The Joy of Summer

In our house, my kids have officially been out of school for a whole entire week. The start of summer is a magical time for our kids – and I keep reminding myself that I need to find ways to embrace their joy. Our kids look forward to summer break all year, and most especially in those last few weeks leading up to the last day of school. As much as summer brings new family challenges – how to keep them busy, keep doing all the things, and juggle a whole new set of activities along with real life – it is our kids’ time to live their best free lives. All of us should embrace the joy of summer!

Embrace the joy of summer this year!

After going back to work (still part time, and from home) more than I have worked for years, I have been dreading how it will work with my kids home for months. How I will get everything done, and still keep up with the meals and the house and all the things. It isn’t a new thing for me – I have worked from home, with kids for the better part of 15 years in some capacity. We’ve all survived a global pandemic. In theory, my kids know how to behave and play nicely together or apart, and we have a large yard, a basketball half court, and plenty of books for them to read (they are all still grumbling about my 30-minute reading challenge every day).

One of my mom friends recently told me she couldn’t wait for her kids to be home – she loves the freedom of summer and the joy of having them with her all day. A change in perspective is always in order when we feel like we’re in a funk – and I have been feeling the funk lately. I love my kids, and I love how much they love summer freedom.

Many of my friends schedule a series of summer camps, sports camps, and other organized fun for their kids, all summer long. We have our share of those things, interspersed with what I call regular summer days at home. My kids all have their sports practices – and summer baseball is in full swing, especially for our middle, who is happy out there on the field, in any position. Our community pool was supposed to open today, but the weather hasn’t cooperated and we have a chilly day with rain. So, at some point we will start hitting the pool a couple of afternoons a week and getting out to absorb some much-needed vitamin D.

How do you roll with your summer planning?

Our kids all have different activities, and we still have to finish up a few things that normally would be done by now. Our little (or not so little anymore) has her dance recital this weekend to cap off nine months of practice, and the Teenager is raising pigs for one last county fair to cap of summer in August. We are hitting a few favorite spots this summer, including a family favorite event in Colonial Williamsburg, a family reunion, and a big wedding or two along the way. In addition to endless nights of baseball, chill time at home, and a few work trips along the way for both my husband and me.

mom Play Ball
Our summer includes a lot of baseball – this is part of my summer joy!

As moms, sometimes we get bogged down in the worry about how we will get all the things done, and stress over how much our kids add to the mess every day instead of how much joy they have in just being able to be home and enjoy life. Messes will be made. Kids will create chaos. My take? Let the kids be kids. Let them revel in the joy. And make them help you clean up the house!

ICYMI: Check out my tips for getting your kids to help with chores

I try to be the chill mom who rolls with all the things and moves on to what’s next when I have a challenge. Lately, I have missed a few things as I juggled the day to day. The Teenager graduated high school last week, and we’ve had a bit of excitement around that event. She is an amazing young woman, and I’m confident that she will go far in life and enjoy many adventures along the way. My goal this summer is to get back to basics and find the joy, right along with my kids.

One of my other goals? To get back to doing something special with each of my kids, and show them all how much I love them. Whether it’s spending a day – 0r a weekend – doing something they like to do, or taking a special trip with each of them individually, I want to get back to showing our kids that they are valued. It’s been a specific complaint in our house lately, and something we’ve gotten away from. Especially for our middle, who has the freedom to ride his bike around the neighborhood and live his best summer life, and who feels that mom is the worst (as I’ve been told A LOT lately). Being the Strong Mom is hard. Telling our kids “no” in so many ways – necessary, but not easy to do all the time. Figure out ways to show your kids that each of them is special and loved. At some point, it will sink in. Even if you are the worst in the moment when you tell them they can’t have candy right before lunch.

We’re all juggling all the things, and no one ever said that parenting is easy. As always, love your kids, give them hugs all the time, and let them have the joy of summer. You deserve it too!

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