If I count 2 half days as 1, my kids only have 4 days left of school. I am sitting here at my computer, kicking myself for the unbalanced amount of time I have spent sitting in the house doing what could be multi-tasked with settling disputes and managing TV time.
The big question is... will 4 days be enough to truly appreciate and take advantage of my one-person-in-the-car-with-no-whining freedom? Let's make a list and check for plausibility.
1. Go to Dunkin Donuts.
Also, go to any other place that would require a stop at the bank for more than just pocket change, when all you want is a coffee. When we are talking about multiple donuts, and well, we can't forget Daddy, too, can we? He's going to want one when the kids tattle on Mommy. Because, let's face it, it is akin to torture to drag three nearly (always) starving children into a house of heavenly smells. And in the summer, that is NOT my kitchen.
(Note to self. New punishment. Penniless trip to Dunkin.)
2. Go to the mall.
Bypass every toy store and the toy section of every department store. We can even miss Justice, Hollister, and whatever that other one is that the tweener likes. If the other 9 things on this list are complete, just take that Wawa coffee and meander around like an old person.
Even if you don't need to, just go so you can see what's in there and ease your curiosity for the rest of the summer. When you can say, "Hey, there's nothing there that I really need," you have your mantra worked out and saved yourself some time until September. It's doubtful there's anything at the mall you can't get on Amazon.
3. Go to the bathroom at every chance you get.
It is YOUR bathroom after all. Before it gets wet, messy, and stinky on a daily basis, enjoy the 10 seconds you need of relaxation without straining your ears to hear, "Where's Mom?" from the other room. Also, take long, uninterrupted showers.
4. Disconnect the TV. Or, take a day to watch everything on it that YOU like.
I'm for the former. TV noise, even just in the background, raises my stress level. I'm the kind of writer who can use the sounds of birds, wind chimes, or crashing ocean waves in my to my advantage. Canned sit-com laughter - or worse, Sponge Bob chatter - will be effective only in getting me to stare at the blank computer screen and think of what might motivate the kids to get up and move around.
Other friends I have prefer to actually watch shows they like during school hours. (DVR or live viewing.) Although now I can't imagine using my time in that manner, it wasn't that long ago when I was hoping the baby's nap would span the entire duration of my ER reruns.
5. Clean all rooms and marvel.
You might even want to take a picture. Scrub down baseboards and doors, and anything else that is a light color, just to remember it. I know I will be assigning rooms to kids this summer to keep clean, but I'm sure once July hits, it will be like pulling teeth to make sure it gets done right.
6. Do nothing.
With so much else on your list, this might seem antithetical, but it could be the only opportunity you have to experience it for a few months. Sit in a quiet room - or go outside - and memorize the sound of the birds chirping outside. It will be helpful to have this memory when you need a happy place to visit during sibling arguments.
7. Take a nap.
But don't get used to it. Just build up all the rest you can. We all know how easy it is to sleep when several voices are beyond your door yelling, "Shhh! Mom is trying to sleep! Hey, put that blender away! No, I'm in charge now..."
8. Stock up on cololoring books and all the extra goodies that you will need to "pull out of your hat" on a rainy day.
Boredom is inevitable. It may come earlier in the summer, or it may come later, depending on friends' camp schedules, weather patterns, and other such things. We all know that whining gets worse as it progresses, and there indeed comes a point of complete inconsolability. So nip it in the bud, and be ready. By the way, craft stores know all about this, and they have their kid products right out in front of your nose right now, so you won't have to look far for ideas.
PS- Good luck getting time on Pinterest to search the "most fun family summer activities ever." The internet will never be as fast as you need it to be when kids are home.
9. Prep the pool bags.
Do it now, so that you can dart out of the house the minute the pool opens. This will also help you from having to make a hundred trips back into the house for each forgotten snack, water bottle, pool pass, sunscreen, etc.
10. Start a schedule on a spreadsheet.
This one might just be for me. I prefer to bypass the "Can I go on the computer?" questions as well as the "He got more TV time than I did" arguments. I guess, I instead prefer the "But I don't want to play on the Wii right now" and "There's nothing on TV during my time" complaints. To each his own.
Don't print the schedule until the last minute. You may want to make changes based on behavior. And there is no need to start the complaints before necessary.
I know I had about 5 more ideas to list here, but this looks like all I might be able to fit into my 4 days. What do you think? Anything I missed that should bump priority on this list? We'd love to hear your thoughts below.
Because I love even numbers and lists!