Tuesday, July 11, 2017

5 Ways you (and your child) can enjoy summer

Mom2MomEd Blog: 5 ways you (and your child) can enjoy summer!
Summer is here!

School is out, children are acting like feral animals, and parents (and teachers) are barely holding it together right about now. As if it wasn't tricky enough to coordinate activities, homework, family time, dinners, lunches (the dreaded lunches), and still try to be half of a human being.....now you also get to entertain your kids throughout the summer time or sign them up for every camp/daycare/activity that you can think of just so you can continue to work and get things done over the next few months. 

As I wrote this, my kids still had a few days of school left and I was so ready for school to be out so I could spend time with them! But, of course, I'm also dreading the inevitable side effects that come with spending every waking moment together.

To prepare myself, I brainstormed five ways to survive the summer. I hope some of these will help you as well!

1. Don't have a schedule....seriously.
It's tried and true that once you have a schedule, your whole world goes to crap. You can't have too many expectations....it's just not going to happen. If we spend all day in our pj's and scramble the next day to get chores done, no one will die. I promise it will be OK! You have plenty of time to deal with schedules once school starts back up!

2. Simplify your life.
I tend to make things way too hard on myself and often over complicate things which then just adds a whole unnecessary level of stress to my already chaotic life. As a result, this bit of advice is hardest for me to follow! Don't make a million plans that you won't be able to keep.  It's really that simple. Say NO and set boundaries. De-clutter and just allow yourself to meet the routine demands of a busy life without all of the extra crap. Sometimes that means checking out for a few minutes, putting your feet up, and saying, "This is mommy's time." Your kids won't die, your husband or partner won't die (I promise), and life as you know it will go on. It's OK to miss out on mama's night out because you'd rather binge watch your show on Netflix. It's all about balance...and preserving your sanity.

3. Stock up on easy, healthy snacks.
My kids need to eat approximately 1,000 times a day when we're home. It's actually quite annoying. Literally, the minute I sit down, I then hear, "Mom, can you get me a snack?" Ugh! I've made a point to have a bowl on the table filled with fresh fruit and I keep other easy, healthy snacks on low shelves in the fridge. That way my kids are able to grab a snack for themselves when they are withering away from hunger and I don't have to run to the fridge every five seconds. Game changer, I tell you! 
Mom2MomEd Blog: Healthy, kid friendly snacks
4. Take time for yourself.
I can't stress this enough. I stayed home for the first six years of parenting...I am horrible at taking time for myself. I feel guilty. I worry that my husband (who was the only paycheck) would be irritated that I left him with the kids after a full day of work or I made up some excuse as to why I couldn't make time for myself. I'm a huge homebody and I don't get out often enough. This summer it's time for me too. This is my break too, and I also want to enjoy some of the summer before I have to go back to the daily grind. It's all about balance...I have set some goals for myself and hopefully that will motivate me to work hard to follow my own rule!

5. Play with your kids.
I know this sounds silly, but I mean really play with them. Let them lead. Watch them interact with each other and the world around them. Play animals/babies/Legos for the millionth time, but really watch them this time. Show them that you're there and be engaged. I have the best conversations with my kids (especially my son) while we're playing side-by-side. He tends to "forget" how his day was or not remember what he did until we're in a moment of just peace, playing together. It's amazing how much he will open up or tell me random things about his day.

Parenting is this hard yet incredible dance of remaining an individual while also taking care and guiding the most precious thing in the world to us. It's not perfect. We're not perfect. It's meant to be messy, uncomfortable, and the most rewarding job we'll ever have. Sometimes, we feel like were barely surviving and other times we're totally rocking it! Don't feel bad if you're faking it until you make it some days. We all are....

Here's to hoping this is a great summer!
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