In a few weeks, my kids will put down their pencils and art supplies at school and head home with me for the summer. They’ll hang their backpacks up for a few months and be all mine. Like moms everywhere, I am equal parts excited and intimidated by this process.
As I count how many weeks of school are left on our calendar, I’m staring down the barrel of keeping my kids busy, not fighting with each other, and not turning their brains to total mush in front of screens all summer.
If this sounds familiar, great. You are my people.
On days when life is good, my three kids are fun people to be around. They have that elusive ability to be kind to each other and play together if the planets are properly aligned and a butterfly flapped its wings somewhere across the globe.
During summer, we love sleeping in, not having to be anywhere in the mornings, and not having a set daily agenda. We can just go if we want, whenever we want.
On other endless summer days, our home resembles one long episode of The Three Stooges. These days scare me. They are the days when I tend to raise my voice, banish them to three different corners of the house, use the time out chair excessively, create lots of phrases that begin with “If you do this, …” or just let them watch too much TV because I know they’ll calm down that way.
I’m not here to wax poetic or to offer a Pinterest-worthy “101 Things to Do with Your Children This Summer That Are Free, Educational, 100SPF, Crafty, and Perfect.” I’m not that mom. I have writer friends who are those moms, and if you need recommendations, I’m happy to pass their names along.
Here’s the thing. I want to strike a balance this summer.
I have never believed in creating the Summer of Perfection for my kids wherein I’m the cruise director and they’re the passengers whose only job is to sit back and watch me tap dance to entertain them and create shows and crafts each morning on Deck 3.
But I do want to give them memorable times this summer…not just a vacation somewhere but fun things we did at home on a Tuesday or “that awesome bike ride when we got caught in the rain.” We like to camp. I want to take them fishing. I want to hike nearby trails with them and walk our old golden retriever around the neighborhood. I want them to remember the lobster dinner I *ahem* lovingly prepared.
I have a tendency to look up around the 4th of July and wonder what the hell we’ve been doing all summer. Where has the time gone? We said we wanted to do all these things, and we haven’t yet! I’m going to try my hardest to be in the summer moment as it begins.
My kids’ summer is from May 31 to August 15 this year. A friendly website helped me discover the exact amount of time I’ll have with my kids this summer.
We have 76 days. Two months and 15 days.
If we’re counting workdays and weekends, there are 54 weekdays and 22 weekend days.
Will we waste a lot of this time? Yes. Will my kids spend some of these hours fighting with each other? Of course. Will they have screen time when I’ve had enough? Sure.
But I’ll be trying. I have my summer Pinterest board all set up, and I’m adding to it. I’m not becoming the cruise director, but I want for all of us to have a fun summer. Please pass the lobster and the water hose. Thanks.