Have you ever noticed how a mother’s overall mood sets the tone for the rest of the home? Whether I like it or not, that’s the case in my house. With summer break starting in T-minus 1.5 days, I’ve been thinking a lot about this and how I can use it for my advantage this year. I’ve been counting down to summer for almost a month now, feeling giddy with daydreams of outdoor adventures, popsicles, picking our garden, splash pads, playgrounds, and swimming. Most days will be good days (let us pray), but I know there will be days where I might be wishing school back sooner than I originally intended. How can I avoid that? How can I savor every moment? Easier said than done, my friends. But not all entirely impossible.
My kids work really well when we have a routine that we stick to. During the school year, they knew what days they had soccer practice, which days were Jujitsu, and which days were free days. When they know what to expect, it seems like everything runs a little more smoothly. I was motivated last summer for about two weeks with keeping a schedule, and then I got lazy. When I got lazy, my kids got lazy… and then the sibling fights began, and everything seemed to sour a bit. There’s beauty in routine, I’ve learned.
These might be lofty goals, but I’m hoping that little daily chores along with bigger chores on Saturdays will keep my kids grounded in their responsibility to help our family be successful. Creating a structured care-free scramble seems to be how we all work best here in my home. One thing I like to do is have my kids make their beds every morning, and I even have them do this when we’re on vacation. This way, we keep to that tiny routine no matter where we are, and they still experience the structure that helps with everyone’s sanity. I also like to make sure that we read books every night before bed. Honestly, I’ve gotten really lazy with that this year because I’ve been desperate for bed time. Summer is more magical when we read together, though, and that’s something that we can also do while we’re out of town. They key for my family is finding balance in work, play, sleep, and free-time. If I can manage that, usually everyone is pretty happy… including mama.
We live at the base of the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee; they call this land “God’s Country”, and boy are they right. Our summer theme is “GET OUTSIDE!” I’m planning one big outdoor day adventure once a week on Fridays so that we can explore where we live. They can earn these trips by doing their daily chores, and in turn will get their weekly allowance to spend at our local mom-and-pop candy shop (they beg to go there all of the time!). I’m also hoping to do a couple surprise overnight trips to a random hotel here or there, just so they can feel cool and swim in a new place. The element of surprise works wonders with kids. It’s like pure magic to them! We’ll swim at our normal pool, play at the park, and also have down time at home. My goal is to create a non-over-scheduled life for us these next couple months so that we can really bond as a family and grow closer while making memories.
All in all, I want my kids to be kids. I want them to be outside, running at dusk with sun-kissed noses, dirty toes, and watermelon stains on their t-shirts. I want them to create, explore, and play, and I want to be there connecting with them the entire way! Our little chickens won’t be little forever (so cliché, but so true!), so let’s take advantage this summer and rock the mom life. Just remember: balance in all things. Take care of yourself too. Do nice things for yourself so that you can feel energized and excited to be with your family. Summer is upon us and I can’t wait to get started!
Everyone does summer differently, and we’d love to hear your ideas! Wishing you the happiest and sunniest of summers, from our Tulips and Mudd family to yours!