8.18.2008

Quaking with joy

As school resumes here in Redding, CA, seismologists report that they pick up actual Richter-scale readings from tremors caused by thousands of parents simultaneously doing the annual Dance of Great Happiness.

Parents rejoice because they know that -- for the next nine months -- their kids will be locked away seven hours a day in the care of others. Anticipating that they'll finally get some peace around the house, parents secretly dance themselves into exhaustion, then collapse in their filthy homes.

Yes, the beginning of the school year always is just cause for celebration. For work-at-home parents like me, it can be the source of outright delirium.

(Not that it wasn't wonderful to have my two sons home all summer. I wouldn't want to make that impression, particularly if the proper authorities happen to be reading this.)

The back-to-school exuberance doesn't last, of course. Eventually, parents must settle down and face the work before them. After a summer of children, the house and yard resemble a trailer court after a tornado. Clutter, clutter everywhere.

Sighing parents pick themselves up from their sofas and start putting away the flotsam of summer -- the swimsuits and the camping gear, the board games and the coloring books, the Game Boys and the baseball gloves. They uncover floors that must be mopped and furniture that must be dusted and Mystery Food under beds that must be disposed of immediately by teams in "hazmat" suits.

It takes a while to accomplish it all, but industrious parents can have the house back in shape around the time their kids bring home the school year's first report cards.

For parents who work in home offices, the beginning of the school year also signals the time to buckle down and get some work done. With the kids gone, we have no more excuses. All the unfinished work that accumulated over the summer must now be tackled.

Parents who allow themselves to be overwhelmed will find they don't get much accomplished. And, whoops, next thing you know, it's summer again.

Here, then, are some basic steps for stay-at-home parents who need to get back to work:

1. Find your desk.
2. Remove all clutter from desk, especially food byproducts and dirty socks.
3. Get organized. (This varies from person to person. Some consider themselves organized when their home office resembles a landfill. Others want to actually be able to find invoices, etc.)
4. Prioritize. Check those projects and deadlines, and categorize them according to which are most urgent.
5. Get busy. Grab hold of that most urgent work and get it done, then move onto the next.
Remember the clock is ticking: The school year won't last forever.

Work-at-home parents who follow these simple steps will find they can return to a productive lifestyle now that the children are safely back in school. They might even find that they make some money as they focus on work without distractions.

And that's a good thing. We parents need money. We've got to buy new dancing shoes.

1 comment:

clitav said...

I feel What you are saying Steve! I am an artist with my studio at home. Since I had all four of my G kids here for the Summer, I have just TODAY "recouped" my studio from Grandma's Summer School Of The Arts!"