I always have grand plans when it comes to the kids and the precious time we have with them. On one hand I always want to focus on quality time with them, but looking back on the last 15 years of parenting I’ve also had a huge quantity of time. It’s a choice we made early on when we were young and broke that it wouldn’t make sense for both of us to work crazy hours to provide for our family. (Besides the fact that I would only be working to pay for childcare) So I stayed at home.
Over the years I’ve had many part-time jobs and ‘gigs’ (like babysitting in a church nursery) that helped out, but by and large I was quantity time, and my husband was quality time.
Not to say our time together wasn’t awesome, but if you spend ALL your time at home with young kids you’re bound to have to do things like clean the house or run errands with them. These things can be fun, but they aren’t really the same level of quality time. There’s a lot of drudergy and just everyday stuff mixed in with the sweet moments of reading books together snuggled on the couch, the satisfaction you get when your child falls asleep at naptime, or the simple joy of seeing your child smile.
Now my kids are older though, and our current setup is slightly different. I currently own my own business, and work from home. I can take on more work or less depending on what’s going on at home. My kids still come first (and I’m available in case someone is sick or forgot their homework) but I still have responsibilities to clients and to my readers here.
After spending the first year I’ve ever had as a mother with 4 kids in school full day, I somehow thought I could magically make them being at home most of the summer and my workload and chores get done too. Boy, was I wrong!
I should note too, that while my oldest has been away (living at the beach with my parents and working there) this summer, the shift in family dynamics doesn’t make things any easier. He helps out a lot, and he can always be counted on to help his brother with just about anything.
In any case, my grand plan was to keep them home, set up a flexible summer schedule, supplement with fun activities, and cut back on my workload.
Buuuut, It’s not working.
The kids are boooooored. I’m tired of trying to squeeze things into the cracks, and while there have been fun times, it’s just not working for anyone.
Dear Summer, you win. Score: Summer: 1, Kelly: -100.
Now with only about a month to go until school starts (can I get an AMEN?!) I enrolled Audrey (9) in half day camp this week. Emma and Aidan are both in half day school sponsored ‘camps’ this summer to help with academics, so I will get 12 quiet hours this week, and I plan to make them count.
Additionally I signed them up for a full week of full-day Y camp in early August so I can have 5 full days of time to do ‘work’ and house improvements, and maybe squeeze in a lunch date with a certain husband. 😉
It will still be a challenge for the next few weeks, but I’ve learned something important this summer. While I may have visions of how things used to be when they were younger, and how I want things to be, sometimes I need to be reminded that when our plans don’t work, we need to change directions, and that’s ok.
I’ll still get plenty of time with these amazing little people, but I know now they (and I) need more structure in the summertime.
So next year when it’s Spring and I’m talking about our summer plans, remind me. 😉