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Jun 01 2011

Guest post: Missy from Literal Mom

I’m currently in the wilds of southeastern Utah…or southwestern Colorado…oh heck, somewhere in the Four Corners area. I have spotty cell coverage, but somehow the calls and texts from idiots on the east coast are still getting through. What idiots? The ones who found my number on a NYC Craigslist ad for happy ending massages. While I scrub the ewwwww off my psyche, I’ll let Missy take it from here. I feel like I’ve known her forever, and loved this post. Missy, take it away!

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The Top 10 ways to keep from losing your mind avoid frustration during summer break

When Jen put the call out for guest bloggers this week, I said, “Yippppppppeeeeeeee!” And then did cartwheels around the room in my happiness.

No, I actually didn’t do that. I did that when I was able to end a meeting on time for an organization I lead. It felt, in some ways, totally embarrassing. But it also didn’t. Because I am a MOTHER and nobody knows embarrassing moments like a mother does.

  • Like when you have to leave your grocery cart in the store, filled, to take your screaming child out to the car to calm down.
  • Or when your child opens the stall door in a public bathroom while you are mid-stream and walks out. Leaving it open. With people in line.
  • Or when your child, in church, feels the need to do the following – sticking her bottom out and saying, “I’m smackin’ my butt-butt, I’m smackin’ my butt-butt.” While her sister literally falls over in gales of laughter and you need to go to confession just for the THOUGHTS you have at that moment, let alone what you’d like to do to them when you get home.
  • Or when the same child pulls down her pants in Panera to show the lovely old ladies next to us her “big girl underpants.” Insert sister in gales of laughter again.

Yes, Moms know embarrassment. It comes with the territory. But that’s not what I’m talking about today.

Today is about that bad, bad word called . . . SUMMER.

The time when the moms get dragged out of the school routine kicking and screaming and into days of “I’m sooooo bored” children get to recharge after a long, hardworking school year with rest, relaxation and a little fun too.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with summer. Don’t all Moms?

Today I’m going to talk about tips for a good better summer than the one you may be anticipating with a few tips for a healthy and productive time.

So here we go!

  1. Stick to a routine. It may seem like everyone wants no structure or routine, but KIDS CRAVE IT and MOTHERS DEPEND ON IT for sanity. Seriously. The only time you can disregard this is the first blissful week of summer when everyone truly does need to blow off steam and have little/no structure. Week 2 – get on a schedule, girl!
  2. Do a summer reading program – it serves the dual purpose of keeping skills up and allowing you to do #3. And while I’m sure some of the library ones are fine and the Barnes and Noble ones fit some people’s lives, I make my own summer reading program. With incentive. What are the things your child really likes? Things you may (cough, cough) do this summer anyway, BUT why not attach them to some reading goals? And participate in it yourself! With rewards for you too – what better role modeling can there be?
  3. Take time for yourself. Daily. 5 minutes locked in the bathroom, or 60 minutes while they get “TV time.” Doesn’t matter – just do it, as Nike’s been telling us for years.
  4. Get a sitter once in awhile. See #3 above. I used to get a sitter to go to a matinee movie. Alone. Seems frivolous? I think it reduced the need for therapy, thereby saving $1000s of dollars in the long run. A bargain.
  5. Give them chores. This has the double bonus of taking pressure off of you and teaching them responsibility. Oh, they don’t want to do them? Well, hell, I don’t want to do chores either! We have that in common. Let’s use that little friend incentive again. You want screen time, Junior? Get your chores done. There are plenty of websites that have age appropriate chores for you to pick. My 9 year old, for example will be doing her own laundry this summer. Excuse me for a moment while I do the happy dance . . . . ok I’m back. And my 3 year old will be bringing in the paper, as two small examples.
  6. Make a weekly plan. Seems daunting? I argue it’s no more daunting than facing down a 12 hour day with NO plan and crazy, antsy, fighting kids. Plus, at the beginning of the summer there are always grand plans. If you plan things each week, you won’t get to August 20th and say, “Holy crap! We didn’t do anything we planned on this summer!”
  7. Attend your state fair. Fair food, people watching and local culture – all imperative summer pastimes.
  8. Go to the pool. A lot of us only get a pool for 3 months a year. Don’t say it’s too hot or too bright. You’ll miss it when January’s here.
  9. Enroll them in a summer camp. If you can, do. 12 weeks is a loooong, loooong time and you will have plenty of time to bond with your kiddos. Summer camp = enrichment as far as I’m concerned. And refer back to #3 above. Mental health benefits for all, people.
  10. Dance parties. Here at Chez Literal Mom, they work in the winter, they work in the summer. When kids are crawling the walls and you’re ready to run screaming from the building, put on some peppy music and let it all out! Like J Lo says, “If you’re an animal, then tear up the floor!”

Happy summer!

I’m Missy, by the way, and my site is The Literal Mom. Jen and I met through my first blog. She was/is one of those bloggers who really cares about her blogging community. If you share with her, she will share right back. I love her for that. She made me feel welcome at a time when I didn’t understand, really, what blogging was all about.

So thank YOU Jen, for the guest post offer! And readers, I won’t shake a stick at ya if you come over to The Literal Mom and give me a follow too!

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4 comments

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  1. Benoit

    Nice post !
    🙂

  2. Sara

    Okay… you had me at the embarrassing moments part. Seriously, why do they always open the bathroom door and casually stroll out?! I was like the bigger sister laughing hysterically when reading this.

    I just started my blog too. And I’m kinda struggling. I’m not feeling that committed, so I haven’t really “told” anyone about it. Any how… I enjoyed your post! Thanks!

  3. Leo Soderman

    Most of these seem to hit the mark. For my kid, one problem was putting her into a summer program. Being on a very tight budget, last year I opted for the Boys & Girls Club. Bad choice.

    Don’t get me wrong – they’re a fine organization and do great work. But the lack of structure was a real problem when it came time to go back to school.

    Keep to a structure and schedule that somewhat resembles the school year. It will help the transition back when the summer ends.
    Leo Soderman recently posted…Carolyn – Memorial Day 2011 PortraitMy Profile

  4. My Kids Mom

    I posted a list of Things To Do When Bored many years ago (available at http://pookandbug.blogspot.com/2008/05/i-dont-do-bored.html ) and I post it every year on the fridge. We have a tradition at the end of school where we make a list of more specific ideas/ names of friends we want to see, etc. When I hear “I’m bored” I send them to the list. If they don’t choose something… I choose for them. There is always laundry to be folded and the kitchen always needs a sweep.
    My Kids Mom recently posted…nothingMy Profile

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