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Cheryl's Parenting Journal

Entry 48 ~ June 23, 2010
~ Summer Vacation--Bring it On!

Crazy Canobie womanWhen April rolls along, my kids are already counting down to summer vacation. The 180 days of school begin to take their toll right around Easter, and the non-ending references to how they are going to spend their long, lazy summer days are always the starting point to many conversations. This is true for them maybe, but when I see the months of June, July and August cruising my way it's not long, lazy days I'm thinking about, it's more like-how the heck am I going to entertain 8 kids all summer long without losing my mind! There, I said it. As much as I adore my kids, summer doesn't necessarily mean vacation when you're a stay-at-home mom.

The best part is saying goodbye to the rigid schedules we follow the entire school year long. No more making lunches the night before, sweating over homework and projects, their sports seasons are finally over and my obligations to PTO and other various school organizations can be put to rest for 12 lovely weeks. Now, here I sit typing this on day one of vacation, June 23, 2010 and I've already been asked about 19 times by many of them, "Mom, what are we doing today?" So you see, this is where I start to break out into a cold sweat right out of the end-of-school year gate-but this summer, things are hopefully going to be different.

Why, you ask? For one thing, my kids are getting older and a bit more self-sufficient. The high schoolers and middle schoolers have their summers all carved out with pretty low-key agendas-basically hanging out with their friends. Ah, music to my ears. That's the four older ones. The four younger ones, however, will rely on me to plan some exciting activities, day trips and keep them busy from dawn until dusk. They've been awake for four hours now and the questions have not stopped about what time we will go to the pool, can we go out to lunch, will we go to the beach tomorrow or if it rains, can we go see Toy Story 3! At least they aren't bored yet!

Luckily, I'm a seasoned veteran and in a few short moments I will sit the troops down and have a quick little overview about "summer expectations." The first item on the agenda will be a discussion on how they need to learn to entertain themselves when I am not available to play cruise director for the day. This won't go over well at first, but I can guarantee that by week two, they will be well into "Butler Summer Mode" and the following eight weeks will be a piece of cake! I've already declared this the summer of the "un-schedule." We are blessed to live in the Ocean State. If we can't go sit by the ocean and casually play in the surf and sand and then come home and have grilled cheese sandwiches and iced cold lemonade and then sit and read a good book or just throw the dog a ball, then what's the point?

Here's wishing all of you a very relaxing, healthy and low-key summer vacation. Moms need to remember that it's OK to have some simple expectations from time to time and not be overwhelmed with having to plan every day down to the minute. There are bound to be many cranky moments along the next two months, but there will also be plenty of enjoyable, relaxing ones too if we choose to live in the moment and not worry about planning the following day. smile

Take care,
    ~ Cheryl

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