I had plans for this summer. BIG plans. I was going to be organized, efficient and really get on top of all the things that were lost in the shuffle of the end of school scramble. I even had my list that was written in April. I was going to tackle that list once and for all.
Now it’s August and there are only four (FOUR) weeks left until school starts again. I give myself a B-. If I’m being generous…
- I did not stick to my list. There are nail holes and chipped paint on my walls from the many baby gates of the last 6 years. There are picture galleries in my hallways that are missing my two 19 month olds. And please do not even think about asking to see my basement. The answer will be no, you definitely cannot go down there.
Instead of those tasks I tried to keep up as my five children enjoyed the sandbox so much that it is now empty. The sand has found its way into the yard, clothes, and my house. And to top off the experience each day, I have to wash the bath after giving the kids a bath. So much sand. Everywhere.
2. I did not paint the trim of my garage – which I chipped after forgetting the car-top carrier was on the roof of my van.
However, we had a memorable vacation to visit family in Ohio. Our daring road trip included a stop at the Bronx Zoo and was followed by a week of Day Camp and then two weeks of swimming lessons. The kids learned, experienced and made memories.
3. I did not even open my new workout video I requested for my birthday, which is in May. The DVD has been sitting on the corner of my counter since then. I wanted it for months but held off on buying it since I knew my birthday was coming up. As the end of the school year ramped up, my time and energy to work-out dwindled. Work was busy. School was busy. Extra curriculars were busy. Something had to give and I thought this workout video would get me back on track this summer. Wrong again.
My schedule never lightened or eased. It became fuller and a tad wild. Since for the majority I work from home, often I’m able to work on tasks in small pieces at a time, so I can make progress throughout the day even during times without childcare. I assumed the workout video would be inserted to one of those times.
I was never able to even test this idea because every moment was full. There was always one last task for work to complete or one more project or game to clean up. Something as simple as coloring and play dough is like post-Thanksgiving clean-up it feels.
4. I did not follow a routine of summer reading and workbooks. My plan was to instill daily reading, writing and positive reinforcement with rewards. I borrowed (i.e. stole) my daughter’s Kindergarten teacher’s punch card system. They could earn ‘punches’ on their card for certain chores, work and good deeds. A full punch card earned a reward. Only my oldest finished her card – even though it should have been a card a week, per child.
On the bright side, my kids ate their weight in smoothie pops and the older three learned how to whistle. This is quite an accomplishment as a young child…let me tell you. I literally had the iPad out and was looking up youtube videos to help teach this magical skill. And it was a great success.
5. I did not do weekly, let alone bi-weekly, outings to the library and park. Long summer days need to be filled with enriching experiences and new faces and friends.
The days have not been long after all. They have been a whirlwind. Trying to organize childcare – some days are working from home, some days are in the office – while working around meals and nap time. There is rarely are large enough block left to work with to do these outings. It has been very challenging for me, but also rewarding. The kids have continued to bond as they grow and I can see the friendships evolving right in front of me. The new friendships have been found in each other, right here at home.
I think it’s fair to assume everyone struggles with time – finding time and making time. For me, I am just trying to make the most of my time. Sometimes that means I’m working more than mommying, and sometimes that means I’m mommying more than working. Learning to prioritize is a moving target since the needs of my children and the needs of my clients change day to day. I am consciously trying to provide happy lives and to make memories for my kids. Even though we are home a lot and have interruptions for the hours I need to work, I do feel confident knowing there is fun, messes, love and lessons. I’m sure my summer schedule will settle in right as school begins…