I'm a dreamer, writer and actor obsessed with classic television, lace, baking and quoting Ace Ventura (one of these things is not like the other). I like to believe that my life is just like a Disney movie with an Alan Menken soundtrack except the stepmom's not so evil. When I married my husband, David, in October of 2012, I fell madly, deeply in love with my two stepchildren, Chloe and Trey. It's incredibly hard to balance being a stepmom every other weekend with the rest of my life, but it is 100% worth it. You can find more stories about my family at my personal blog, fairytangles!
Hooray! It’s summer time! Chloe is officially out of school and, thanks to some awesome co-parenting, she and her brother are with us for one extra night on our weekends!
As excited as I am, does it make sense to say that I used to be terrified of summer vacation with kids?
Don’t get me wrong, I love having my stepchildren with us more than anything, but I was bracing myself for the onslaught of “I’m booooooored” and “There’s nothing to dooooooo”, phrases I thought for sure would become dominant in the Sollenberger household. Both of our kids are notorious for becoming bored with an activity just a few minutes after I’ve a) found the activity, b) gathered all the supplies, c) taught them how to do said activity and d) spent fifteen minutes DOING the activity for them followed by e) massive clean-up and still-bored children.
You know the drill.
This year, however, I’ve managed to figure out exactly what works for me and my stepkids and it is fabulous. Last weekend was our first “official” summer vacation weekend and it was gloriously fun. Every day was packed full, but I was still able to accomplish what I needed to and I didn’t end the day feeling like I was running a daycare. So, I’ve pretty much set up a “schedule”.
So now that I know what time my kids need to do their own thing and get out of the house? We do it. We’re super lucky to have an aunt and uncle right down the road with a really nice pool. After breakfast, the three of us hop on bikes or walk to the pool and spend the next several hours swimming. Not only are they getting exercise and having a ton of fun, they’re also getting COMPLETELY worn out.Our schedule isn’t strict and it’s definitely not something we’ve written down, but it’s just a general timeline I keep in my head. Before, I knew that my hairiest time with the kids was right after breakfast. 9am to noon was not a happy time in our home and I was tired of it. I was tired of feeling snappy and irritated just to glance at the clock and see that it’s only 10am. We had to change something.
(Which is half the point of taking kids swimming, am I right?)
After swimming, it’s lunch time and we start heading back to the house. I make lunch and usually find our four-year-old, Trey, asleep somewhere in the house. Chloe and I spend that quiet time making a craft or playing a game. If Trey’s awake, both of them are usually ready for some down time, so we all pile in the armchair for a movie, while I type out some articles or do a little house cleaning.
By that point, it’s late afternoon and both of my kids are angels around this time. They are so eager to play Barbies, dominoes, lions and princesses, that it makes the afternoon whiz by. Thanks to our Georgia weather, this is also the best time to play inside because it’s usually blazing hot by now. They get to stretch their imaginations, have some fun and I get to start on dinner, laundry, etc.
Phew. Just typing all of that out has made me totally exhausted, but man is it worth it. I love not having to plan a whole day anymore and I really love that learning my kids’ boundaries and “good” times has helped us mold the perfect summer day.
Unless it’s raining during “swim” time. Then we’re kinda stuck.
How do you beat the summer “blues”? Do your kids have an “on” and “off” time during the day?
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