By Judith Shearman & Renae Fieck
Summer is here!
Fun and water and cold things to drink! Oh, and stir crazy kids, did I mention the crazy kids? They are great kids, so full of life and energy and movement, but sometimes it makes me tired just watching them.
It’s great that the kids like to play with each other, or by themselves, but summer just reminds me of how quickly time flies. It was just Christmas and now it’s almost summer time! How on earth did that happen? Regardless, it made me think that I want to take this summer to slow down, savor the moments, and be intentional with the kids.
We will never have this specific summer back again and I want to make the most of it.
I don’t want it to be wasted with the “maybe laters” or the “not right nows” or the “we’ll try to do it tomorrows” that I so often find myself saying.
This is my summer commitment…
1. Say “Yes” more
Say yes to going swimming, say yes to the play dough (and sit down and play with them), say yes to the books they want read to them, say yes when they want to do something on their own, say yes to coloring a picture with them.
It’s easy to think of the million things we need to do, and how playing gets in the way. But does it really??
Is playing truly a waste of our time? Or if we let it…can it be the most important time?
2. Go on adventures
Go to the park, or better yet go to a “new” park that we don’t usually visit, go to the zoo, set aside time to look up local events and plan to attend some of them, go to a museum, camp out in the living room or the back yard, go on a nature walk or take the kids hiking, go to the beach, visit an aquarium, have fun as a family.
I’ll admit….one of my secrets to keeping the house clean during the summer, is getting out of the house.
It’s truly a win-win.
Less mess+ fun adventures = amazing summer and happy mom.
3. Be intentional with my time
How many times have you caught yourself aimlessly scrolling fb or instagram? Or getting side tracked from your task by other simple tasks (aka, while putting the laundry away, you get caught picking up the bedroom toys too…)
Instead of wasting time on my phone or my computer, I want to be intentional with my own time.
If I intentionally plan my time and get my tasks done when the kids are in bed, napping, or otherwise occupied, then during the times we are together I can truly focus on the kids better rather than trying to get my stuff done and getting frustrated with them for interrupting.
It’s really hard to fight that urge to just zone out or to distract myself with chocolate and something “fun” the moment the kids are in bed, but if I make the best of my time then, I’ll be more relaxed and better able to focus when I’m with the kids again the next day. Not that I can’t use that time to take care of myself, but I have to be intentional about it. Aimlessly scrolling Pinterest or Facebook for no reason for 2 hours and then staying up late to get everything else done doesn’t help me at all.
4. Include the kids
If I have the kids help with chores, cooking, working in the garden, etc. then even when I’m taking care of the household I can still be spending time with them.
Do you know how crazy fun it can be when you play when you’re doing the chores? My kids and I have some of our best moments when we’re dancing, laughing, and folding laundry together.
And my role as a mom is to raise amazingly competent adults. What better way to to do that than to teach them how to care for themselves and their homes…..all while laughing and enjoying each other.
It’s not my role to just do everything FOR them, but living life TOGETHER. That’s the best way to get to know them anyway.
Washing dishes is always more fun with your spouse or a friend, and our kids can be that companionship for us too, even when they are little.
5. Be spontaneous
The absolute best moments are when I see my kids faces light up when I spontaneously tell them to load in the car at bed time because we’re headed to get ‘froyo’.
Legit it’s the absolute best!
Their excitement is contagious and I’ll admit, it makes me feel like I’m the cool mom (even if its just for a small moment!).
Sitting around the house watching the same episode of Paw Patrol or My Little Pony again for the 20th time might entertain the kids for a few minutes but it won’t make any memories.
I’d much rather have my day exactly planned out and everything go perfectly, but sometimes the spontaneous things in life are the most memorable.
6. Play games
Play board games, play make believe, have pillow fights, play tag, hid and go seek, blow bubbles, don’t just watch from the sideline, but let’s be real mom…..
join in the fun! Don’t just sit on the sidelines this time.
Laugher is the best medicine. It allows you to fully enjoy your kiddos and is a get reminder of how fun they are, and why you had kids in the first place.
7. Grow together
One thing I highly dislike…okay utterly hate about summers….
But what a fabulous opportunity to help the kids learn about social skills and loving each other?!
Instead of getting frustrated when they are rude to each other, I need to make sure I am being the example and saying “please”, “excuse me”, and “thank you” or “no thank you”. Instead of stressing about their behavior, I need to pray WITH them about it and brainstorm together on how to best handle consequences.
I can’t control their actions as much as I’d like to think I can. But what I can control….my own actions.
Instead of being grumpy myself, I need to lighten up, let go of my expectations and enjoy the moments with them.
Bonus Tip…Say no strategically
There are so many summer time activities. The invites can overwhelm. The sheer volume of camps, places to go, things to do can be overwhelming.
Practice saying no more often. Choose your yes’s wisely.
This summer is for you and your kids…no one else.
Let’s be real…
There will be days that are not full of intention, people get sick, things in life come up, stuff happens, but if I practice these things as much as possible then I think that even during the messy moments of life, some of that will slip through and make those days that much better.
I’m not perfect, my kids are not perfect, but I want to grow with them and help them become the beautiful people that God wants them to be, and I think that all starts with a little bit of intention.