Raise your hand if you are a parent who misses the lazy days of summer *all hands and one foot up in the air* I love summer. I love wearing flip flops, outdoor activities become even more fun, and hello, WATERPARKS. But over the years as my kids have gotten older, the fighting and attitude is nonstop and exhausting. Red said something the other day (that I will not repeat for fear of looking like a terrible parent) that prompted me to tell him, “You are phasing out of the stage where saying something like that is cute and is venturing into getting your ass kicked territory.” I love my kids with all my heart. But it is possible to love your kids and still be terrified of being at home with them over the summer. So to try and keep my anxiety to a minimum, I am stockpiling my arsenal. This includes a preparedness kit for myself, a summer bucket list for the kids, and sticking to a schedule that will benefit us all.
I have three hearts tattooed on the inside of my right wrist. The hearts represent my family as a reminder of why I get up in the morning and to have patience with all that I do. Reminding myself this summer to have patience and to take deep breaths will be a daily occurrence. It is easy to forget this when you have one child who won’t clean up their room even though you have asked 1,542,639,587 times and the other one other repeats everything you say. And when that doesn’t work, dark chocolate Ghiradelli squares hidden throughout the house for emergencies. I also pledge to get up one hour before the kids each weekday to enjoy peace, quiet, and get some writing done. I will go out one night a week by myself to see a movie, walk around Target with a Chai tea, or browse my favorite bookstore. While at Target I will pick up a journal to write down all the curse words I will need to write down when both kids either say, “I didn’t do it!” or “So and so just did this to me!” and also a whistle to get their attention (sorry my dear neighbors). And my last saving grace will be an “I’m Bored” jar filled with tasks (the thought of making a list of these tasks fills me with such glee).
As for the kids, I know the key to keeping the attitude and fighting level low is to keep them busy. There will be bike rides, park play time, (outdoor) arts and crafts, running in the sprinklers, the local pool, and library trips. There will be lots of reading (my goal is for the three of us to read Artemis Fowl together and to introduce Red to Roald Dahl), prep work for the upcoming grade, and writing exercises.
We are continuing our summer bucket list tradition for the sixth year in a row (this will definitely be one of my crowning achievements as a mother). Our plans for the summer include:
- Vacation to Seattle, WA and Portland, OR with family
- Knotts Berry Farm (DUH)
- Cousin visit
- LA days
- California Science Center
- OC Fair
- Wish List: Disneyland’s California Adventure
The biggest challenge I will face this summer will be limiting screen time, be it video games and YouTube. I know I will fail some days. I hope to show the kids that I will also be holding myself accountable for screen time and not just them. I always feel so much better when I walk away from my phone for an extended period of time (and I get so much done!).
Are you counting down the days until summer? What do you have planned?
I hope you find passion and happiness this weekend!