Today is the last day of the year and the last day of a week that some call the most productive week of the year.

I’m not so sure that term fits for work-at-home moms like me.

In fact, I’m not sure productivity is the highest goal during a school vacation.

The week started with after Christmas cleanup: finding homes for new toys, putting things together, taking down decorations.

I got a new laptop for Christmas and I spent what felt like much of Monday trouble shooting with technical support about a webcam that wouldn’t work. After more than three hours on the phone trying various fixes that didn’t work, I stood in a long line at Best Buy to return the first laptop. Then I stood in another line waiting to purchase another one. (The new laptop is working fine.)

I worked a three day week spread out over five this week, working during early mornings while my kids watched Phineas and Ferb and on two longer days when my sitter came by to help out with the kids. I didn’t have any expectations of getting any work done for my own business, and I didn’t. (Evidence: see neglected blog, here.)

Mid morning Wednesday, when a colleague called me for a scheduled meeting, I had to ask for a few extra minutes to deal with a puddle on the bathroom floor and one daughter who didn’t make it to the potty in time. When she called me back a few minutes later, I closed my office door to the happy noises of kids at play, and prayed for an interruption free meeting (didn’t happen.)

On Thursday morning, while talking with a friend on a somewhat business related topic, I had to end a phone call because one daughter was (literally) screaming and stomping right in front of me.

At some point during those days, I realized that this might not become my most productive week of the year.

An article I once read outlined some tips to make your week the most productive week of the year, whether you are working or not.

The author wrote that during this week there would be “fewer distractions and… in general less competition for your time and attention.”

Not so!

Not since summer have there been this many beautiful distractions in my home and such competition for my time and attention. My email box may be emptier but the barrage of real life requests from my girls is unending. One daughter wants to bake; another has a stack of new books from Christmas that she’d like me to read to her.

Can we have a chips and salsa party? Can I go out on the deck in my bare feet to dance in the snow? I’m BORED. Can we use our new glitter pens? What’s for lunch? I want a friend to come over. Why are you still WORKING? She hit me. 

During this week we enjoyed:

  • an impromptu birthday party for my now five year old, with bouncing, slides, friends, and brownies from a box (because that’s what she wanted.)
  • some Skype calls with some friends and family far away (thank you, new laptop with a working webcam!)
  • company for lunch, with home baked bread and soup that everyone helped to make.
  • lunch out with my brother and his family, five girls all together.
  • cozy fires and lots of time for reading aloud together.
We also endured:
  • some hair-pulling and hitting.
  • tears.
  • some already broken Christmas gifts.
  • one girl sick in the middle of the night.

When I approach this week next year, it will not be with an expectation of productivity but of surrender (thank you, Susan Mazza.)

I’ll realize that though I may not have the most productive week of the year, it will be a rich week: a week of flexibility and negotiation, perhaps; a week of making memories; a messy week; a fun week; a week full of love and cuddles; a week of interruptions; a noisy week; a sometimes-crazy week; a joyful week; an up and down week; a week for choices and plans and the unexpected.

Just like the rest of the year.