By Jeff Zbar | December 10, 2007
In a little over two weeks, our home and home office will enter a new reality: Winter break. When our three kids have time off from school, the home and home office find themselves in one of two states of being: Utter chaos and disarray, or a blissful state of auto-pilot. After 19 years spent working from home — 16+ of those years with kids in the home office — keeping the place organized, controlled and chaos-free has become a fairly simplified process.
Now and always, I remind them of the rules. First, when at all possible, schedule a playdate with a friend or schoolmate — at his or her house. I don’t want the cacophony around here. Second, if you must hang out at our home, be mindful that your father is working. No (too) loud noises, no making the dog bark (not that he needs too much help with this), and no totally rambunctious behavior that will require my intervention. And third (and this is pretty important), leave no mess. Play videogames, go swimming, take out every piece of athletic equipment we own — just put it away when you’re done.
Stating this last rule serves two purposes: One, it keep the home tidy and organized (duh!). And two, just stating it reminds them it has to be done and gives me ammo for later if they didn’t do it to say, “Didn’t I tell you….” Any field general, drill sergeant or jail guard (take your pick, depending on the state of your own home during kids’ holidays) must have the upper hand.
So enjoy your kids’ holidays. Stay atop the chaos. And remember to spend some time with them. Pretty soon, I know my kids won’t need my activity or participation. And it’ll be those times that I wish I had more time to spend with them — just without the clutter and chaos.