When it comes to morale on a long passage, you’ve really got two options: sail very fast all the time, or bribe crew with treats. Since Mother Nature has blessed us with a striking high pressure system, fast sailing is fond memory, replaced by loud lumbering motoring. So naturally, I turn to food porn in order to keep spirits high. Since I am galley wench to an all male, predominantly tweenage crew, delectable delights may differ than other vessels in the fleet. The afternoon cheese plate of Brie and olives, is exchanged for cheesy poofs. There will be no yelling today from the wench about taking care not to wipe their grease laden cheese product encrusted stubby fingers on my fancy new cushions. Oh no, I must resist and silently defunk the pillows as to not disturb morale. “Mom, can I have a soda, with my Lucky Charms?”
“Of course darling, why not get the big bowl out?”
Really, all you have to do is randomly splurge, cave in frankly, on any and all normal parenting rules. Kids respond really well to inconsistency from their parents. It allows them to practice finding purchase in the ever shifting, conflicting sands of life. You know they’ve got it nailed when, upon hearing from one parent that, “No, you may not start watching Lord of the Rings Trilogy at 9pm,” they quietly and quickly seek out the other parent, who of course responds, “That’s a fantastic idea. Make room on the couch for me. Go grab Mom’s candy stash!” Spoiling kids is sea is a unique skill set that should only be deployed with great caution and the proper training. Specifically, prerequisites include that children should already be well mannered and diverse eaters, understand the importance of and generally practice good personal hygiene, and ultimately realize this sort of fantasy lifestyle only lasts as long as the passage. Then it’s back to “life as normal”. Or as “normal” as it gets when you are living on a boat, sailing around the globe. But for now, go ahead and have that fifth peanut butter M&M cookie – don’t forget to wipe your mouth on the pillow!