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.
Today is the 4th of July - Independence Day here in America. I am sitting by the pool, really wishing to dive in and swim. I'm being held back by only one thing - the promise I made to my fans that I would contribute a blog post every day this week to thank them for their patience in waiting for my next book to come out.
Wah, wah, I can't go in the pool. How spoiled am I? Now would be great time to think about how life would have been different 10, 50, 100 or even 200 years ago.
And then count my blessings. Here goes:
1. Indoor Plumbing - Seriously, I am thankful for this every time the sewage plant fragrances tickle my nose. Just a no-brainer on every "I'm thankful" list.
2. Air Condition - I grew up in a house built so long ago, they had to add on a kitchen to it. My bedroom was on the 3rd floor of that house, and there were no electric outlets up there. So summer time was suffered with not even a fan to keep down the sweat at night. I'm making up for it now in the comfort of the central air in my house.
3. Chlorinated Water - I know many people may actually be offended by this and prefer the more natural water found in oceans, lakes, and ponds. But so do the lesser creatures. And their waste. If you see #1 above, you will note that I am not a fan of waste. Of any kind. Chlorine gives me the hope (blind as it may be) that I am not floating in someone else's... well, let's move on.
4. Music - The kids are home from school. All kids. I think they are all here at the pool today. More than one kid is crying (also thankful that the criers are not mine). But I am sitting by the sound system speaker. :) (Note: Yes, I know music has been around forever. But I am referring to the music loud enough and enjoyable enough to drown out the drone of a hundred kids.)
5. Computers and Wi-Fi - Being at the pool affords me the freedom of having my kids entertained and happy, but until recently, that would mean sitting around thinking about the work I have to do at home. Now, I do have myself trained to look up after every sentence I write to find my kids, and they must always swim with a buddy, so I don't feel like the worst mom of the year. But kids at peace always equals more work done! So getting it done at the pool is ideal.
6. Kindles - Since books have been around for quite some time, I had to be specific here to get something to fit on the list. Not only is this wonderful for me to read something, but for the many people who can now get my book more affordably! (Oh my, was that a shameless plug for my book, Amity of the Angelmen, available on this site or through Amazon? I guess it was. Whoops.)
7. Iced Coffee - When did they invent this stuff? Or realize that it was good on ice, anyway. I don't remember seeing it around when I was a kid. May I never sit by the pool without one nearby.
8. Weather.com - Planning the week is so much easier when you know the best days to stay inside and when to go out. Or how long you have to be outside before a chance of threatening weather.
9. Water Parks - Lazy Rivers and happy, occupied children. What more could you ask for?
10. Freezers - No freezer in the house, no ice cream in the house. Duh. Isn't ice cream the best thing in summer?
I had to edit out a few other blessings for the list, because I can only have 10- no more, no less. However, there is infinite room on my comment section for you to add your favorite summer blessing!
Happy summer to you all.
Because I love even numbers and lists!