School is out. And you know what that means.
I’ll give you a hint. “Mom, I’m bored.”
The moment one of your kids even hints those words, you cringe a little.
“You’re bored? You just rode bikes with your friends and swam in the pool for five hours.”
“They left an hour ago, Mom.”
Oh, Lordy, summer is here.
I’m excited for the summer. I really am. But I also dread it a little. Why? Because I do my best work when my kids are at school. There, I said it.
I have to admit, as a work-from-home mom, I have always had a love/hate relationship with summer vacation. I love the warm weather. The free highlights. (Lordy, I love the free highlights.) S’Mores at the fire pit. Adorable sandals. Sundresses that camouflage back fat. And just making family memories without having to pack lunches, taxi the kids to practice or rush out the door by 7:18 a.m. It’s all good. As long as I’m not on deadline, have a ton of conference calls, or piles of dirty laundry.
Or a kid complaining that he’s bored.
Through the years, I’ve enjoyed doing things with my kids in the summer, from being buried in the sand to riding to the coffee shop in our PJs (so our dogs can get a free cup of whipped cream). I’ve planned popsicle playdates, driveway crafts, playground meet-ups, bike rides, beach days with the girls, pool days with the boys, day trips to Newport together. You name it, we’ve done it. I did so much when my kids were younger, I often referred to myself as the Summer Fun Factory.
My kids are 13 and 16, so now I’m mostly a Mommy Uber. I drop them off, usually with friends, and pick them up, usually with a pile of friends, only to be dropped off somewhere else. I still host barbecues, sleep-unders, sleep overs, poolside gatherings, and beach trips. But we don’t do crafts together. We don’t go to the playground. We don’t do many things together as often, with just us. But, I can assure you, they still get bored.
By the way, playdates aren’t called playdates anymore, so enjoy it while it lasts. (I’ll delve into this topic more in a future post.)
But summer can still be fun. As long as you’re not on deadline, on a conference call or looking at a forest of unfolded laundry.
On deadline-free summer days, I’m like freaking Julie McCoy from The Love Boat. Minus the Dorothy Hammel haircut. Ready to Mommy Uber everyone around.
The trick to surviving summer with kids? Get creative.
I remember this one summer day when we had just pulled in from a family vacation. The sand was still stuck to the back of my legs when my daughter started in with the mom-I’m-so-bored comments. I responded the way moms did in the 1950’s, hoping there wouldn’t be any consequences. “Go play.”
Yeah, that didn’t work.
But there was no one to play with on that particular day. I knew it. She knew it. Even our dog knew it. Literally, everyone was out of town. (My oldest was happily glued to his iPad inside, in an air-conditioned room.) I was too fried to do anything crazy. Then, I took one look at my car. It was filthy. And I knew what to do. “Honey, you’re going to help mom wash the car.” We vacuumed, wiped, and shined it up. We washed the car until my daughter had a smile on her face. Mission accomplished.
Other Summer Blah Busters:
Go for a swim
Nothing beats summer blahs like going for a swim. If you can, take the kids to the beach. If not, go to the pool. We are lucky to have a pool at our house, but you can also take advantage of the YMCA pool. Or ask to be a guest at a friend’s pool club.
It can be as simple as getting on your bikes and riding around the block together when their friends are out of town. Or head to a park with a paved path. Our town has access to the East Bay bike path, which is beautiful. Make sure to pack snacks and drinks.
Grab a frozen yogurt
Rather than an ice cream, take the kids out for some frozen yogurt. If it’s too expensive to do every week, fill up an ice cube tray with some juice. In a matter of hours, the kids will be excited at what they find in the freezer.
- Turn on the sprinklers.
- Turn off the TV and make them wash the dogs or host your own Pictionary tournament.
- Enjoy a picnic in the park.
- Go to the local playground. Go before your kids are 13 and 16!
- Play a round of mini-golf.
- Hit the library. Check out the story hour or other fun activities for kids. I sometimes take my kids to the teen room.
- Play cards. We love 21, Gin Rummy, Uno and Go Fish. Play at the pool or in an air-conditioned room.
- Go for a ride in your air-conditioned car.
- Stop and eat at a diner a few miles from home. No adventure is ever too small when it comes to kids.
- Host a playdate. If they are too old for a playdate, host a sleepover or sleep-under, where kids are picked up before bedtime.
- Explore some local yard sales and consignment shops together.
- Go to a local book store.
- Explore a new town every week.
- Be patient and give yourself a pat on the back for being an awesome mom!