Friday, June 1, 2012

Summer schedule

June 9.  That's the day that our almost-20-year-old K-daughter heads to Virginia for two months.  The same day that my husband heads for a three-week Army Camp.  The boys will be out of school.  They are too old for summer camp.  In spite of the fact that I would rather be in my office doing math, I will be supervising these three highly energetic kids.  Solo.

Most people, I suppose, would be delighted at the opportunity to stay home with their kids.  No office responsibilities; just time to enjoy the family.  Most Miser-Moms would be delighted at the chance to save so much money on childcare (we're talking something like $1000/month).  But me, honestly, I'd rather be doing math.  Part of the reason that it's taken me so long to put together this post is because it took me more time than it should have, to realize that this staying-at-home-with-kids-issue is not really a torturous thing.  In fact, it might be a really fun month.  I should quit whining and start smiling.

As you might guess, now that my head is coming around a bit, I am preparing by making lists.  Lots of lists.  And schedules.

Here's the plan.  We'll see how it works.

Nannies first; children second.  So says Miss Manners, and I heartily live by that motto.  Because even if I've decided that it might actually be fun to hang out with my own children (really?), I know we'll all need breaks from one another.  With much of my usual help gone, I'm making sure I know where to turn for respite (either for me from the boys, or vice versa).  They'll spend a week with my sister in July.  N-son will go to a sleep-away camp one week.  I'll hire temporary help to take the boys off my hands and give them some teenage-appropriate entertainment at various times -- with any luck, at many times.  I know it's hard to find help once I'm already frazzled, so I'm gearing up, making connections now, before I need them.

Structure and freedom.  Routine and flexibility.  My current plan (and we'll see how long that lasts -- hah!) is to have a very structured morning.  Breakfast, followed by an hour of chores, followed by reading, then snack, then drum practice, then running (maybe?), then lunch.  In the afternoons, though, the play's the thing.  Pool or bike riding or such.  I'm signing us up for a family pass to our county park pool -- that ought to be good for everyone.

As far as mornings go, I figure, if the boys are actually spending time with me, they ought to get (re)trained; they ought to learn to make breakfast and weed and clean and fix things.  They're not going to like it at first, but I've learned from my many-many kids how much easier it goes in later years, if I'm willing to work hard to make the kids work hard now.

But, of course it's summer.  So the work should be fun (ish), to be followed by fun in the sun, with a dose of freedom tossed in.

Biorhythms.  It's no coincidence that I'm putting work in the morning and play in the afternoon.  It's not just that the day will (we hope) go from doing work to the freedom from that work -- a much easier progression than the reverse.  It's also that I've observed my boys are much more docile and pliable in the morning.  And I have more energy/patience in the morning.  N-son and J-son have always been willing to make breakfast (they've often fought over the privilege, in fact).  But making dinner requires a lot more arm twisting, because so much else fun stuff is going on.  So we'll do the chores first, and reward ourselves later.

Special Events.  The United Way website for our city has a page listing volunteer opportunities -- and by "page", I mean a link to a pdf document that is 79 pages long, listing all sort of places we might help out.  (Each organization describes opportunities for families and for children, if appropriate).  I'm hoping we'll take advantage of that.

I've also spent a bunch of time uncovering fun-but-free things to do in our area, ranging from summer football practice at our local high school for C-son, to music concerts, to movie showings, to art walks, to nature hikes, and more.  A month ago April Dykman wrote a post called "Be a Budget Traveller in your own town" -- it was a great list of advice that came at just the right time for me.  Some of these special events have a specific time frame (we'll observe the Transit of Venus on June 5).  But for many others, we'll play it by ear.  See how it goes.

Some people do this all the time, huh?  I am in awe.  

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