I love summer. I love the warmer weather. I love going to the pool and playing outside. I love that it’s light out later. I love that the kids don’t have school.
The things that I don’t love about summer are sunburn, bugs, ants, hot and stuffy rooms, and that summer shows me who I really am as a parent.
As much as we enjoy spending time in the sunshine together, our house can get so warm during the summer! You don’t always need to cool down your whole house though. Often cooling down a single room is the cheaper option and it’s way better for the environment. As you can imagine, our portable air conditioner comes in very handy over the summer vacation…
Ultimately, when I’m with our kids 24/7 with barely a break or quiet moment in sight, that’s when I know who I really am. I’m not as patient as I’d like. Or as tidy. Or as structured.
We always ease into summer with a slow transition and this summer is no different, except that it seems to have taken longer than usual for us all to adjust. And this summer is a little different in a few ways:
1. I’m working more than I have in past summers. I have more projects and deadlines than I have had any other summer. I don’t teach parenting classes in the summer so I typically don’t write very much. This summer I’m working on an overhaul of my class material and am transferring some of it into an e-course. I am also writing for some brands that I love.
2. Two of the girls are fighting more. They look like they’re complete opposites (kind of like oil and water) but the truth is, they are exactly alike. When the argue and fight it gets ugly quick. I’m working on being consistent with guiding them through working it out on their own but I’ll be honest, either I’m not teaching them in a way they can understand, they’re slow learners, or they just really enjoy arguing. Regardless, I keep plugging away at this phase because I know that sibling relationships are worth it.
3. The girls have been more tired than usual. The older girls are on a swim team this year and they are swimming every morning. I’m worried about them getting enough sleep and eating enough protein because they’re bodies are working hard every day, beyond just their regular playing outside.
4. Matt’s traveling more this summer. This is great for him and his business, however, this is harder for me because I don’t really get a break at all.
5. The girls are only doing 1 camp this year. Rebecca is doing a 2 week camp at her Montessori school with her best friend and the big girls will be doing an art camp at the art school. Beyond that, they’re with me all the time.
I had grand visions of getting a ton of things done around the house. I like schedule and routine so in my head it looked beautiful. In reality? Not so much. We’re working on getting into a groove that works for us and so far it’s changed a little every day. Because I work from home, I really needed to make sure we had some structure to our days.
Here’s what our summer schedule looks like:
I try to work first thing in the morning. The girls have a great morning routine that they have continued even though it’s not the school year. They’re the most self sufficient during this time and have the most patience. They also know that as soon as I get some work done, we can leave the house.
The big girls have swim team practice. Rebecca either brings something to do (usually this Crayola Color Wonder Travel Tote that we take everywhere) or she just watches swim practice.
We get home and everyone washes their hands and we all make lunch. I keep a few things prepped ahead of time (cut up apples, peeled carrots, washed strawberries) and the girls are very into sandwiches this summer. They make their own and take great pride in making them and usually someone makes mine too! (If you need lunch ideas that are easy and portable, there’s a list here.)
We try to do some quiet time. We typically read quietly to ourselves, I’ll read aloud from a chapter book (we just started Grace, the American Girl book), or they work in their Summer Bridge Activity Book. We also do some craft projects at this time. The girls are working on ironing fabric to sew their own lap quilt and we often play with Model Magic (which is gluten free, unlike other similar products).
We head outside. We either play in the yard, go to the pool, or go somewhere fun like a park to play or ride bikes, go on a hike, or go geocaching.
Depending on where we were we head back home and the girls take showers while I cook dinner.
After we eat we try to do Family Movie Night or Family Game Night. The girls are very into games and we’ve gone beyond Candy Land, Memory, and Chutes & Ladders, even though we still like those. (I’m working on a post about what games we love.) Some times they just play together before bed and I’ll sneak in some work or fold some laundry.
Bedtime in the summer tends to be trickier. Our kids go to bed while it’s still light out. They all have black out curtains and a white noise machine in their room which helps. We let them each read in their beds for about 20 minutes before going in to tuck them into bed and that helps.
I know a schedule doesn’t work for everyone but I also know that most kids thrive on a routine. The predictability they had for 9 months of the school year makes it hard for them to go without one. One of our kids loves routine so much that every night before bed she asks, “What’s our plan for tomorrow?” even when she knows the exact plan of the following day.
I’m sure this schedule of ours will change as the summer continues. We have some trips planned and some special events. I’m going to try my best to stick with it as best as I can, though, because it’s the only hope I have as a work from home mom.
I hope you’re all loving your summer so far!
Kristina Grum is a Certified Parent Educator who has over a decade of experience working with children, including being a classroom teacher. She currently teaches parenting classes in her local area and writes about shifting parenthood from barely surviving to thriving.
*These links are affiliate links. What does that mean? It means if you click on the links to purchase any of these products I get a few pennies for every dollar, at no additional cost to you. Basically, in a year I’ll be able to take the girls out to ice cream. 😉