Friday, May 27, 2016

How to Love Your Less than Ideal Summer

Today is the last day of school! We are so excited! But we are also terrified.

The month of May, with all of it's tests and projects, field trips and field days, award ceremonies, class parties and recitals, has brought us to our knees- hugging a street sign while the hurricane winds of activity blew our hairdos to pieces and smacked our faces with unexpected reminders. 

When I forgot to bake that platter of cookies and chip in for another teacher's gift, I knew I was beaten. 

Please, God, bring us the sun!

The busy storm has finally relented. And so today, we stand on wobbly limbs and face the aftermath. We look to tomorrow with much hope and expectation. We have survived another school year. We breathe relieved... and then, we hold in another breath as we survey the summer landscape.


Our family will begin this summer with a trip to the mountains, and I will finally nail down any camp registrations I started to complete and never finished. I'll make tentative fun plans and then have a real talk with my ideal self:

Dearest Idealistic Momma,

You have been dreaming about slower, calmer mornings without lunch-packing and carpooling. 

But don't be surprised when THE KIDS WILL STILL WAKE UP EARLY, because in the summer, there is a much more exciting and motivating reason to leap out of their comforters: TV! iPads! Xbox!  "Woohoo! No school! We can do whatever we want!"

Also, the door-slamming will wake you up and THE CHILDREN WILL ARGUE before 7am. 

No one will make you coffee before you have to deal. It's all you. And then your kids will still be there. All. Day. Long. Without fail. 

But you also need a break. TAKE A BREAK, and don't feel guilty. If you don't, you may eat your own young and have even more regrets.

BE FLEXIBLE when you make your plans, because there will be hiccups- and not the cute ones- diaper blowouts, jellyfish stings, and milkshake spills in your freshly cleaned minivan. 

Sometimes, you'll just cancel said plans and call it "PJ Day."  That's okay too.

Life will not stop providing work just because it's the kids' summer vacation from school. Break the news lightly: there will be housecleaning and laundry and dishes and grocery trips. Our small charges can handle a lesson in responsibility. IT'S NOT ALL FUN AND GAMES. It's sweeping the floor too. 

GET EXTRA FOOD, because they will want more too eat when they're bored, and the neighbor's son will pretend like he wants to play, but he's really sniffing out your snack stash. 

You'll need proof that your days haven't been a complete wash. Make a calendar of plans and memories, because at some point (probably in 2 weeks), you'll start thinking that this is the worst summer ever and that no one is having a good time and that you are wasting precious days!!! Hang up your calendar for June, July, and August, then LOOK WHAT YOU HAVE DONE! Point to the evidence:
  • You took the kids to the pool thirty times! 
  • You made hand print molds, even though you hate arts and crafts! 
  • You let the kids stay up late and catch fireflies or watch fireworks after the baseball game! 
Remembering the sweet successes re-charges your summer spirit

Lastly, and just for fun, START A COUNTDOWN CALENDAR for the first day of school. What?!? *cue evil laughter* No, but seriously. I did this secretly with a friend last summer, so that every time we were having a crazy bad day, it made us laugh. The kids won't appreciate it, obviously. 

But it gave me an end goal. You can make a countdown calendar for anything fun: date nights, girls' weekends, or family vacations. There's an app for that! This is just to remind yourself that there's something to look forward to when you’re getting a little battle-weary. There is a season for everything.

Finally, CALL YOUR FRIENDS. Don't just be your kids' social secretary. Be your own. It will keep you sane. 

Also, misery loves company. 

Happy first day of summer,
Realistic Momma

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