But then I remembered last summer...
I think last May was the first time as a mother that I looked at the three months stretching before me and worried what the kids and I would do all day every day. Because while I mope for a few days each fall after the kids head back to school, missing the time around the house with all their noise, I do always appreciate the return of the schedule: drop-off for G and Little Missy, then drop-off for Baby Chickadee, MOPS two times a month, library storytime every Wednesday, book club once a month, pick-up for Baby Chickadee, naps, pick-up for G and Little Missy.
So last year, after talking over my worries with my husband, he and I created a semi-schedule for the summer months, consisting of play time, reading time, quiet time, etc. A nice little schedule over the summer to adhere to on the days we needed it, a schedule that we’d let slide when we didn’t.
And then I let the schedule slide from week one. Because that is sort of my M.O. Very excited in the beginning, and then kind of meh as it progresses.
But I also let the schedule slide because our summer just got so busy with church and baseball and the kids’ trips back and forth to my mom’s and my mother-in-law’s. On the days we didn’t have anything scheduled to leave the house I just wanted to let the kids play. Summer is for getting bored, for goodness sake, for lying on the floor of your bedroom, bored out of your mind until you bust into your neighbor friend’s house and make up silly games with her, games like throwing socks at the ceiling fan and crowning the winner to whomever’s sock flew the farthest. Games of great importance, obviously.
A week before school was out this year I worried again about the long summer days, about the kids having too much time together, time that would lead to squabbling and me rubbing my temples, but then I remembered last summer. And so I created a semi-schedule in my brain once again, one that I’d revert to when the squabbling got out of hand but one that I’d let slide on the busy days.
We have not yet needed that schedule.
This is when I knew our summer was out of hand: last week G wanted a friend to spend the night and this friend’s mother and I could not find a reasonable night within the next week, so we let the boys have a sleepover on a school (Camp Invention) night. Then Little Missy and her friends wanted a sleepover, and my friend/Little Missy’s friends’ mom and I could not find a suitable night, either.
Isn’t summer the time for throwing your kids outside, sending them to their friend’s house and seeing them whenever you see them?
You say I should tone down the activities. But as I look at the activities there is not one that glaringly bothers me, one that I would gladly give up.
So we’re making due. And on the days there is not baseball or library time or piano lessons or a standing play date with a friend, you can find me sitting on my behind, determinedly doing nothing. Just as summer should be.
Erin Fox is a busy wife and mother of three. She is a weekly columnist for the Times- Gazette.