The past few weeks have been pretty stressful, OK - the past 20 years have been - that's why I have a blog. But the most recent craziness has been Spring Breaks 2009. The first week we had Lillie Barnes and Trip at home and they were fine. It was raining pitchforks and devils so we decided to go to a movies, rent a movie and chill around the house. It was great because Clay took a day off and we sorted out some closets that were used to "hide" things when we first moved into our new home last August. I finally had everything looking good on Thursday and was relaxing when Clay gets a last minute text from Kelsey (my stepdaughter, who lives outside of Charlotte) saying that she wanted to see us for her Spring Break the following week.
Those who know me know that I am a planner, I have a "list" and it is planned to the time my kids are in bed. I think I would go slap crazy without a plan, in fact, I did for a while and ended up on Cymbalta! Plans are my thing, so when Kelsey sent this text - which I know was really her Mom's idea, I had to shift and think....We do want to see her, but it is a 7 hour round trip for Clay...we promised we would get her anytime, but I TOLD her that we needed a months notice to PLAN. Clay ended up having to be in Charlotte on business that Friday, so she was coming home for a week. Once it was in my calendar, I went back to relaxing.
Kelsey will be 15 in May. She and I have been very close since she was 4 years old. Don't dare tell her Mom this because she thinks that I am a horrible, jealous and bitter stepmom. I think she has her mind set on it, so I learned years ago to just let it go. Kelsey is great, so funny and dramatic! We are two peas in a pod except for one thing...girlfriend is l-a-z-y! Especially when it comes to cleaning the house, or just after herself. Anytime we get Kelsey we always grab my niece Rachel Foster to stay too. She is also 15 and they have been sharing summers together since they were 6, it's a great friendship and I love it for them. Now that they are teenagers there is a lot more hanging out in the basement, playing video games and long dog walks where they take goofy pictures of themselves to post on facebook, or myspace. They keep it clean, trust me - I check!
I had almost survived two whole weeks of Spring Break with everyone here when on the last day I made a list of things for Kelsey and Rachel to do, even added some things for Lillie Barnes and Trip - age appropriate, of course! The teens had this: Make up bed, pack up clothes, clean the bathrooms, swiffer and vacuum everywhere. This is NOT a bad list, yet when I got home I could barely tell anything was done. Rachel had swiffered, clothes were still everywhere and the bathroom was scary! I started yelling and had to park it outside until I thought of this new family business plan...which I think is brilliant.
I brought the kids (including mine) into the den and sat them down. I explained to them that our house is a business, A business of living. Clay (Dad) is the CFO of this business, which means he pays for it all. I am the Director of Operations, which means I am in charge of it all. They are all my employees, which means that if they don't do what I ask them to do they will not get paid. I explained to them that their payment was not always toys or money. That was simply bonus for when they go above and beyond the list! I said they need to work in the house to pay for having hot running water, clean clothes and towels, food to eat and games to play, etc. I am not sure that they like the new business agreement. But they will definitely learn that in this home and ultimately in this life, nothing comes for free. Don't get me wrong, I adore my children and they get love, support and spoiling...but they will also get a lot more with these new rules. Respect!