Welcome to summer! This is a note to all of you moms and dads who are spending your summers home with your kids. When my three boys were little, I loved our summers spent together. I was the mom who counted down the days until school let out because that would mean my boys would be with me all summer. I was excited. I was thrilled. I had well laid out plans. But then life would happen and all those well laid out plans would be forgotten.
Looking back, I now realize that I had a fantasy going on. I was a stay at home mom to give flexibility. The schedule was too rigid, I was raising children not soldiers. Here are some of the exciting things I planned for us:
We will have well balanced meals three times a day. I even bought some special dishes to help us with our portions. Reality: I should have bought stock in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Now the thought of that meal makes my stomach turn. I served a lot of it, and often without a side of a fruit or veggie.
We will have only healthy snacks. I had fun snack recipes to make; bananas rolled in peanut butter and wheat germ and homemade fruit roll ups. Reality: fun sizes snickers are a healthy snack, right?
I created chore charts! This will be the summer that my kids learn to scrub the floors. Reality: the dog cleaned the floor of all the crumbs and that chore chart was long forgotten.
I will make homemade popsicles with only the freshest of ingredients. Reality: I bought the molds and then bought my kids store bought popsicles. Those homemade ones are messy and by the time my kids want one they don’t want to wait a day before they are frozen.
We will make fun crafts! Using the creative right side of brains is important I told myself. Reality: I bought the supplies and rarely used them. My boys were not crafters and just because you have the supplies does not make them want to take a pipe cleaner and turn it in to a rendition of Monet’s “Water Lilies.”
We will embrace the great outdoors by going camping! We had all the gear so what is not to love! Reality: I hate heat and the hard ground. We went once as a family and it was a nightmare with severe storms and tiny creatures in the water that crawled everywhere! The camping gear has been donated.
We will do daily work in these nifty workbooks I bought! I really thought it was important to keep my boys school minds going. Reality: I had years of these workbooks with only the first two or three pages completed. I have donated said nearly new workbooks.
We will go to story time at the library and check out new books every week! Reading is important I tell myself. Reality: we went twice and then misplaced the books and had to pay the late fees.
There will be no playing of video games except for days of rain. At the first sign of a sprinkle or a large ominous cloud my boys would come running in the house to play video games. Reality: I relented and allowed more video game playing even on days of sunshine. I rationalized they were working on hand eye coordination!
We will stay active by going on bike rides and going to the park. Spending time outside to exercise is important in the summer. Reality: we drove to the park and I packed a picnic lunch of fast food.
Looking back if I was going to give one piece of advice it would be to be present. It really doesn’t matter what your schedule looks like. If you are with your children and having fun without screens in your hands call your summer a success! I was too caught up in trying to be the perfect mother I failed to simply relax and enjoy the summers. So, throw those summer chore charts away and grab a blanket and a few apples and head to a park! Don’t try to be that perfect parent. They don’t exist!
To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,
Melissa is a Productivity Consultant and author living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things! Melissa’s e-book on Kitchen Organizing can be found on Amazon.