Well, we’re about two weeks from summer vacation here, so I’m still in End-of-School Survival Mode even as I share my kids’ excitement with each passing day. Mother’s Day was a great respite from the busyness, but as each petal drops from my wilting bouquet, I’m fully aware that I better make a few preparations for the months to come.
You parents know what I’m talking about: Your kids are going finish the school year, and within 5 hours of that final bell, they will have eaten all your food and generally trashed the place.
Then, they’ll need a ride to somebody else’s house so they can eat all their food and trash their place, too.
Welcome to Summer Vacation.
OK, it’s not that bad. I absolutely love spending more time together as a family over the break. Trips, camps, serve opportunities, and especially having the kids’ friends in and out of our home fill up my joy tank.
But there are three areas where I’ve laid down Mom Law in order to keep my sanity. Hopefully, these help you, too, as you contemplate the controlled chaos that is summertime with kids at home:
Breakfast and lunch fixings will be on hand, but everybody in the house makes those meals for themselves, even guests. Each week I get the kids’ input on what they want for meals and snacks. They make themselves pasta, salads, sandwiches, leftovers, whatever they want. They also show their friends the meal options and either serve them or make their meals together. Yes, younger kids need more coaching and supervision, but over time, they really can do a lot for themselves. While I usually make dinner, I get help there, too. After all, kids can totally cook, as evidenced by Food Network. I just tell them it’s part of Adulting 101.
Everybody is in charge of their own laundry. We do this during the school year, too, but one of the things the kids do more in the summer is pair up and wash their clothes together. I don’t care how they negotiate it (same with other chores) just as long as they get it done. The faster the boring stuff like laundry gets done, the faster they can go do other stuff. Again, Adulting 101.
Some chores are part of being in the family, but I’m not opposed to cash incentives for larger jobs. Taking out the trash, cleaning up rooms and bathrooms, unloading the dishes–these are part of everyday life. Nobody likes them that much, but we’ve all got to do them to support each other. However, I do negotiate payment or other incentives for some larger chores. After all, earning and managing money is also part of the adult experience, right? To be honest, my kids are a lot more interested in summer jobs now–be it babysitting or bagging groceries–so I doubt I’ll be paying them to clean out the garage or wash the cars much longer. Mom’s extra five bucks isn’t nearly as attractive as an hourly rate. Still, though, having their own funds to pay for new clothes, contribute to their own trips, and buy more than a few Whataburgers? That seems like a win to me.
What about you? What are your summer sanity savers? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. And if you’re needing some spiritual encouragement this summer–or maybe just want to grow in areas like patience, kindness, and love–check out my book New Woman, New Clothes: Outfit Your Soul to Live, Lead, Love.