Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer Survival

Summer is here and life in our house has gone from crazy-but-manageable to haywire. Part of it, I'm sure, is because I haven't perfected the summer schedule, but there's also a lot of adjusting to do. The dashingly handsome sidekick is teaching summer school for the first time and starting his National Boards. I'm looking at the weeks ahead wondering how I'm going to keep my head on, nevermind straight.

Which reminds me that I have to be smart. Work smarter, not harder. Take care of myself.

And when I talk about self care, I'm not talking about pampering. People in my stage of life don't often have money for babysitters and spa days and vacations by the lake. We have to use the resources we have available to stay sane, stay healthy, stay happy.

Here are some ways I'm going to try to be smarter this summer when life is at its most demanding:
  1. Sleep more: Go to bed at a reasonable time; don't let myself stay up super late writing and editing. I know staying up into the wee hours will bite me the next day and usually those late-night pushes don't produce my best work anyway.
  2. Drink more water: It's so easy for me to get busy and forget to drink water. Also, when I'm tired, I usually head for the caffeinated sodas in the refrigerator. Less soda, more water!
  3. Eat well: Hello fresh fruits and veggies! There's such a wide variety of produce this time of year. I want to enjoy it. And my body will thank me, too.
  4. Walk more: Though we're still on a schedule in the summer, it doesn't have to be as rigid as during the school year. I want to take advantage of every opportunity I have to get out of the house, skip the car ride, and walk with my baby jogger to our destination. The kids might complain at first, but they'll get used to it. 
  5. Give the kids chores: I'm already listening to too much of the "I'm Bored" chorus at our house. I'm putting these bored kids to work. Weeding, dishes, vacuuming, dusting, to name a few.
  6. One activity a day: Someone recently mentioned this when we were talking about summer survival. Every day she picked one activity to do with her kids. It didn't have to be big, exhausting or expensive. Maybe they played in the sprinkler, maybe they rode bikes to the corner store, maybe they baked cookies, maybe they spent the morning at the pool, but every day they picked one thing and did it. That sounds doable to me.
  7. Read more: It's crazy that I actually end up reading less with my children during summer than I do during the school year. I need to remember that it's okay to pick up books and read in the middle of the day. Reading doesn't have to be reserved for bedtime.
  8. Pray, laugh & sing: This may sound simple, but so often these are not my reactions when stress hits. When I have three children crying simultaneously, I'm more likely to start blubbering than singing. As the mom, I so often set the mood in my home. I want it to be a good mood, even in the not-so-good moments.
This is my summer survival plan. Anything else you'd add to the list?

Photo credit: Irish_Eyes from


  1. I think I'm just going to print this one out and go with it :) haha.

  2. You will survive! And I'm with Kelley. What a great list :)

  3. Thank you Amy! I just barely survived first day of summer vacation with the kids. A great list!

  4. Great list, Amy. One of my friends has a spin on the chores idea--a "bored jar." On scraps of paper, write down unpleasant tasks that need doing periodically--scrub the tub, wash the car, dust the picture frames, clean out the toybox, bathe the dog, etc. Put them in a jar. Whenever one of the kids says "I'm bored," they have to pick a task out of the jar. After a few rounds of tough chores, the whining will tend to stop. :-)

  5. Aw, what a wonderful list! I love the idea of one activity a day. And I need to join you on drinking more water--I always forget to do that, and it's so important! Have a wonderful summer!

  6. Excellent list. I'd add ... take a nap. This means the kids can take a nap or do things quietly for an hour in the afternoon. Timers are great for the little ones.

    My kids know that I'll put them to work if they say they're bored. Oh, I put them to work anyways, because how else are they going to learn anything?

    I've not had the best start to summer being ill, but it also set the precedent that the children will have to come up with their own creative solutions to entertain themselves.

  7. I think this sounds like a good plan, Amy! I have to remind myself frequently of your last point, too.
    I hope your summer is wonderful!

  8. I love these points, because they're so simple. I agree that taking care of yourself in these ways is important! And I like the idea of doing one fun thing with the kids every day. Good luck surviving, it sounds like you'll be able to do it. :)

  9. National Boards!! I did that madness. Good thing for Aaron starting early- I didn't start until the end of September and it kicked my butt! If he needs someone to read his entries for him I can help. :)

  10. This is a great list!

  11. Your list sounds a lot like ours. I especially like the one activity a day because sometimes when there is two or three or more a day, I feel like it zaps the fun out of summer.

    And I'm all over more reading this summer. The kids and I have a mandatory 30 minute reading time each morning (after chores are done and before they can go play with friends).

    And this summer I'm using an idea I saw on someone's blog that if kids want to have more screen time (tv, computer or wii), they have to earn it by reading for that same amount of time they want. So far it's working great! And my kids are usually reading more than 30 minutes and not even asking for screen time.

  12. Hi Amy .. I see all us sensible women agree with you - I have no kids .. but a mother to include every day for visiting and sitting by her bedside ..

    Walking is something I need to do .. and I remember at one of my schools 7 - 9 .. we used to have to read for half an hour after lunch - I'm sure I feel asleep a great deal of the time - but it now makes a sensible idea ..

    Early to bed and early to rise ..

    Enjoy the summer with the changes that will ring positivity too ..

    Cheers Hilary

  13. This is a fantastic list. I need to follow some of this.

    I'm actually trying to sleep less this summer since I want to do so many things and naps get in the way.

    Have a great week and a wonderful summer.