Our family just finished our official school year on Friday, so we’re officially in summer vacation here. At this time of year, I’m always really struck by the responses that moms have to the upcoming three months. Many start complaining before their kids even walk out of the school building. For my friends who work outside the home, it’s a headache to arrange childcare (usually in the form of a series of “camps” that just happen to go from 8-5 M-F), and for my sahm friends whose kids are in school, there’s a panic about not knowing what to do with their kids when they’re around all the time. And we homeschoolers are burnt out and want a break. Few and far between are the mom friends (working or sah) who excitedly tell me how much they’re looking forward to spending more time together as a family this summer.
Why is that? What is so daunting about spending time with the little people we all would say we love more than life itself? Why would we cheerfully take a bullet for them but then face ten solid weeks of them with dread and disdain? This week, I’m going to share some thoughts on this topic, ending with suggested resources (but NOT a summer bucket list, because those always stress me out!).
First of all, remember that a change of routine is always hard. Last night after family worship, we explained to our kids that even though school is over, we still have some daily things we want to do. My rising third grader needs to nail down her math facts, my oldest needs to become more proficient in typing, my 6 year old has to keep plugging away at phonics, and we want them all to practice piano. Without our normal school day routine, we’ll need to figure out a way to make time for “summer school” subjects (I’m hoping for 10 or 20 minutes a day) without giving up the joy of long, open days of exploration, sunshine, and imagination. This is probably something we need to consciously prepare for.
As much as I would like summer vacation to mean I get to sleep in, the reality is that my kids are still up at 7. I still need to feed them three meals a day, get them in bed at a decent time, and make sure they have some much-needed down time during the course of the day. (Though no one here naps regularly anymore, we still do best when we have a calm color-or-read time after lunch.) A mother’s work is never done, and while I do have more flexibility and free time this summer, I’m going to spend most of it pre-reading middle grade fiction for my voracious 10- and 8- year old readers. Menu planning and grocery shopping will need to be adjusted for a looser summer schedule, but they still need to happen. If I intellectually accept the fact that I am still “on” for the summer, albeit in a different way, I am less grumpy about doing my mom job.
How about you? What is the biggest change in your routine with summertime?