It was my best summer as a mom. I finally figured out why.
Our days had just enough flow and just enough ebb.
We only had a few activities: swimming/tennis down the street and violin for our oldest. We did a few sessions of the rec league gymnastics we signed up for but enthusiasm ran low on that so we just stopped. And that was part of the peace: if something wasn’t working, I had the flexibility to say, let’s not do it anymore. In sharp contrast to years past when I thought we paid so we must go. If it’s taking years off my life, meh!
Also: don’t pay extravagantly for anything you aren’t willing to suffer through forcing your children to do. And I’m only willing to stake my claim in violin, so the rest of it: nope.
Our amazing babysitter (wahhhhh at college wahhhhhh) took the kids to swimming and tennis lots of days so I could chill with the baby at home. That was an enormous load off my shoulders. She is a gem, literally. We have never had consistent babysitting help and I will always budget for it now.
We did fun outings but only when everyone was in the mood and I had the energy. The MIA, the farmer’s market, the library, a dear friend’s horse barn, etc. I am too old to drag children around to have “fun”–again, just nope.
Two kids out of four still nap.
I covered this in a highlights video on my insta account. Yup, the four year old still naps. Not every day does he fall asleep during his dark, sound machine induced nap time. But he’s in the environment if the spirit moves him. And I often lay with him for 8-15 minutes until he does. And boy, does that cut down on the screeching mid afternoon.
The baby (how long can you call a 20 month old a baby, Nell?) still naps just once a day. I nurse and rock her down and she’s good for at least an hour and a half and sometimes longer! If she pops up in 45 minutes, yes, I go back and nurse her down again.
The other two kids have a mandatory quiet/rest/read/play in your room quietly time. It lasts about an hour. And they are the better for it!
I didn’t plan on getting anything done while they were around.
In years past I’ve tried to sew, write, edit, make phone calls, think around my kids. It led to serious frustration and yelling at them to not be . . . kids. Now I know if I have something I need to get done, schedule time for it after bedtime, weekends, or when the babysitter is around. Otherwise, just BE with my kids. Do household chores with them. Read books with them. Sip sparkling water while they play outside. Actually play with them. Sometimes they’re happy while I get a quick thing done, but I won’t do it at the cost of all of our hearing (and sanity).
I’ve talked about right ordering before and this summer I lived it out. Man! So much more peaceful. I could handle their waves and their storms when I wasn’t in the middle of my own angst about being thwarted!
Planned a few trips.
We went to New Jersey, Duluth, and then our place in Wisconsin. AA couldn’t come along to Wisconsin but I made the most of it by myself with the kids. My folks popped in for an afternoon so that was sweet. Mostly I just tried to keep them tick-free and plied with hot cocoa so they would keep kicking, fighting, biting, licking, hitting, pinching, spitting, etc to a minimum.
These were highlights for us and something to look forward to during the weeks when the afternoons took about 15 hours to slink by me.
Now we’re back to school and it’s been a relatively smooth transition. I miss my kids so much! But they are so delighted and nourished and happy and it’s just the right environment for them. We are all adjusting to our new roles and mine includes of lot reading to the four year old whose chief entertainer was the six year old and now is . . . not his baby sister.
Okay now to the photos. I know the only people who are actually interested are my mom and maybe a sister. So the rest of you, thanks for bearing with me.