My husband and I are headed out of town for a few days. And, after years of practice with business travel, I have my system down to a science when it comes to travel preparation. I am not a nutcase when it comes to preparing meals or attempting to orchestrate every aspect of my children’s lives when I am away. At least I don’t think I am! But I do believe in the Big Yellow Pad when it comes to leaving instructions for the babysitter who will be on duty for the next 48 hours.
I tend to break down the days into logistics: wake-up, school send off, hot lunch commitments, practice times and locations, potential afterschool activities or obligations, dinner “suggestions”, homework hours delineated and then bedtime. On occasion, I have attached a Mapquest map or shopping list.
But, as the kids get older, the notes are more for them than the trusted sitter. If there is a “question, about the No TV rule, the sitter can flash the Big Yellow Pad, when I have indicated the TV hour between 9 and 10. Not 8. And certainly not 4:12.
I hold off on editorializing, trusting the household to run, even without my certain je ne sais quoi. But that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about telling them exactly what to do.
Here’s the note I’d really like to leave my kids:
Please don’t take advantage of your lovely sitter by asking her for coke and candy. Or pleading with her to watch one more Simpsons. You know the rules, even if I’m not here to enforce them. And, you know she will give in because she is nicer than me. Don’t push it.
Just do your homework. I know it’s tempting to spend all night pretending to do your homework on those laptaps the school made us buy you. But, please, there are only 6 more weeks of school left. Do the work.
Brush your teeth. Well. Without me threatening to “do something drastic” if you don’t. I don’t understand why you put up such a fuss about 4 minutes of daily activity. Or why I have had to remind you twice a day, every day, for the last decade to brush. Just brush your dang teeth.
For 48hours, don’t injure yourselves. Or each other. That means no stupid mock-wrestling on the couch that could result in an ER visit. Or pummeling each other with basketballs then taunting the loser. Refrain from behavior in the Annoying with Intent to Hurt category until I get home.
Flush the toilet. There will be non-family members in the house.
Be nice to your dog. At least, she’ll miss me, so you might have to step in and provide care.
Off to Vegas!
Embracing my Chaos, Lian