Archive | June, 2013

Curing my Summertime Blues

4 Jun

Curing my Summertime Blues.

Curing my Summertime Blues

4 Jun

Lately, time, energy and I are not on the best of terms. There never seems to be enough time or enough energy to get everything done I want to get done. If I exercise and take care of my body, I don’t have enough energy to get through the evening. I know exercise is supposed to give you energy, but I’m not seeing that right now. If I focus on taking care of my home, I don’t seem to have enough time to take care of my body properly or spend enough time having fun with my kids. Add to that, I want to find time to finish writing and publishing a book, raise beautiful vegetables in my gardens and de-clutter the house. It feels overwhelming and un-doable.

Then again, this is a pattern for me. I love new beginnings and have great expectations for them. Yesterday was the first weekday off of school for the summer for my younger boys. I am hopeful that we can accomplish a lot and have some fun, but we’ve had summers past with the same hopes and they’ve ended up being a two month video game fest. Blech!

This year, which may be the last one with my oldest son as a part time employee, I really want to make it special. I want him to go back to school saying this was one of his best summers ever. I want all of my kids to do that, and I want that for myself too, but the days seem to slip by so quickly, we can easily lose track of it all and just flounder. When the boys were little, it was easy because they didn’t have schedules. We could pick up at a moment’s notice and head out for fun. Now we have work schedules, band schedules, music lessons and friends to spend time with. It makes for an interesting dynamic to get through the day, the week and the months of summer.

So what’s a momma to do? I think we’ll try going back to basics. When my boys were younger, I found that writing a list of the things that I expected them to do for the day gave us all a focus and a stopping point, and this summer I’m determined to be consistent with that. One of the biggest challenges with that in the past has been the time that my children get up. You see, I’ve never had kids that are up at 6am willingly. Even as babies my kids would rather have stayed up late and slept in. As a morning person, I would get up and get tons done before the boys got up. Unfortunately as they got older and so did I, I was tired by the time they got up and just let them kind of wander through the day. And while there is a true value to relaxing, it became a great source of frustration for me because I felt like I was alone in taking care of our home and everyone in it. In my world, family is a team sport, and I felt like that team spirit was slipping away.

Thanks to some great discussions with my husband, we made some decisions for this summer. The first is that everyone will be up and out of bed at 10am. That gives me time to meditate, write and map out the day in peace and quiet, and then get the team out of bed. Second, each of the boys is expected to give me at least fifteen minutes of their time each day to help with our home. Some days, like today, will require more than that, but fifteen is a minimum, and we set a timer. In the beginning, the kids would complain and drag their feet, so we would usually have to do two rounds of fifteen minutes, but when they finally realized that they could make a significant difference in that time if they would just focus, and when they realized that by giving a focused fifteen minutes they would be set free to do something of their choosing, they got on board. Believe me. Four people working for a very focused fifteen minutes can make a huge impact, especially over the course of days, weeks and months.

Then there’s the fun part. My boys have different ideas of what is fun. That makes it challenging sometimes to come up with activities they all enjoy. I came upon a great list to follow to create some fun each day. There is a free printable schedule at this website and I will be adapting it for my older children. For Make it Monday, my oldest needs to learn to cook for himself because he will be living in an apartment for the first time. My other two are learning to use power tools and can use the time to hone those skills. I want to make a solar oven. The list goes on and on.
Take a trip Tuesday can be anything from a local museum trip to a day trip to see the Native American mounds that dot our state. Wet & Wild Wednesday may have to be adapted around here because my kids have never been big on swimming, but who knows? Thinking Thursday is a slam dunk for kids who love to read with a mom who writes for a living, and Fresh & Fun Fridays give my more creative boys a chance to think outside the box. Now we just have to get to the planning of it all.

Honestly, I started this post with a heavy heart and a serious sense of overwhelm, but as I’ve written and looked at the possibilities, I am hopeful and have a smile in my heart. As much as I loved school as a child, and yes, I was one of those kids that really did love school, as a mom, I’ve loved summer more. Summers have been a time of great wonder and joy, especially with my family. Summers are free of the mass of commitments we have in the fall, winter and spring. Summers are the time we re-connect with those we love and enjoy life to the fullest. It’s also the time we get to have my husband to ourselves for at least one whole week of vacation and that is a delight for us all. So my wish for each of you is to have your best summer ever. If you find or know of fun things to do, please share them so that other families can benefit from them too. I hope to be posting more now that school is out and maybe writing more for the Examiner so your input is so very welcome. Thanks for being you and have a great day!

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