By now, you’re probably feeling the heat of summer. I’m not talking about the temperature. I’m talking about all the time with your kids.
Remember those blissful honeymoon days of early June where you swore you’d stick to a summertime routine? Make sure your kids brushed their teeth and finished their chores before they got one minute of screen time? Those days in my house have long set sailed upon the wings of “I Don’t Give a Crap” and “Holy Mother Is It September Yet?”
If you are like me, then you genuinely like spending summertime with your kids. Most of the time. Just not all of the time. But there’s still a lot of daylight between now and that first school bell, moms. So here are some tips to keep your cool during the stresses of summer:
- Schedules! The No. 1 complaint moms have about summer is the insane schedules – or complete lack thereof. When bedtimes and chore charts go out the window, it can make even the sanest of women want to pull out her hair. But take a deep breath, moms, and repeat after me: “It is summertime. Nobody cares if my kids are still in their pajamas at noon.” Try to relax, put your OCD aside and embrace summer’s freedom. Because countless other mothers are struggling at the other end of the spectrum – being so busy with kids’ sports and activities that they need an air traffic controller just to get through the day! To combat the hectic-ness, I strongly suggest enlisting some help. Carpool to baseball practice with a neighbor. Hire a babysitter to watch younger children while you haul older siblings to YMCA camp. It’s probably not cool to call an Uber for your kiddos, but you can certainly get Dad or Grandma to lend a hand with some of the running around. And please, please cut yourself some slack. It’s OK if your 6-year-old misses an occasional soccer game, or if your kindergartner is five minutes late for summer school. Don’t forget to practice some self-care – maybe try Yoga on the City Deck on Tuesdays? And if you decide to bag it all for a day and play hooky at Neshotah Beach, I promise I won’t tell!
- Snacks! The second-biggest complaint is about how much these children want to eat. I probably hear, “Mom, can I have a snack?” at least 60 times per day. Madness! My recommendation is to go to Costco and stock up on healthy-ish foods your kids can serve themselves. Tis the season for fresh produce – don’t forget about all the farm markets in the Green Bay area, and that kids are more likely to try new fruits or vegetables if they pick them out themselves. I don’t keep ice cream in my freezer, opting instead for low-fat frozen yogurt or all-fruit popsicles. Beyond that, my girls get multivitamins every day and (fingers crossed) some other form of nutrition. A pasta salad can be breakfast, and I’m not proud to say my youngest once had Cheez-Its for dinner. But they are surviving. Need some mealtime inspiration? Go immediately to Pinterest!
- Boredom! This is where it gets tricky – finding age-appropriate activities for each member of the household without running yourself ragged. And then there’s that balance between jam-packing your life with playdates and park outings or letting your kiddos binge on PBS Kids for eight hours a day. In my house, we strive for one family favorite each week (whether it’s the Children’s Museum, City Deck splash pad or the Botanical Gardens) and one new activity. Click here for a listing of 30 parks in the area that you should try, from Astor to Voyageur. And I cannot say enough good things about the Brown County Library summer reading program. Still stumped? Here’s a sampling from my daughters’ summer bucket list:
- Go fishing
- Drive-in movie at Field of Scenes, Freedom
- Visit Neville Museum
- Fly a kite
- Rollerskate at Rola-Rena
- Take the ferry to Washington Island
- Pick strawberries at Moder’s
- Ride bikes to Zesty’s
- Take a walk to look for monarch caterpillars
- Attend Bullfrogs game
- Add on to backyard fairy garden
- Ride Zippin Pippin
- Go to Algoma Pizza Bowl
- Check out one of the free summer concerts at Whitney Park
- Take Segway tour! (Not happening – sorry girls!)
- Visit Heritage Hill for free concert night, etc.
I’m not even going to pretend like we are going to cross off all these items. That’s my final point, moms: Summer is meant to be vaycay-time for you, too. So don’t make yourself crazy thinking you have to hit every festival or play in every pool. Give yourself permission to get together with your girlfriends for a glass of wine while your kiddos play “Kick the Can” together in the back yard. Set up a sprinkler or a tent in your basement and leave the minivan parked in the garage. Summertime can be super stressful but – for better or worse – it never lasts forever!