Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

The short version of my advice for surviving the kids being home on break is to BUY A LOT OF WINE.

Since that won’t always solve the problem – say it’s 9am or you’ve already had three glasses, then you have to find other ways to get through the break.

Don’t get me wrong – I love having my kids home. But just when I’ve gotten used to having peace and quiet during the day to get work done, they get two weeks off. I don’t, and trying to write articles about server virtualization or choosing the right daycare while the kids are playing another round of Guitar Hero Argument (you know, the game where no music gets played because they can’t agree who gets the guitar and who gets the drums) can be difficult.

Want to know what’s worse than the kids being home for break?

The college kids being home for break.

Kira’s college break is SIX WEEKS long.

The college-age kid would like to be treated like the grown up she is, considering herself a guest who is just visiting and is therefore “above” being required to help out with chores. Of course, we disagree, given that guests don’t stay for six weeks, eating the food and using all the hot water, so we think she should contribute by taking a turn cleaning the bathroom and helping out with dishes.

The college-age kid is used to living on a different schedule than the rest of the household, so at 2am when the rest of us are trying to sleep, she’s having a way-t00-loud Skype conversation with the boyfriend, and because she was up at 2am, she doesn’t wake up and eat breakfast until mid-morning.

The college-age daughter consumes more energy and hot water than all the other people in the home, and suddenly, the bathroom is NEVER free. For six weeks, we have to play bathroom traffic control cops to make sure the younger kids can at least squeeze in the occasional shower and toothbrushing.

The college-age daughter, because she is a grown up now, tends to not recognize the signals of “this is a mom-and-dad conversation” or “you’re not the mom; I’ll handle the younger kid discipline” which creates moments of tension when it’s too early for that glass of wine.

I love having the kids home – even the college age ones – but if the liquor store on the corner makes a few extra wine sales over the next month, you’ll know why.