The last week of school sort of snuck up on me this year. Yes, outside it feels like spring just sprung, and we just finished with Easter break a few weeks ago, but summer vacation just feels so soon! So you better believe I am not prepared. And you want to know the worst part of it all? There are so many things every mom should do the last week of school... and I haven't done any of them.
Now, it's not that I am dreading summer break. Not entirely, anyways. I love summer weather, and being able to do fun things with my kids that aren't possible during the hectic school year is always a joy. Summer is kind of like having a three month-long weekend, with trips to the zoo or the pool, and without the worry of homework, school drop-offs, and pick-ups.
But make no mistake, summer break is not always a vacation for moms. These so-called "lazy" summer days will inevitably turn into restless summer days, and before I know it my kids will start whining about being bored or having nothing to do or how annoying their siblings are. There will be twice as many meals and activities to plan, twice as much food to buy, and not enough time in the day to find some semblance of a so-called work/life balance so I can cross everything off my own to-do list.
If, like me, you’ve waited until the last week of school to think about these things, you should probably stop what you’re doing and do the following things right now:
Enjoy Your Alone Time
I'm not gonna lie, my favorite part of the school year is actually having alone time during the day. I love my kids more when I get breaks from them. Time to myself makes a huge difference in my sense of calm and ability to cope with everything life throws at me. So, being able to actually finish a cup of coffee, or have uninterrupted time in the bathroom, will be missed. I really should enjoy those moments while I still have the chance.
Make A Plan
I'm a planner, and rely on a checklist to get me through the school year. The same can be said of the summer, so you better believe I'll be making time to plan some summer vacations so I don't end up with a house full of cranky, bored children.
Finish Home Improvement Projects
As much as I wish my kids would gleefully help me with DIY projects, like the Gaines' children on Fixer Upper, getting my kids organized to work on even the most basic chore feels like herding cats. If I don't finish my projects now, they are likely to languish all summer.
See A Movie In The Theater
I love taking my kids to movies in the summer time, especially when it's too hot to play outside. However, I also love seeing movies by myself; movies that don't include animated characters or jokes about poop. So, yes, I really should go to the movies before my options become painfully limited.
Meal times are both one of my favorite and least favorite parts of parenting. Sure, you get a chance to hang with your kids and ask them about their day, but you also have to endure their complaints and occasional food-related tantrums. Summer means three meals a day at home, so some advance planning to make those moments just a little bit less painful is a must.
Figure Last Minute Sh*t Out
It's so tempting to put things off until the last minute, then just hope they'll fall into place. I've learned the hard way that if you don't line-up sitters, enroll your kids in summer camps and activities, and have provisions and art supplies for three months of having kids at home, you are going to regret it.
Cleaning when your kids are home is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. It's impossible. Besides, whatever system you had to stay organized during the school year might need to change come summer-time. Before your kids trade backpacks for beach towels, you had best get your house in order.
Check The Lost & Found
Every year I put off checking the lost and found, and every year my kids leave hoodies, mittens, and boots behind.
Grocery shopping by myself is like a tropical vacation. Unless I want to take five kids to the store with me, I need to go shopping now. Besides, we need more of everything if we are going to make it through these three months at home.
Summer break is not the time to skimp on self care. You need to take care of yourself if you are going to make it to next year's first day of school relatively unscathed. Go get a facial, read a book, take a bath, or do whatever self care looks like for you.
I highly recommend finding a few friends and putting some playdates and backyard parties on your schedule. Summer is totally less painful with some frozen beverages and commiseration to look forward to.