Raise your hand if you get excited for back-to-school commercials. I know I do! From the time I was a little girl all the way to being a teacher with my very own classroom, I have loved “back-to-school season”. The last two years I have been less than enthusiastic, however, because my little bitties don’t actually go to school, and therefore don’t actually need supplies. I feel like I’ve missed out on all the excitement.
When I was a teacher, I always gave myself the month of June “off” to relax and recoup from the previous school year. But the day after July 4th, man I was back in the classroom! Researching, writing lesson plans, and getting my classroom ready for the next set of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed little people that would walk through my classroom door in August!
Now as a stay-at-home-mom, the 4th of July doesn’t signal the “return to work” that it used to for me. The last few years as a parent, the 4th has been lackluster to say the least. Instead of parades, I am laying the baby down for his morning nap. Instead of fireworks, I am cursing the noise praying it doesn’t wake up a sleeping child. And instead of waking up on the 5th ready to get back into school-mode, I’m caught wondering if I should be doing that Pinterest activity with the kids I saw a couple of days ago or if I should just keep watching Kelly & Ryan.
If you’ve read my earlier posts, you’ll know that I don’t fancy myself a world-class SAHM. And summer is, I feel like, the most difficult season to be at home with little ones. I have visions of grandeur going into it, but alas my enthusiasm tends to fizzle, and I stick to what I know my kids will enjoy: cartoons, endless hours in the sandbox, playing with friends once or twice a week, and being served PB&J and veggie straws every day for lunch. These things pass the time, sure, but they leave me feeling like I’m failing my children in some way. It could just be my millennial sensitivities, given we are apparently all about overstimulating and over-scheduling our children. But there has to be a balance.
I have so many fond memories of my summers as a child. I lived in a cul-de-sac for several years, and those are some of the happiest times I can recall! Riding bikes, taking trips to museums, melting crayons on the concrete- living the life! I feel the pressure of those things for my children. I want for them the same happy memories that I have. But alas I find myself in a “summer slump”. And I’m trying to get over it by doing a few simple things.
1) Get out of the house. It takes a lot of energy to get little people dressed, packed up and out the door! But making the effort for an adventure is worth it. Even if that “adventure” is going through the drive through at Chick-Fil-A on the way to get a car wash. I’ve recently backed off of my ambition and willingness to get outside, so I’m going to make more of an effort to get out of the house at least for a little bit everyday- or every other day- for the remainder of the summer.
2) Find an acountabili-buddy. Ask a friend to help you make the effort to get out of the house and go somewhere together! The park and zoo can be fun destinations with friends in the morning when it’s cooler. And the neighborhood pool or a splash pad can keep your babes occupied in the afternoon. Find a crazy craft that you’d never have the guts to undertake by yourself and do it with friends! The kids will love the company, and you’ll have a partner to help you clean up the mess.Win-win.
3) Make the most of free events! Lots of towns across the country do summer concert series, movies in the park, and have food truck festivals during the summer months. Find a few of these and go! Pack a picnic and some blankets and enjoy people watching and listening to music while your kiddos run around and enjoy themselves too!
4) Do mundane things in creative ways. Vacuuming, dishes, grocery shopping- all of these things have to get done. Why not spice them up a little bit? Involve your kids, even the littles, by having them race to see who can gather the most toys for the toy bin, and give them a prize! Time yourself when vacuuming or doing dishes and give yourself a “treat” (aka a cocktail) if you finish before the timer goes off!
5) Set some time aside for yourself. Ask your partner, a family member, or a friend to watch your kids every once in a while to get out for some “me time”. Get a pedicure. Grab a coffee. Walk the aisles at Target. Whatever! Sometimes that’s all it takes to hit “reset” and come back to your family refreshed and ready for more summer fun!
Take some time in the next few days to think about the things that make summer so much fun with family and friends, then make it a priority to do them! I know I’m certainly excited to bring life back to my, and my kids’, summer!
What are some things you like to do with your kids during the summer? How do you get over the midsummer slump?