It's Spring Alright, But Just WHO is Getting the Break? 


by Linda M. Sharp
I passed by those who looked like me. Battle-scarred, weary, eyes sunken and drawn. Forward, forward, urged on by the shrieking in our ears, the ceaseless poking, pulling and pushing of those who held us prisoner. As we marched along through the trenches, we acknowledged one another briefly, our captors ready to pounce should we stop to actually converse. Was it only one week before that our lives had been free, peaceful, filled with time to contemplate? What had happened? Where had these cruel, merciless ones come from? Diminutive in stature, yet verbose in temperament, they now ruled my every daylight moment. As I pushed my cart loaded with groceries and children down another aisle, I again looked up to gaze at those like me, and recognized that we were all on the verge of a Spring Breakdown!

Just who's idea was it anyway? Who thought it was a good idea to let loose all the children, at one time, at this time of the year? I mean, we have barely recovered from Christmas and New Year's vacation time, are finally ridding the house of the last remnants of holiday decorations, enjoying some semblance of peace and routine in our days, and then WHAM! Children everywhere you turn! The creator of Spring Break was surely a child. Or someone without children. Wait a minute.....same difference. If you have never tasted the nectar of freedom after having been held captive by a tiny one's needs for five years, you have not really achieved the status of Adult.

Having three daughters under the age of eight, my life up to last August was a cycle of pregnancy, nursing and playgroups. So used to having at least one small one with me at all times, I would don them like a piece of clothing and go about my business. When the youngest entered the hallowed halls of preschool last Fall, suddenly I was able to reclaim a small piece of my life. Three mornings a week, three hours at a time, I was free to grocery shop with no fear of chocolate contraband being dumped in the cart while my back was turned. I could go to WalMart and never even go near the toys or fish! On rare occasions, I could even meet friends for breakfast and not have to cut up anyone's waffles but my own! It may sound pathetic to those who do not yet have children, but these are HUGE milestones to those of us who are in the Diaper Changing Hall Of Fame.

Don't get me wrong, I love my children. I adore them. In fact, I worship the piles of toys and dirty clothes they walk on. But I now understand why my own mother was never near as thrilled as were her four children when school breaks rolled around. For us, it was time to sleep in, be lazy, hang with our friends, watch more TV and eat Twinkies at 10am (when she was busy doing laundry, of course. Sorry, Mom.) For her, it meant mediating multiple fights, never running an errand alone, and hearing continual complaints of how we were always out of Twinkies. Mom, I now feel your pain. In the past week, I have refereed twelve fights over Barbie (we only have 18), cleaned my house fifteen times (looking around, sixteen is coming up) and had my eardrums barraged as the tattle tale quotient has increased threefold.
Now, while some people plan family reunions, Hawaiian adventures and Disney-esque excursions around Spring Break, there are those of us who will be at home, trapped by scheduling conflicts, domesticity and our checkbooks. If we are lucky and the weather is nice, we will frequent parks, neighbors and the Mall for an Icee (tropical punch flavored, of course. Oooooo, can you say Aloha?)

In their defense, my daughters have had to put up with me as much as I have had to tolerate them. Poor things, made to help fold laundry, load the dishwasher and make their beds every morning. My middle daughter asked me outright, "Is this what you do all day long? How borrrrr-rrrrrring." No dear, actually I drop you at school and jet off to either Disney World, Las Vegas or the Golden Door Spa each day. She then articulated her desire for Monday to arrive so they may all go back to school. My darling child, I love you and your siblings with every ounce of my being, but allow me to be the first to say, "I SECOND THAT EMOTION!!!!!"
Forward the refugees stumbled, spurred on by the hope that their captors would free them, return them to their normal lives, or at the very least, march them past a drug store and allow them to have their Prozac prescriptions refilled . . .

Copyright 2000 by Linda M. Sharp. Reprinted with permission. 
Linda Sharp is an internationally published humorist who writes regularly on the joyous and frustrating world of parenting. Her work appears across the Internet and wraps around the globe in parenting publications from Canada to Malaysia.
Linda is co-creator of the award winning website,
Sanity Central — A Time Out From Parenting! Located at http://www.sanitycentral.com, it is totally irreverent, hysterical and packed with enough laughs to brighten even the weariest of parents! As a mother of three children (four if you count her husband), she firmly believes that laughter IS the best medicine. She may be reached via email at lsharp03@aol.com.