WT 114: How To Survive Summer
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We just came out of May, which we always talk about being the “new December” and now summer is here! Summer is such a fun time, it feels more relaxed, our schedules are a little looser, there’s no school pressure … but then again, the kids aren’t in school all day anymore. They’re around the house, like all of the time. So as moms, how can we help ourselves survive summer?!
Question 1: I know I sound like a terrible mom, but I am dreading school being out. I only have one child (age 6), but she is SO needy. She wants to be with me all the time and I feel like I spend all day giving her suggestions on what to go do or play. The days seems to stretch on endlessly with the sun coming up early and going down late … how do I keep her entertained during the long days and keep myself from losing my mind?
Karen’s Answer: Sweet mom! Okay, first off, it’s NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to keep her entertained. I would tell her that too, right at the beginning of summer. I would tell her that she is now a big 6 year old girl, and she needs to learn how to “play” by herself. You can give her a list of things to do, but other than that, leave it to her. If she whines and says, “I’m bored.” My response would be, “I’m not bored, so go figure it out. If you don’t figure it out you can help me with my chores.” Other than that conversation, don’t engage with her and argue or try to convince her. Let her figure it out. You are going to have to change her mindset that “YOU” are her personal cruise director. At the beginning of summer, sit down and write out a bunch of “things to do”. Put them all in a jar then let her pick from them.
Question 2: Karen we are planning a trip to the beach next month and frankly, I’m just not that excited about it. I know we’ll make great memories, but I get easily overwhelmed being the one who has to plan all the details, buy all the groceries, pack alllllllll the things – it’s honestly 50/50 if I even want to go after all this work. How do I get excited for vacation when it feels like more of a business trip?!
Karen’s Answer: It is a lot of work! It will be fun, hopefully, when you get there, and the beach is very relaxing. It is a lot of work though. If you can buy the groceries at the beach, that is easier I think. I used to leave the kids with Greg and go to the store by myself, (that’s a plus) I would try to pack as little as possible, a few shovels, buckets, and not get too crazy with toys. Less is more! Last year, we rented chairs on the beach to save space in the car. And honestly, it was a little more expensive, but it was so nice, not to drag the chairs back and forth, and to have it ready for us everyday. I will say, a wagon comes in very handy at the beach.
Question 3: What did summer jobs look like for your kids growing up? At what age should I expect my kids to get jobs?
Karen’s Answer: All my children worked when they were 16 years old. The girls did baby sitting from 12 years on. I told my kids when they were in high school, their extra spending needed to come from them. Like movies, going out to eat with friends, extra clothes, bday gifts. That gave my children motivation to want to make money. Stop buying your child everything, and encourage them to work, it helps them realize the value of money
Question 4: As a full-time working mom, summer for me is one giant puzzle of scheduling day camps, sleepaway camp, vacation and childcare to fill the gaps. It’s exhausting and expensive when the kids are out of school. Any ideas for how I can actually make summer feel more ‘fun’ for all of us with so much shuttling going on?
Karen’s Answer: The only thing I can think of is to hire a teenager/college student to come in and watch the kids. At least that way, they are on their home turf, and not rushed from here to there. Summers are hard for working moms. Our work doesn’t stop, but children don’t always understand that. I did experience it and it was hard. Like, you I tried to manage it, but some weeks were better than others. I didn’t do camps because with four children it was just too much money. I did, hire sitters. Be flexible, but give yourself some slack. You aren’t going to please everyone, and that is okay!
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