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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How to Survive Your Kids This Summer

I love summer. Always have. Always will. It is in my veins. But a summer with children asking for something every 4 seconds? I can see how it might not be everyone's favorite time of year. All of those hours. All of those children up in your business. All of the time. Is it possible for someone to  invent a chocolate milk dispenser (with a side of a wine dispenser with an adult friendly child lock on it pretty please)? Is it possible to survive all of the "Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, MMMOOOOMMMMs"? Is it possible that could even be (gasp) fun?

For them and for real, you too sister, it can be. Pour yourself a glass of Pinot Noir (the old fashioned way) and let me tell you my top ten tips of summer survival:

  1. Make Friends with People with Pools. You would, of course, be friends with them any way but they kick ass all the more because their backyard equals a vacation. Pay them back by bringing the good, fun snacks for all ages and needless to say, wine. Happy kids, happy mommas.
  2. BORED = CHORES. If my kids even begin to say "I'm bor-" they are put to work. It's almost like them saying a swear word in front of me. Okay, really it's worse. I have a bored chore list so they will be scrubbing some toilets if they need an activity. Boom. Win-win. For me. Try it. You will be amazed at the imagination your kids will develop to avoid that list and how much they will avoid boredom. It is a beautiful thing.
  3. Fighting = loss of technology. You fight and seriously everyone loses. It is the opposite of the boredom chores. This one makes me suffer the most. Damn it. Don't make me take that iPad away. Shit. I have to take that iPad away. For a whole week. No negotiations. I could cry just thinking about it. Losing it for a week may seem harsh. But it has worked for my little tech lovers. Find out what they love and stick your guns with this punishment. I just realized I might be kind of a hard ass. And I like it.
  4. 5 Minute Clean Up. I have just begun being more of a regulator about enforcing this one and let me tell you, if used daily it is AMAZING. Set a timer for 5 minutes, let the kids race against the clock to clean up and you sit down and drink some wine tea (unless it is after 11 a.m. than of course a mojito would be the obvious choice). Do this in the morning and at night and your house will feel less like a tornado ran through it, your kids will be more conscious of how many toys they take out and you will feel like the fucking Queen Bee, a title you have earned. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
  5. Avoid the Grocery Store. Fo Real. But how do we avoid dragging every single dragging child to the longest trip ever each and every week to pick up milk and the "necessities" and end up spending $512? Listen young grasshopper: there are two ways.
    1. Shop the farmers market. This is always a happier way to shop for food. Your kids can see what food looks like in its natural, unpackaged state and what it should taste like and support the local farmers. Our larger farmers market even sells local wine. Another sells local crabmeat. PLEASE DON'T GO AWAY IN OCTOBER. You are deeply loved farmers market, so deeply loved. So take advantage while they are here. Your money will go farther and you will help to make a difference. Your $50 isn't going to hurt Target if you don't shop there but it will greatly help those who grow the food day in and day out.
    2. For everything else (ahem, toilet paper)- take advantage of local grocery pick up. I realize this isn't in every area but in many cities and suburbs there is grocery delivery and/or pick up curbside at the store. We use Peapod by Giant and I order all the groceries online, pay for them, choose the day and time that works for us and pull up in front, like a gangster (is that how gangsters shop? Either way it is bad ass, they should), and an angel of a human being puts them into my car. MY KIDS STAY IN THE CAR, STRAPPED IN. WITH NOWHERE TO ESCAPE. This may be one of my most favorite life savers since the pharmacy drive thru. It saves time, money and sanity. Probably lives too. 
  6. Work and Workout Early. This really applies to those of us who are "off" in the summer- teachers, writers, stay at home parents, working from home parents and any other position of spending endless hours with children and would like to do more than survive it. I find my sanity level to be in a much healthier place when I still wake up early to get a little work, workout and quiet in. Then no matter what happens in the day at least you can carry on knowing you got a little time for you in. When you've made the 12th meal of the day, the laundry is reaching the ceiling, the kids are naked painting each other and I am at the brink of losing it, I remind myself to reflect on those 10 blissful minutes of peace where I was alone. Completely alone. And that is enough to remind myself to wake up early again tomorrow.
  7. Read. Let them read every day. You read at the same time, something that you actually want to. Something with chapters. Something grown up. Just make sure that they are reading what they love and this may quickly become one of your favorite parts of the day. Lay blankets outside or a reading fort inside. Unplug. It will help them be more ready for school, no workbooks required. 
  8. Embrace Being Off the Radar. This is one of my absolute favorite parts of summer. Fun is what you are supposed to be having and people are quicker to forgive when you are. Didn't respond to an e-mail? Sorry I was on vacation. Missed a meeting? Sorry, I was thinking about vacation. When people are soaking in the sun, they are less consumed with accountability. More fun and more forgiveness are abound so enjoy it, September's consuming schedule will be here before you know it.
  9. Let Go of Guilt. So the kids have ice cream for dinner and smores for dessert. Again. So your household television time of one hour a day MAXIMUM has exceeded four hours. So you missed today's reading time. So they've stayed up too late and are up too early. Let's learn from Frozen's most valuable lyrics and just let it go. Let them be kids. Let them feel the sweetness of an open summer afternoon. Let the rest just go.
  10. Embrace the Day. Feel what it feels to not be scheduled. Play. Laugh. Throw a dance party. Start a food fight. Catch fireflies. What is the point of being a parent if you can't toss rules to the wind once in awhile and show them that you know how to have a ball? They learn so much from the way you live. Remember summer, how it used to be and how you yearn for it to be. There is limitless potential between June and August.
Summer goes by fast and childhood is even shorter. Yes you are the homework enforcer, vegetable police, clean up patrol and creator of good respectful citizens. But that also means that you are the puppeteer of childhood memories. You can make them priceless. You can give your kids the tools and the freedom to soak it all in. You are the Queen Bee after all. And you've got this.

Cheers and may survival and mojitos be with us all...

This. More of this.
Simple. Beautiful. Summer.

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