When the cat is away, the mice will…

Kids or no, I'll be here...

Kids or no, I’ll be here…

The kids are at summer camp. An entire week with just my husband and me in the house. No children lingering at my office door with the “Mum, I’m bored” look. No teenager hiding in his cave with his earphones on, to be prodded into activity.

We’re free to do whatever we want!

So, um, I’m cleaning the house, my husband is making the week’s bread. Later I’ll milk the goats and do some weeding…

We tried to go out for lunch and a stroll on the beach after dropping them off at camp, but…well…there was work to be done at home, and the weather wasn’t great, and we weren’t really hungry for lunch…

I reckon it’s a sign we’ve managed parenthood reasonably well so far that when we’re free of the children, we don’t rush out and party. We pretty much carry on as usual, because we pretty much do what we want when the kids are here, too.

Oh, we’ll do a few things differently. Tonight’s dinner will be bread and cheese with a glass of wine on the porch instead of some healthy cooked affair. But we’re unlikely to go out at all, and the week will proceed pretty much the same as if the kids were here.

Perhaps we’ve been selfish parents—the kids have always known that mum and dad need their space. Bedtime has always been strictly enforced, so that the adults have ‘their’ time at the end of the day. And from the beginning, the kids have gone to art museums, historic sites, etc, with us. We’ve included them in our adult lives, and they’ve happily come along for the ride.

Yes, we spent many hours bored, watching them at playgrounds when they were younger, but we made sure that they also spent time bored at ‘adult’ things, too.

It wasn’t long before they became interested in those adult outings—the art museums, the historic sites, the tramping trips. Just as we learned to appreciate the subtleties of playground design, they learned to appreciate the play of light on a sculpture, or the patterns of wear on an artefact.

And so, when the kids are away, we feel no need to get our fill of ‘adult’ things or to make up for lost ‘us’ time. We will certainly enjoy our week of relative quiet, and fewer articles of clothing to pick up off the floor. But we enjoy spending time with the kids, doing the things we all like to do.

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