Summer. Oh, summer. Summer has so much possibility. So many beaches to explore, parks to hit up, ample sunny days to enjoy and extra hours of daylight and hours and hours of unscheduled hours fill. HOURS AND HOURS OF UNSCHEDULED, OPEN HOURS TO FILL, SMARTIES. Last summer, there was camp. I loved camp. They loved camp. Camp was a veritable carnival of joyful entertainment and exhaustive activities that I did not have to plan or orchestrate. It was the very best.
But we were only able to send the kids to camp because we qualified for a ginormous scholarship that we no longer qualify for even though one of us is not currently employed because of the way they base everything on last year’s taxes. So. No camp.
My god I miss camp so much.
But, one of us still has to work and other has to job hunt, so we’re trying to piecemeal keeping the kids busy without the very obvious and often tempting siren call of “just shove them in front of a screen for endless hours until the drool puddle is so big you can no longer live with yourself.” It’s been interesting. My littlest Smartling is going to a summer program to work on reading skills and, while I thought that would be helpful, it actually means that the older Smartling is bored as all hell while he’s gone. Thankfully, the big one loves to read, so that’s saved our butts so far, but *eventually* he’s going to run out of stamina. And then? Crap. Also, the summer program only goes until 12:30, so unless one of us is willing AND able to take the dudes to the park for hours afterward… there are still SO MANY hours to fill. So many, Smarties. SO MANY HOURS OF DEMANDING SNACKS WHILE IMPEDING PRODUCTIVE WORK TIME.
AND, the summer program ends in 2 weeks, so then it’s just all the open, unscheduled time you can imagine. We have read. We have painted. We have broken out all the projects they got for the holidays or for birthdays and finished them. We have forced them to “play quietly” (read: they play 0% quietly) in their rooms. We have told them to do puzzles. To play Legos. To draw. To play cards. We have played board games. We have practiced math. We have read aloud. We have played Go Fish. AND WE ARE ONLY THREE WEEKS INTO SUMMER.
So much togetherness.
If we didn’t have shit to do, I think it would be pretty fun, actually. We could go on day trips and go camping and hiking and go to all the beaches and parks we never go to and we could spend hours upon hours exploring. But we DO have shit to do, and it is REALLY getting in the way of summer. And the kids are kind of pissed. And we are kind of pissed. And everyone is kind of pissed. We need to figure out some kind of balance. I’m hoping we’ll stumble on something that works well besides abandoning everything we have to do or ignoring the kids. Because you know what happens when you ignore the kids.
Why do they never ever ever stop saying "Mom" ever?
In the meantime… if you have any ideas that aren’t “purchase childcare,” send ‘em my way. Because all this open time and togetherness *while* trying to get shit done is, uh… interesting.
(Unless you want to send me cash to purchase childcare. That’s totally cool.)