Beating the children…

Santa Fe, New Mexico… Mountains, fresh air, and peace.  Or not.

We went for another contract job to put us on the road and bank some cash. The deal was to work in the office for a week or so then on to a job site somewhere in the country. Autonomy with a couple to few months on our own to run a job.

Getting there from Austin was exciting and the scenery beautiful.  Santa Fe’s a place we have loved visiting… for about a week. The job changed abruptly when we arrived to an indefinite office job. Not our cup of sunshine in so many ways yet here we are in Santa Fe with just enough to rent a place and eat until our first paycheck.

Santa Fe’s economy is based on tourism and retirement. Most locals seem pissed at the wealthy they serve and we landed in between as working class. Not local nor rich. Not retired nor touring. Santa Fe’s charm wore out quick for us with dad working a 9-5 desk job.

The frustration and boredom hit the kids and bickering ensued. Dad’s leaving early and coming home tired and I hit the boiling point while deciding between another day at the plaza or emo encrusted mall. The kids woke up bickering again about toenails and smells… I screamed. REALLY loud. The gay transient writer neighbor spooked. Again. He never quite grasped how this crazy family could ‘live’ next to him in a tiny 1/1 vacation duplex.

Okay. I really screamed WTF!!!! You’re all driving me crazy and I swear to god I’m moving to Canada with my chi-chi and you can all kiss it and feed your own damn selves! Slamming the door behind me I discovered a lack of chi-chi. Re-entering reminds me why I love these little shits as they all sat there with horrified puppy dog eyes. Was it the fear of feeding themselves? Dealing with dad’s logic without me? Or just because they had hidden chi-chi…

Homeschooling ensues

Silence. I had ’em right where I wanted ’em. Paralyzed and quiet with fear. Looking at me with the ‘she’s really pissed’ knowledge a parent dreams of. A perfect time to do me some teaching.

Math & scheduling through a typical day, we added up all the bickering. Five minutes a session by seven days a week we came up with 448 hours of bickering a year. We actually came up with a crap-load of different numbers, but at least they learned days in a year and maybe some math. We happen to suck at math but dad ended up confirming that 448 is a really cool number. 448 hours wasted in a year – bickering. Time for another bnf project.

Open Mouth, Insert Wisdom…

Winging the entire conversation from the start and feeling like a really bad ass teacher I had no idea where this was going. Thinking I have to hold them accountable to this number, this is what came out:

You know what you’re gonna do?!?  You’re gonna give the universe back 448 hours. I don’t care if it’s a year or your whole life, you are going to do something positive.  Pick whatever, but it only counts when the three of you work together. You guys got yourself into this, and you’re getting yourselves out.

In true bnf kids form they nodded, smiled, and started throwing out ideas. They completed 448 hours of service in just over two years working together.

And so it goes – we learned that our kids want to be held accountable and physically beating them puts us at risk and just pisses them off. Beating them with a little wisdom just feels good… though I’m only a few ‘she’s looking at me wrong‘ and I will move to Canada with chi-chi.

Anyone seen chi-chi?


448 hours in the kids words

448 hours in pictures

448 hours summary

9/07 – Walked/fundraise 10 miles for Isaac’s Rock || 10/07 – Mailed rocks/fundraise for Isaac’s Rock || 11/07 – Children in Service with Amala Foundation || 11/07 – Walked for LoveJustis || 12/07 – Served Mcbees/Lehrs with other kids || 12/07 – Children in Service with Amala Foundation || 12/07 – Artwork for retirement home || 1/08 – Service for Lehr funeral & memorial || 7/08 – Volunteered with Camp Indigo || 11/08 – Fed homeless breakfast tacos || 12/08 – Volunteered at Cap Area Food Bank || 12/08 – 3/09 – Served at Food Bank

Hey there Isaac

Thank you!


2 Replies to “Beating the children…”

  1. Hi, BNF. I just found you guys as I was doing some research on doing school on the road. My kids are 10 and 13 and this is the third year we’ve been doing the school at home thing. Our work allows us some travel, following a trade show. For the last few years, we have only traveled for about three weeks at a time, but it looks like we will leave next month for a four month stretch. We’d love to work up to even more than that. You guys are my new heroes. I’ve been scanning your site for an hour or so, and THIS post is the greatest thing I’ve read in a long time. I posted it on my FB. I’m proud of you guys for making it work for so many years and I wish you all the best as your kids graduate to adulthood.

    1. Hi Sherry – great to hear from you! Good luck with the road and biz and school and all.
      Thanks for your kind words. They led us to re-read that post, very special times for us.
      Please come find us on facebook- bare nakedfamily (Jenn’s page), barenakedfamily fan page.
      Hope to see you all out there someday!
      All our best,
      -Greg, Jenn, Austin, Kesley, Sunny

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