School is out for summer in just a few weeks and that means I'll be home with the kids full time for the following three months. While I'm excited to spend the summer having fun with the kids and enjoying the beach town we live in, I'm also a bit terrified. I'll still be working from home, and I'm expanding my business which means the pressure is on to make it work, and less money is available to pay for daycare. I also enjoy working and I generally need some time away from kids, so going from full-day kindergarten and three full days of pre-school to nothing is a bit daunting. Despite my lifelong dream of being a stay at home mom, I now know that it's not what I'm cut out for. So I've come up with a plan of attack to help get me through the summer with the kids by my side.
1. Set a Schedule- My kids always want to know what we are doing next, or tomorrow, or over the weekend. Not having my days planned out in advance is sure to put everyone in a tailspin. I'll set a schedule so that they know what the plan is for the day even if it means they know that they'll be playing at home until 11 a.m. while I do work and then we'll go to the beach or have a playdate that we can all look forward to.
2. Use the Buddy System- I've got other friends who are going to be in the same situation this summer, and our kids play well together. I'm going to set up a plan with those mothers so that we can all get a break. I'll take their kids for two hours one day if they'll take mine for two hours the next. It doesn't have to be a super long period of time, but if we can each get some time when the kids are out of our hair so that we can work or go to the grocery store or just get a break for a little while, it will recharge us and help maintain our sanity.
3. Sign the Kids Up for a Few Inexpensive Activities- I can't afford to send my kids to camp every week, but my son does want to go to camp so I'll make sure he has something to look forward to by signing him up for a few weeks of half day camp that aren't expensive and maybe one other activity he can do each week.
4. Join a Gym with Daycare- In addition to workout machines and classes my local gym offers daycare, Wi-Fi, and a pool. At six and three-years-old, it's not easy to throw my kids in the stroller and go for a walk, but I think it will make me nuts if I'm home all summer and don't get some exercise in so I'll join a gym with daycare that will allow me some me time during the day. It offers me the option of being able to bring my computer and finish up some work if I need to, and the kids will be rewarded with the pool afterwards which they'll be thrilled about.
5. Set a Standard Playdate Every Week- Sometimes just trying to figure out how to entertain the kids is a full time job. Send an email out to a group of other moms and find a time when you can plan to get together each week throughout the summer. Knowing that you always meet at a park on Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. means you'll always have a social activity on the books with friends each week and creates one less time block that you have to have to come up with a way to fill each week.
I really am looking forward to soaking the summer in with my kids, but I also want to be realistic that it's not going to be all popsicles and sandcastles. Doing these five things should ensure that we all have a fun and productive summer that we'll all remember fondly.
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