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How to survive summer vacation, Mom edition

Nothing makes my eye start to twitch more than when my kids tell me they are bored.  I look around our house and yard and can’t see a single reason why they would be bored at all. And before I even know it, I can feel my mother taking over my body, as her voice bubbles out of me and says stuff like, “When I was a kid, I swam in a metal rain barrel at my Grandma’s farm when it was hot, and I chased chickens for fun.”

Of course, this results in looks of complete astonishment that I didn’t have a room full of toys or a swimming pool in the backyard. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I also had no supervision and would leave the house in the morning and come home at dinner, because I’m sure they would feel less sorry for me then. To this day, I roll my eyes when my own mother complains about taking care of her kids. In a world where there were limited amounts of baby snatchers, she spent the day on the couch watching soap operas, blissfully unaware as to where her children were.

There is much to be said for trying to occupy your kids on summer vacation. Gone are the days where you had dedicated free time. Now from the time you open your eyes to when you go to sleep at night (often at the same time as your little night owls), you are on duty 24/7 (unless you’ve gotten smart and have a.Daycare, b.A Nanny, or c. Summer camps lined up. In that case, stop reading. This is not for you.)

Moms everywhere struggle through certain days of the summer. We so often have difficulty trying to find something that will keep the “I’m boreds” at bay that summer vacation becomes really stressful.  When the backyard swimming pool and the local parks have all worn out their welcome, what is a mom to do to survive summer vacation and get a little relaxation herself?

No, there is no magic solution, but here are a few ideas that might help you survive summer vacation, mom style (and take note, your kids are still in the building):

  • Take on a project: There is always something to do around the house, and although you might not think that your kids can help you with a big project, there might be a way to work them into it. Organizing the garage can take an entire day, and if you break it up with a list of chores and a box of stars, your kids should be more than willing to help you. Take them for an ice cream after. You’ll be amazed at how your mood improves when you have accomplished something big.
  • Treat yourself: Even something small and somewhat silly can take the stress out of summer vacation. For me, it was a Keurig coffee machine. That thing even makes ice tea lemonade that tastes just like StarBucks, all in under 2 minutes. My Keurig is a reason to push myself out of bed in the morning.
  • Plan a trip somewhere you want to go: So often, moms are dragged along on ‘family’ trips that are more about the rest of the family and less about them. You spend all day, every day taking care of your children, your house, and everything else that goes on. You spend the entire year driving them everywhere, and when summer comes you are supposed to pitch a tent somewhere and call it a vacation. Unless you actually like to go camping, (I am one of the few in this town that hates camping. I am looked at like I am strange. Who knew) you are going to be miserable on your family vacation. Spend some time planning out a trip that would be fun for YOU, whether that be a museum somewhere, an exhibit that you’ve been dying to see, or just a tour of a city you’ve always wanted to go to.  Chances are that everyone else will enjoy it as well.

There is no easy way to survive a summer vacation, but the key is to remain relaxed if at all possible. Remember that your kids are only little once, and soon they will be teenagers who want little to do with you other than a ride to the mall.

Happy Summer 2011

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