dirty dishesMy kids just got back from sleep-away camp. I have no problem with them being gone, I don’t get weepy and I definitely don’t have a problem knowing what to do with myself while they aren’t here. I know they’re having a great time, and I love having the break.

However, my house and my schedule seem to have a huge problem with them not being here.

Without my kids, apparently, the structure of my day goes into free fall and I live like a frat boy in the last month of his senior year.

You see, I work from home. Ninety percent of the time I make my own hours and have complete control over my schedule. And while the kids were gone, I worked a lot. But without the outside force of an office to go to every day, or kids to get up and get out the door, my mornings got later and later, as did my bedtime.

Some days I never got around to showering. I wasn’t leaving the house anyway. And with nobody around to cook for (my husband was working a lot also), delivery was my friend. What few dishes I did use, piled up.

There were no other kids coming over to play, so why bother vacuuming and straightening up? I sure didn’t care what the place looked like.

Without the pressure of getting things done before the kids got home, many days were spent messing around on non-work things, and then evenings and after-midnight hours were spent trying to catch up.

All in all, it was a relief to have them back, to have some kind of structure imposed on me from an outside force, because I sure as hell proved that I wasn’t going to impose it on myself.

I’ve often wondered how long I will keep up that kind of lifestyle once the kids are off to college and gone for months, rather than weeks. I didn’t live like that before having kids. My house was clean because I wanted it that way. I was showered because that’s what grown-ups do.

But somewhere along the way, the constant nagging daily pressure of taking care of other people’s needs built up to a point where, given the opportunity to live like a complete and total slob, I took it.

In a way, it felt deliciously freeing. I really did enjoy it. But I’m glad it’s over. Too much of a good thing is just too much.

Do you take it easy while your kids are gone, or do you use it as an opportunity to get organized?