It’s the first day of summer for my Kindergartener and 1st grader (and their little brother who pretty much lives like it’s summer vacation daily). Unlike last year at this time, I don’t have a list of things that we’re going to do, nor do we have any vacations planned. I didn’t mean for it to be this way, but life just got too crazy this past month to make organized plans.
In a way, the lack of plans is kind of liberating, but mostly it’s downright terrifying. Other than a couple of weeks of swim lessons and a 4 day “camp” (3 hours a day on those 4 days), we have absolutely nothing planned. To the untrained eye (someone without kids), having no plans would probably seem amazing. As a mom with three kids (7, 5, 3), I better come up with entertainment ideas soon or the house may end up in flames.
With that in mind, on the agenda today is to come up with a list of fun things that we can do this summer. Nothing extravagant. Peppered in between swim lessons at the neighborhood pool and the 4-day camp we have scheduled, I’m envisioning some park adventures, swimming holes and museums. Just pure simple fun.
However, in summers past I have spent most days just in survival-mode. Feed kids. Put sunscreen on them. Pack snacks, drinks, and towels. Reapply sunscreen. Make lunch. You probably get what I am saying here.
I am tired of survival mode. I want to enjoy summer with them. So, I’ve realized it’s not as important what we do, it’s how we do it.
So, I’ve made a list of 5 goals that will hopefully help me be more present, and enjoy (at least some of) the summer with my kids:
Hold hands more often
Yesterday when his elementary school siblings were at school, I was laying on the floor of our playroom with my 3 year old. I don’t know what we were doing, but I happened to reach out and hold his hand. It was one of those moments that was rare and tender and sweet. It was almost like time stopped for a brief moment. Unfortunately, I am usually so frustrated by his 3 year old-ness, that I don’t take the time to sit and be present with him. I know it won’t be long before all of my kids will laugh when I want to hold their hands, but I’m going to make a concerted effort to do it as long as I can. And not just in the we’re-crossing-the-street kind of way, but in a I’m-holding-your-hands-because-I-love-you kind of way.
Skip in the parking lot (or be silly whenever possible)
When I was a kid, my dad used to embarrass me at every opportunity. Thankfully I look back at most of those moments with fondness. He used to love to skip through parking lots and make me hold his hand while doing so. There are so many mundane moments in every day life that must be done (errands and such), so I’m going to try to liven up those days with silliness.
Say “yes” every once in awhile
I am so guilty of saying “In just a minute, I can!” or “Maybe later, sweetheart!” and my most-used phrase “Not right now!” I am not trying to be Superwoman, but I’m just trying to occasionally surprise them with a “Sure, let’s play Legos right now!” There is usually very little that is pressing on my agenda, and cleaning the kitchen can often wait. I am going to focus hard on saying “yes” when humanly possible.
Spend more one-on-one time with each kid
Unfortunately the only way I can usually have one-on-one time with the kids is during the weekend when my husband and I divide and conquer. It works out well when we do that, but it doesn’t happen nearly often enough. And then it also takes away from our fun family time on the weekends. So, I’m going to work hard to have brief one-on-one moments this summer. There are plenty of opportunities where I can sneak in a couple of minutes here and there with one kid. It’s amazing how much just a few minutes alone together can make all of the difference.
If you see me at the pool this year doing cannonballs with the kids or riding Plasma cars down our street, it’s not because I’m trying to live vicariously through the kids. I just want to create silly memories that they’ll remember when they get older. And it’s fun. As I get older, I realize that adult-ing can be super sucky, so why not act like a kid and have fun occasionally?
So, those are my goals for this summer. I am not perfect, nor am I Wonder Woman, so I don’t anticipate doing all of these things every single day. But, I think I’ll notice that the more I do them, the happier everyone (including me) may be.
While the kids and I create our summer bucket list today, I’m going to keep in mind all of the things above. No matter how many things end up on the list, I’m going to make sure that we do them the right way.
And since I was just asked to play Legos with my 5 year old, I am signing off…
Happy summer, folks!