Is anyone else asking themselves what happened to the last 3 months?? (Maybe you're wondering what happened to the last 3 years or just the last 3 days... at any rate you know how I feel, mom.)
Today was my kids' last day of school for the year. I'm sitting on the precipice of another summer. This was my first year of "freedom" - two kids in school full time. It felt good. But as predicted I packed every possible moment with housework, volunteering, writing, and working at my "real job" (ie. the one I actually get paid to do).
And it makes me wonder, how will I ever scale back and just enjoy the lazy days of summer?? How can I embark on a summer of fun and adventure without feeling like I'm staring into the abyss? I've done an unofficial survey of other moms I know and there's a mix of emotions. Some are ecstatic to have kids at home this summer; others are dreading it. I have a funny feeling the first group isn't telling the whole truth. There are a lot of hours to fill and without a plan things can get scary in a hurry.
So here's my oversimplified plan to make our summer one that is fun for mom and kids, memorable, and everyone makes it to the next school year thankful for our time together.
Stock up on: sidewalk chalk, bubbles, hula hoop(s), water guns, Popsicles. Don't forget the (video)camera and sunscreen!
PS. On a side note, I don't know how moms working a full-time job outside the home manage their summers. I'd love to hear from those of you who juggle that responsibility. You are truly amazing!
Day 1 (Sunday) - Church only; that's enough for one day. Relax at home for the rest of the day while making a fun new slushie recipe or something similar. *Call kids friends to schedule a meet-up for later in the week.
Day 2 (Monday) - Chore day; it has to get done so why not do it on a Monday after everyone has slept in and played in their pajamas for a couple of hours? Finish the day with a bike ride to the library. *Be sure to pick out some books with science experiments, make your own game ideas, or kid-friendly recipes.
Day 3 (Tuesday) - You were in the house most of the day yesterday, so it's time to get out and play! Go to a local park, rec center or museum. Pack a lunch and plan on spending the day. Around here, we have tons of beautiful parks and several that have water features kids can play in (Belleview and Cornerstone Parks). Seek out these parks for the best bang for zero bucks!
Day 4 (Wednesday) - Start the day by cracking open those books you got at the library. Let the books guide your morning and try an experiment or new recipe. After lunch, consider what might be going on in your community just for kids. Our library has programs all summer long (click here for the Bemis Library calendar) *Make plans with hubby for what you'll do on Saturday.
Day 5 (Thursday) - Time to get out again! Go to the farmer's market or hit the air-conditioned mall - be sure to set a spending limit! Hit the food court for lunch, you spent almost nothing so far this week, after all. Let the kids log on to their favorite educational website in the afternoon or print some worksheets to keep the learning going all summer long.
Day 6 (Friday) - Make your backyard a splash zone! Get out the hose, water guns or other water toys and invite the neighbors. Snacks and lunch can be an outdoor activity today. Since everyone will be exhausted, this can be a movie night after a low-key dinner.
Day 7 (Saturday) - Family day! Whether you're just hanging at home or have big plans to go to the mountains, you're all together so savor it! Take a few minutes once everyone is in bed to upload photos and videos, sort and manage or publish them.
I'm not naive. I know this still leaves a lot of time unaccounted for. But just having a plan for something gives the day a rhythm that it would otherwise lack. And if you're like me, there's just something wonderful about not having any where you absolutely must be. When the kids are happy just to play contentedly at home, bask in it!
Don't forget that there are plenty of free activities to enjoy as a family all summer long. We're blessed to have our historical museum offering great evening concerts (see the list at Littleton Historical Museum - check out what's happening at Streets of Southglenn too) and a our local shopping center offers family movie nights (check it out at Aspen Grove).
What's your favorite summer activity? Share it here!