Spring Break Is A Problem When Mom Is Not Feeling Well!


Spring break is different this year. For some kids, it means not going to school for a week. For others, it means not going to school for another week. Either way, the kids are home! Yay.

For parents who have to go off to work every day, this creates a childcare challenge. For parents who are working from home, it’s a challenge of another kind.

In a way, my daughter Jen’s one of the lucky ones. She works virtually three or four days a week, only going into her corporate office once, and her husband is always home, tending to the family farm, growing microgreens for high-end restaurants that are serving up to 75 percent less customers than they used to.

But just because both parents are home doesn’t mean things are hunky-dunky.

“The kids have gone feral,” Jen complains. “Yes, they are learning to be more independent, but is it really good to pull out the kitchen cabinet drawers to use as stair steps? I know darn well that’s how they’re getting to the cereal.”

And, if one parent is down, it creates a real problem for the other.

Yesterday was such a day. Jen told her husband she had a raging headache and wanted to lie down for a while. He was good with that. He’d take the kids out to the greenhouse, he said.

Jen hadn’t been in her bed long when her door slowly opened with a squeak and a little hand reached in, pressed a sticky note onto the back side of the door and retreated.

The note showed two eyes with long eyelashes, a pair of lips and some (backward) Zs. Underneath the artwork, it read, “Mama.”

Another minute went by, the hand came back, and another sticky note got placed on top of the first. It showed two eyes, a straight line for a mouth, two frowning eyebrows and it read, “Papa.”

The third note showed two hollow eyes and a big Jack-o-Lantern grin, but it had been both crossed out and crunched up. It read, “Skippy” (her brother).

And the fourth note — Tess, of course — showed a frown and tears running down from two eyes with very long beautiful eyelashes.

Jen thought the kid was done, but then — to recap or perhaps make things crystal clear — a fifth note was slapped onto the back of the door that read, “Skippy (crossed out). Papa (crossed out). Mama (checkmark). Tess (checkmark).”

When Jen texted these to me from her sickbed, I said, “A cryptic cry for help! What are you going to do?”

She responded, “She’s back outside now, the little drama queen. I hadn’t been in here 15 minutes when she started with this. She’ll be fine.”

Tough love.

In the meantime, Skippy scraped his knee so badly that Jen’s husband had to treat it and wrap it in gauze. When Jen came downstairs, he was dragging his leg around like a zombie. “It’s amazing that anyone is even alive,” she said.

Ah, “spring break.”