Wednesday, May 11, 2016

How To Survive Summer, For The Free Spirited Mom

I hate schedules.  They are a straight jacket to me.  I admire those moms whose schedules are engraved in their babies heartbeats and they religiously go to bed at 7:30, all year long.  But I am not like them.  I've spent plenty of years trying to be them and I've spent plenty of years feeling guilty that I can't.  I'm not saying either way is better.  And that's just the thing.  Being super scheduled isn't better for me.  And maybe not for you.  If your kids wake at 6:00 am to a well-rounded breakfast STOP reading immediately.  I will have no advice or humorous short story to amuse you that will benefit you.  This article is for us mom's whose children go to bed at 11:00p.m. one night and 8:00 p.m. the next.  This rambling is for the "free spirited mom."

Nothing short of dangerously high doses of benadryl, black-out curtains, and duct tape would get my kids to sleep at 8:00 during the summer.  They are too busy at gymnastics, baseball, basketball, dance, cheer, playing minecraft, jumping on the tramp with sprinklers to bother with bed-time.
This is one of the biggest mistakes I make at the beginning of summer.  I set ridiculous goals-impossible goals, meaningless goals, goals that do not make me a better person, do not make my kids happy, do not do anything but make me feel guilty and incapable as a mom.  Tell me I'm not the only one who makes up timed schedules that they want their life to look like.  You know something like this.....

7:00 a.m. everyone dressed, beds made, at breakfast table (to enjoy a delicious, well-balanced meal)
8:00 a.m. 2 pages of homework, 1 science, 1 math
9:00 a.m. do 1 hour of service for a needy neighbor
10:00 a.m. 45 minutes of vigorous exercise
10:45 a.m. silent reading (classics- no doubt)
12:00 apply for Summer school because this is for the birds and we all want to die!

By day three you can imagine what a failure I feel like.  This year I'm setting different types of goals so my kids don't hate me, I can leave the guilt in the gutter where it belongs, and I can actually feel less stressed about the upcoming summer.

Although my free spirit is claustrophobic to schedules I also don't want to spend the summer with my kids' hair in a snarl, watching cartoons, with bowls of curdled milk rotting on the tv stand.  I want to have fun, I want them to learn, I want my HOUSE TO BE CLEANISH (I'm still realistic yo!) and I want the fighting to not be out of control.  Here's what I'm hoping for. (No times will be assigned to anything because I'm just such a rebel.)

1. We will eat our meals together
Few things invigorate irritation in me more than making breakfast 6 different times.  I just can't handle getting the milk out again and again, and hearing the whining of "I'm starving!" five minutes after cleaning up the last meal.   You get the idea.  One kid got up early, ate cereal, then didn't want eggs but one kid woke up late, ate eggs now doesn't want lunch and I'm a slave to their bi-polar appetites all day eerrry day.  So I'm going to be firm on, eat now or wait!  I have to admit I'm a little nervous about sticking to this but I'm going to try.  By golly we are all going to sit at the table and eat (or watch each other eat) this summer!

2.We will leave the house every day
I don't know why I need this but I do.  If I'm forced to leave the house even to just go to the bank I have a better day.  If I have a better day, so do my kids.  I'm going to have a list of places to go in the rare occasion that we actually don't really have to go anywhere.  Then we will go to the park to eat lunch, we will go to the library to browse magazines, we will leave the house.  It's the only way to motivate me to get dressed, do my hair and makeup and look like a civilized person.  If I know I don't have to go anywhere I stay in my jammies, work a lot, or read a lot, and forget to eat or feed my children.  I'm weird, I know.  That's why I have to leave the house so I can pretend that I'm not as weird as I really am. 

3.  I will have time alone
I have 5 kids.  I don't know if you can understand how many requests that is per day but let me just say, it's a lot.  They all need a lot of love, time, food, pieces of paper, socks, reassurance, rides, money for the movie, toilet paper, Popsicles.  That comic with the little kids fingers stuffed under the bathroom door that says, "they will find you" is so true.  And that is where the true FEAR OF SUMMER lies.  We have no time for ourselves.  I don't really think I need that much time to myself, just a little.  I need to re-group sometimes.  I need to sit down sometimes.  I need to think sometimes.  So I'm going to set a timer for 30 minutes each day that is mine, and mine alone.  Maybe I'll need more than 30 minutes but I'm hoping that my kids can stay alive by themselves for 30 minutes each day without me this summer so I can be a better me.

That's it.

Is part of me wanting to keep going?  To add a few more goals?  Kind of.  Part of me really really wants to add 4. don't swear at your kids 5. take them lots of fun places 6. deep clean one room everyday 7. read four books together 8.  sleep out on the tramp.

But I'm not gonna.  We might do some of those things (don't count on the sleeping outside one...I'm scared of the dark. I need dead bolts in my life) we might do them all, but I'm not hinging my need-to-feel successful this summer on typed schedules.  I'm going to love my free-spirited self and enjoy this summer with very few goals.

Are you a rock star summer Mom?  What's worked for you? This list isn't set in stone so maybe you have the magic solution all us "free spirited" moms need.  If so, do share...



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  2. You're so awesome Kellie! This is me to a T so it's nice to know I'm not the only free spirited mom out there. Here's to an awesome summer! :)

    1. I knew we had a lot in common Marnie! ;) Hope it's the best one EVER!

  3. I love this! I didn't necessarily consider myself free spirited, but I feel the same way about schedules and having a place to go before I get dressed. Thanks for sharing! ��

    1. I suppose "free spirit" is a relative term. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who needs outside motivation to get dressed for the day. :)