We were all so looking forward to summer, weren’t we, mamas? Long, uninterrupted days of nothing that we had to do! Now a week later, there is nothing to do! Ah summer..you are wrecking our homes with your flip flops at the front door and your wet towels on the back deck. Summer, you also eat from morning until midnight and never put anything back in the fridge. Why are you so messy when we were so looking forward to you coming?
What we need is just a little bit of order, in order to survive your 14 hour days with all your friends, food, bathing suits, coolers, and mess. Moms everywhere just need a little order to go on.
How to Survive Summer 101~
*Make your kids do chores first thing in the morning. I am so popular with kids! I have my little lists ready for them when they emerge from their messy caves every morning. Oh, how they love that! But, if you wait, they will be out the door, friends will be over, the moment will be lost. No privileges until chores are done. I love it.
*Post kitchen hours. I can’t stand the kitchen a mess all day. It drives me batty. I started posting kitchen hours when my oldest was 14. They loved it. Kids like stuff like that. Weird.
If you post your hours with what you will be serving at that hour, you will be just as popular as me!
*Keep a bag with all the sunscreen, chapstick, water wings, mosquito repellent, etc. packed in the car. Don’t even take it out. Have everyone check the car when they get out and make sure that the stuff is in the bag and not rolling around in your clean (haha) car.
*Even though it is summer, have a schedule for the little people. Toddlers and preschoolers melt down in disorder and chaos. Give them regular intervals to regroup. Afternoon reading time is good for all ages. Regular meal times, sleep times, and down times will help everyone stay cheerful in the midst of the other times.
*Make some fun traditions. Monday Library Day. Tuesday Ice Cream Day. Wednesday Picnic Day. Whatever seems fun to you. Kids love a schedule and the love to know what is happening next.
*Eat healthy and spend time outside. Make it a goal for your family to get outside this summer. Endorphins are good for everyone. Eat fresh food and get a lot of exercise. Everyone sleeps good when they have been outside.
*Do fun stuff. Go to the lake, go hiking, do daytrips. Get out of your comfort zone and just go. It doesn’t have to be big to be memorable.
*In between fun stuff, let your kids be bored. They will create and imagine. Boredom is a good thing.
*Don’t sweat the small stuff. Invite people over even when it is not perfect. Your friends love you for you. If they don’t, they are not your friends!
I have no advice for the flip flop, swimsuit, wet towels situations. That is just my little circle of insanity. You are welcome to join.
Gretchen Knuffke, the mother of 10 children ranging in age from 1 to 19 years old, is the owner of Maternal Instincts. You can read more on her blog.