Thursday, May 1, 2008

Ideas, anyone?

Summer is looming, and today I pulled out all my "summer files" to look at again. Two years ago, I came up with the idea to "run" my own summer camp for the kids. I gave each week a theme (sports, bugs, beach, etc) and then I planned corresponding activities like a craft, books from the library, a field trip, a movie. I even looked at the school curriculum online so I could incorporate some stuff from the upcoming year. It sounds fabulous. I sound brilliant! Somebody hire me, I'm awesome!

I have never been able to put this plan into action.

I don't know whose kids I thought I'd be working with. I don't know when I was going to switch personalities so that I could calmly do all this stuff. I get stressed about messes. I get stressed when I think there's going to be a mess. I get stressed when I take my kids somewhere and one runs off in one direction, the other runs in the opposite direction--usually towards traffic--and the third needs to go to the bathroom.

I just hate the thought of the kids spending the summer in front of the tv. I feel like they should be learning something--in the sneaky "so fun you-don't-realize-you're-learning" way. And I feel like I need structure to the day, and the kids need a routine. The last two summers, we had our mornings down pretty well. We'd go to the gym for me and then to their swimming lessons. On Wednesdays, we'd hit the free movies, and once a week we'd go to the library. But after lunch, it was all unstructured from there and I'd find myself watching the clock and praying Rob would leave work early. That's not fun for me. I feel like I need to be more engaged with the kids--participating with them instead of tolerating them. I'm their mom, not a sitter! (I know, my oldest is almost eight--I should know this by now. But really, I need a little "me" time--even the school teachers get lunch and recess off! Where's lunch and recess for the moms during the summer?)

So for this summer I'm drawing up my schedule again, but I'm trying to put a little more Amanda into it, if you get my drift. I'm going to try to put in things like family art night. I'm going to have a stern talk with myself about messes. I'm going to invite the kids into the kitchen instead of shooing them away while I'm cooking.

So, after that long rant/confessional, I'm wondering--how do you spend the summer with your kids? Do you have some tried-and-true things that they (and you) enjoy?


Kathryn said...

OMG! That's how I sometimes feel! That I should enjoy my children more instead of tolerate them. And I look at the clock too!

I think it's a common trait for SAHM's.

Other than a summer trip (last year Myrtle Beach, this year Chicago) I haven't planned anything. Maybe a schedule of events would help me too.

Susan said...

I think you're on the right track with trying to establish a little more routine in your afternoons. And one thing I think you should definitely consider is scheduling in an hour of "quiet time" after lunch. My family always did this and each kid had to retire to their room for quiet activities like reading, playing with toys, etc. Mom got a break too!

Marcia said...

My mother used to give us kids a bucket of water with a big old paint brush. We "painted" the house, garage door, you name it. That kept us busy for awhile. My kids always loved dress up...especially if taking their pic was part of it. Making frames to put the pic in out of cardboard and decorating that is always a hit. Making garden stones in foild pie plates with cement and marbles, hand prints etc. is a disney site full of children's craft, recipies and party ideas. Have fun!