Two weeks ago, before my dad's heart surgery, I was down in the dumps. I wanted nothing more than to sleep all day and stay up all night and to pretend that the housework wasn't piling up just outside the peripheral vision of my DVRed TV shows. I was forcing myself to do the things that I was absolutely required to do -- get up to take the kids to school, make lunches, wash enough clothes so that everyone had underwear and jeans (and to make sure that at least 1 pair of yoga pants was clean.) I was in a funk. So the Friday before dad's procedure on Monday that ended up as triple by-pass surgery, I got up and took the 2 oldest to school and then came back home and got back into bed. The 2 youngest were still asleep. What was the worst that could happen?
Well, as it turns out, A LOT can happen when you go back to sleep and leave a 3 and almost 5 year old to fend for themselves for half a morning and almost none of it is good. At some point between 8:30 and almost noon, they woke up and went to get themselves breakfast. They did not even try to wake me up. Breakfast consisted of about 2 Pop-Tarts each. Now, the Pop-Tarts that they opened and ate off of to accomplish this was more like 12, but if you added up what they had eaten off of each Pop-Tart, it DID total about 2 apiece. They chased this down with no fewer than 7 Capri-Sun pouches and 5 semi-eaten yogurt cups. All in all not a bad selection for a couple of preschool kids who could've gone straight for the candy drawer. The problem wasn't what they had eaten, or even the fact that they had opened up numerous packages of things, but it was the fact that they had undone all of the straightening up that I had forced myself to do the night before. (Notice I DID NOT say "cleaning" as that would imply that great efforts had been made to scrub, dust, vacuum, etc. when in fact it was mostly just putting things away so that I could do some of that other stuff the next morning).
As I woke up and checked my phone for the time and realized that it was nearly noon, a wave of panic hit me. It was quiet. Were my kids even SAFE? Had they snuck out while I was in my apathetic coma??! Oh crap, what if they were wandering the neighborhood in their pajamas?!! I bolted out of bed, swung open the bedroom door, and was met with the first indication that the kids were still there -- in the hall bathroom was proof that they had been occupied with destroying my house and not the rest of the neighborhood: A sink full of dinosaurs and other random crap.
As I continued out into the rest of the house, I stepped over empty Capri-Sun pouches and Pop-Tart wrappers until I came to the epicenter of the natural disaster known as my children: the den. When I had retired to bed the night before, it had been picked up and ready to vacuum. Luckily, my kids know how much I hate cleaning and had done this so it would not be possible.
I should have been shocked, angered, or dismayed by their actions, but I wasn't. I was thankful that this was all that they had done. Based upon their known sleeping habits, I figure that they had been left to their own devices for approximately 2 hours -- maybe a little less. There were no holes in the walls, nothing was on fire, they had not left the house, and they had even fed themselves. And as a result of their self-entertaining, I got to sit down with my coffee and say "Now put that bin back in the cubby and fill the next one. Don't forget these blocks over here on the stairs. Remember that you still have to go rinse and dry off all of your dinosaurs." And other useful directions to them while they cleaned up the messes that they had made. That kept them busy until it was time to go and get their brother and sister from school, and then the 4 of them quickly finished up.
I do not recommend this type of behavior for any mother unless you want Child Protective Services to take your kids away, and I will not be rolling the dice again any time soon by sleeping in and letting the minions wreak havoc on our home. But for me, this one time, the results were not terrible. At least not if you know anything about my kids. All things considered, they acted like little angels. At least I got a few extra hours of sleep.