Well, after a few years of working from home while watching the kids (easier with all-day school, for sure!), and thus splitting responsibilities a lot more with my wife J- than I had been, I'm now ankle-deep in a taste of juggling everything by myself again for a week and a half: J- is taking a vacation with my sister and her friend to hang around a beach house and reflect on turning 30 and 25, respectively.
I shouldn't complain, since I took a similar trip with my brother last year* when I turned 30, but who would I be if I didn't? I mean, you may not realize it, given my laughably outdated banner up there, but I'm dealing with an 8-year-old, a 5-year-old, a 19-month-old, a basement full of fleas, and a garage full of 9 cats**, whereas J- only had to deal with a 7-year-old, a 4-year-old, a 7-month-old, a kitchen being drywalled, and a very welcome mother cat and three kittens*** who'd recently shown up on our doorstep out here in Cat Country.
So, clearly, the difference is night and day.
J- dealt with the stress last year by buying them off with a promise to have candy for dinner, and then following through in legendary form.
Problem for me is, not only do they now have their bars set somewhere just above, "There is such a thing as candy for dinner", but they've already spent most of this summer being spoiled by one set of grandparents or another, to the point that the older two wouldn't bat an eyelash at being handed the keys to their own set of his-and-hers hovercrafts.
So what am I supposed to do?
All I've come up with so far is to go totally the other way and just put them to work as much as possible, to make them really appreciate heading back to school soon, as a break in their strict schedule of Cleaning Up After Myself, plus Other Light Chores****. It seems to be working pretty well, knock on wood... for me, at least.
I think they'll be happy to see Momma walk through the door.
* Of course I didn't take the opportunity to get back into writing real blog posts at the time, because that would make too much sense.
** Now that we found a home for one of the 8 kittens born in two litters within two days back in May...
*** The surviving kitten of which just had her first litter (of 5) in our garage at almost exactly 1 year old.
**** The latter of which generally gets bumped off the schedule, due to the first show running long...