I have been asked by so many people how I have survived summer with 4 kids at home. I would love to be able to rhyme off some very well put together list with really helpful tips and tools that have helped me survive my summer, but that would be a total lie. The truth is: I don’t really know how I have survived. I think I’ve been in a sort of “survival mode”, and the thing about survival mode is that there really is no plan or strategy, it’s just about doing what needs to be done in order to survive.
I do have a few suggestions though, and the first would be to keep the kids busy!! Reflecting back over our summer, the days that were “down days” were often the most difficult. It’s easy to get lured into thinking that staying home and having a down day is a good way for you to be productive; get caught up on laundry and house work, maybe even cook a delicious and healthy meal for dinner. You might picture your kids playing quietly together, reading a book, drawing a picture, or snuggling up on the couch to watch a movie….WRONG!! A down day just leads to disappointment on all levels. The kids are bored, and when boredom strikes, all hell breaks lose. The kids start to fight and argue and you end up playing referee for the majority of the day, the toddler has meltdowns and the baby becomes the target of strategically placed marbles. By the time hubby gets home, your appearance and mental state are….questionable. Think: zombie from The Walking Dead meets girl from The Exorcist. Poor hubby often becomes the innocent victim of said zombie demon girl, and no one is happy…..Moral of the story – try to stay busy.
My second suggestion would be to try to forget about routine a little bit (or a lot). For some of you, that may seem like the most insane thing you’ve ever heard, but if the kids are having fun, behaving themselves and getting along well at the splash pad then why would you leave??? Sometimes, you just have to leave a good thing alone, even if that means that toddler’s nap is going to be 2-3 hours later than usual. Trust me when I tell you that I am not known for my carefree and easy going nature….if I can let go so can you.
My third suggestion to all of you bad ass mamas out there would be to lower your own expectations of yourself. Nine times out of ten we are our own worst enemy because we set these ridiculously high expectations of ourselves that NOBODY would ever be able to live up to. So we end up setting ourselves up for failure before we’ve even began. No one else cares that your laundry basket has been sitting in the exact same spot full of clean clothes for 3 days!! No one else cares that you’re not cooking gourmet meals (in my experience the kids usually prefer the most simple meals anyways). Let yourself off the freakin’ hook! It’s summer! Enjoy it! There will be plenty of days when the kids go back to school for you to be on top of your laundry and be a culinary genius, but for the time being, just try to soak it all in. Do what you can when you can and know that you are doing your best. When all else fails….drink a Gin Smash and go to bed because tomorrow is a new day.