cul-de-sac. It’s having cheese and crackers out for lunching or munching or whenever the kids feel like eating. We won’t say it out loud, but we know no child is going to expire from malnutrition in a week’s time.
The simple joys of spring break around here include just throwing on jeans and maybe even sandals in the morning. It might even mean knocking around in your jammies and not having to make yourself really presentable until at least cartoons are over.
There are a handful of ambitious mothers who make every minute count and don’t get to rest up until school is back in session. My hat is off to them.
For the rest of us, you pop the popcorn. I’ll start the DVD.