This is the column where, each week, I’ll be answering one website visitor’s question in hopes of encouraging and inspiring you all through your shared (and likely, relevant) challenges, triumphs, and struggles.
With the school year coming to an end and my four, beautiful children home for the summer, how can I balance patience, love, fun and me time without losing my mind? My hope is for us all to have an enjoyable summer and make some great memories to laugh about in the fall.
Sweating the Summer
Dear Sweating the Summer,
Good news! You’re way ahead of the pack to even be thinking about a plan. 🙂 Many parents just grin and bear it, and forget themselves for the summer. Just because it’s school break for the kiddos doesn’t mean your needs get shelved for a couple months.
Try and keep somewhat of a “norm” for the kids. They’re used to being around their peers — interacting, playing, and learning. And they’re used to the rigidity of school schedules and demands. By letting the pendulum swing in the complete other direction — meaning a summer full of free, unstructured time — you’re asking for trouble.
Avoid long periods of time where the kids are just hanging out at home. They’ll be bored and you’ll be aggravated — a recipe for arguments. Are there programs or camps in your area that you could have them participate in to keep some sort of routine during parts of the break? By being thoughtful about their summer activities, they’ll continue to be engaged and you’ll get some time for yourself.
Remember to include yourself in the planning of summer fun. Schedule some girls’ nights out, date nights with your spouse, maybe even an overnight visit to a friend or family member.
Creating happy memories stems from being together out of excitement and desire, not guilt and obligation. So while you’ll most likely be spending some time this summer doing things that aren’t necessarily on your bucket list, by making sure you take more time for yourself than you think you need, you’ll be able to be more joyfully present for those activities that matter to your kids.
Here’s to a summer of fun!
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