Blogger, Writer, Urban Adventurer
My daughter has a week left of school. I counted. I counted not out of dread, but out of anticipation. Summer is my favorite season and not just because of the vacations, the visiting friends, the (finally) open pools or the camps we’ve signed up for. As a mostly stay-at-home mom, summer means I get to stop doing many of the necessary tasks it takes to keep our home running during the school year. For the 94 days of summer break, I get to…
Stop feeling guilty for not volunteering enough
I love our kids’ schools. I love our PTO. Heck, I am on the executive board of the PTO! It takes a lot of volunteer hours to run the constant stream of fundraisers, class parties, teacher appreciations, field days, field trips and other school events that need parental support to happen. But by the end of the year, it’s safe to say I’m burned out. While my own personal mantra has always been to not over commit myself, it seems its in our DNA as women to feel like we aren’t doing enough. This is especially true if you have different aged kids at different schools. The formula seems to be: (Number of Kids) x (Number of Schools) = Increase in Emails and Overall Guilt/Stress. This week all three of our kids are singing in spring programs—on the same day, at the same time, at two different locations. Solve that one for me, please! During the summer though, the guilt lessens dramatically as we are not at the mercy of any other schedule other than the one we create for ourselves.
Stop packing lunches
I really want to be that person that has all of the kids’ lunches packed neatly the night before, but I am just not. I am the mom digging in the fridge 10 minutes before schools starts to see if we have ANY remaining carrot sticks that are passable for consumption. While I realize I will still need to feed my kids over the summer, I am looking forward to not being in a rush while doing it. Plus, we all prefer hot quesadillas to soggy sandwiches.
Stop being the homework hoverer
We have been pretty lucky so far and not had a ton of homework. That being said, I can’t wait to have none. While the homework itself may not be that laborious, getting my child to sit down and focus on it, well that is a whole different matter. If it takes her five minutes to complete one worksheet, I can guarantee you that I spent 15 minutes telling her to sit down work on it. I get it, she has been in school all day and sitting still is the last thing she wants to do. That turns me into the bad guy nagging at her to finish her work. Once it is summer and the pressure is off, I see the kids more naturally pick up books to read or ask for help writing a letter. It is much more fun when they choose to do these tasks organically and I feel less like a tyrant.
Stop keeping up with everything
Is today pajama day? Did you pack your library books? Is it the teacher’s birthday? Did we contribute to the class end-of-the-year gift? Is it show-and-tell? Each week brings new opportunities for me to drop the ball. I consider myself a pretty organized person, but our backdoor is still full of sticky note reminders of what we need to be responsible for each week. This is not a full-proof system and stuff slips through the cracks on the regular. I welcome the chance to free up this space in my brain for more important things to remember like, are we out of toilet paper? Probably.
Stop the afternoon rush
I calculated it. I am pretty sure I spend approximately 63 percent of my day yelling, “We are going to be late, get in the car!” A packed afternoon is somehow unavoidable once your kids get after school commitments. Even with Type A planning and deliberate intention not to over schedule our kids, every day I feel like I am running some sort of insane interval training camp. You have 30 minutes to finish your homework! You need to be dressed in 10 minutes for dance class! We need to be in the car in 5 minutes or we will be late! As soon as school is out, I drop nearly all of our activities. No more dance. No more swim lessons. No more regular music lessons. No. More. The break is good for us and they always seem excited to get back to classes in the fall. Summer is meant for free time and learning the true meaning of, “I am bored.”
Stop setting an alarm
Why is it that kids seem to rise with the sun on Saturdays, but have to be dragged out of bed kicking and screaming on school days? I am going to be elated when I can stop setting my weekday alarm and attempt to teach our young children the art of sleeping in. Sure, my daughter’s new found desire to join swim team is going to mess up my fantasy of sleeping past 8am, but even swim team practice starts later than school and none of us need to be remotely presentable at the pool.
Stop nagging about bedtimes
With all of the rushing around we are doing, bedtime is key. Not only do the kids need to be well rested for school, but I need them to go to sleep for my cherished few hours of alone time or adult conversation with my spouse. I still need them to go to sleep over the summer too, but much like weekends I am less worried about getting them out of bed in the morning. We can be more lax about routines and let them run around in the backyard with neighbors until the street lamps come on. It is no where near the freedom I had as a kid, but it is a taste of the sweet life of utter exhaustion from play and going to bed dirty.
Stop missing my elementary kid
One of the biggest surprises for me when our oldest started “real school” was how much I missed her and our flexibility. While you technically can pull them out of school, you don’t do it and especially not for something like wanting to visit the zoo on a weekday. We still have two pre-schoolers at home and I can see that our oldest is a bit jealous when she learns that we spent the day at the park or visiting a museum. For three months, we get to have her back with us exploring the city creating new memories. While not every day is unicorns and rainbows, I do think that summer is a special time for families. I am also keenly aware that we are rapidly approaching a parenting sweet spot. A time when our kids can play mostly independently, but are still young enough to enjoy spending the majority of their time together as a family unit. I know in not too long, we will start playing second fiddle to their friendships. For now, I am holding on for dear life and making the most of our summers.
Stop missing friends
With every passing year, our kids’ social circles seem to grow. They have made friends from school, preschool, church and various after school activities. Trouble is, they will ask to see these friends and you will have no time to do so during the school year. That’s when summer is at its best. We all suddenly go from being over booked to terribly under booked and scrambling to fill up our days to wear these kids out. Suddenly there will be texts to meet up at the park, offers for play dates and you’ll finally get some time to reconnect with friends you don’t get to see nearly as much as you’d like. In fact, I have already gotten my first, “You plan to be around all summer right? Because we plan to spend the whole thing at the pool.” Yes. Count us in.