Ok, look. I want to be the fun mom. Kind of. I want to be the adventurous mom, on occasion. I want to make memories and all that. I *know* summer is short. I *know* they grow up, and I'm "going to miss this." I KNOW OK? JUST STOP WITH THE GUILT TRIPS.
Here is the deal though: Summer is crazy. It just is. There doesn't seem to be any way around it. The past three summers before this current one, I made CHARTS, I had THEMES, there were FIELD TRIPS. And by August, it all had petered out into "Try to not run electronics 12 hours a day." Seriously.
I was a homeschooling mom. I am well-accustomed to having all my kids around all the time. It should NOT be a big deal. But when you mix in the non-schooling schedule, with the fun things, and the warm weather, and all the children... it becomes a lot of work.
I'm not afraid of hard work. I am afraid of taking all seven of my children someplace and losing one of them. It happens ya'll ok?
I am also incapable of keeping house in some semblance of order. It is a mess. ALL THE TIME. Like, dude, why are your underpants in the kitchen? That doesn't even make sense?
I am an expert at managing chaos, if I'm being humble. I don't mean to imply that any amount of chaos is removed or even prevented. Ha! No. I am good, however, at 1. Mitigating it. 2. Ignoring it. 3. Hiding in the bathroom, shouting, "I'm IN THE BATHROOM," when the chaos inevitably finds me.
So, because I am an EXPERT, here are my tips to surviving summer, in no particular order. (I know this is three months too late for many of you, but file it away for next year. We still have an entire almost MONTH of summer here.)
1. Let them watch TV.
This year, I didn't even qualify it with "Did you read your scriptures? Did you make your bed?" No. They did not. So, I'm not going to enforce rules I don't feel like enforcing. You wanna watch "The King of Random" make stuff out of balloons and shower caulk? Fine. Fine. Go right ahead.
I do make them turn it off eventually, but honestly, an hour or two in the morning? I don't care. Like. AT ALL.
2. Teach them to use the microwave.
Lunch, amiright? Ugh. It's the WORST. Like You JUST ate breakfast and dinner is in like six hours. Can't you wait? No. They can not. So, since they refuse to eat peanut butter and jelly like normal children (seriously, what is wrong with you?) I've gone to straight up microwaving. And not like, good, organic stuff. Nope. we're talking all American stuff like hot pockets, taquitos and corn dogs. I do not even care. It's like a little bread line, each of them holding their frozen entree of choice on a little paper plate, waiting their turn for the microwave. I've almost got Fred trained on which buttons to push to accomplish a 2-minute cook time. Almost. I have goals. It's all good.
3. Regular bedtime.
It's 8:00. Go to bed. I don't care if you sleep or not. I do not care. You can read. Just don't bug me. I don't care if it's bright as day outside. The clock says 8pm, and Mommy is all done with you. I love you. You're darling. I can't live without you. Go to bed. Good night.
I know it's not fun, but I don't care. If they live here, they have to help. It isn't MY underwear in the kitchen. I don't have the energy to fight them all the time about stuff, but I do require that they help. Even Beatrice has a chore daily, that some lucky someone gets to help her accomplish. They whine, they complain, they do a terrible job. I don't care. They do it.
5. Do some fun things.
I get stuck in ruts pretty easily. So, I do try to plan something fun every week. It's not grand, or expensive, but I do try to make sure we break out of the ordinary "GO PLAY OUTSIDE," and "TURN OFF THE ELECTRONICS NOW OR I'M GOING TO DRIVE OVER THEM!" routine. It keeps things interesting when I yell, "WHO WANTS TO GO ON AN ADVENTURE?" instead. I try to mostly do free stuff, or low cost, because, I am not exactly rollin' in it. The cool thing is my kids don't care if something is free. They just care if it's fun. Keeping their standards low is part of my success as a parent. We are not Disney people. We are "It's fun to run to the Dollar Store," people.
There. Now, if you do these five things, you will have a fantastic summer. I promise. Your children will still fight. They will whine about being bored. Who cares? You're not an event planner. Go play kid. When the first day of school rolls around you might not be sad at all, but you'll also know you did your...mediocrest-to-not-the-worst. And there is no better feeling in the world than that!