Summer is here! And our whole family is excited! The kids are happy to be out of school, I am happy to have a break from teaching, and my husband is happy to “have his wife back” because he swears my personality is vastly different when I am not teaching.
I say this is called “Not Being Completely Stressed Out From Trying to Do 20,000 Things at Once,” but whatever. The first day of break (or for me, two or three…), you can usually find us vegging out. But then, the fighting begins. The kids have spent the past 10 months living practically separate lives. They have different extracurricular schedules, different friend groups, and different schools. They come together for an evening meal where they “patiently” listen to each other tell about the events of their day.
The beginning of summer means the beginning of two months of intense together time for the kids and me. We all have to go through a period of adjustment which typically lasts about a week. During the adjustment week, there is a lot of fighting. There are a lot of rude words. There are many melt downs.
But we come out of the week, eventually, and we are better for it. The kids rediscover each other. They learn that they have built-in playmates in each other. We eventually establish a routine. Yes, a summer routine. One of my children in particular really, really thrives on routine. Sometimes, the routine items seem silly, like “we will go to the pool Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11-4,” because it shouldn’t matter if we go to the pool on a Wednesday instead. But I have found that, for my crew, knowing what to expect makes our days run more pleasantly, and they get along with each other better.
Other routine items are daily: like get up, get dressed, brush teeth (and some days, put on sunscreen). In other words, get ready for the day. If we do not do these things, some of us would lounge in jammies all day long and/or would take twice as long to get ready to go anywhere. We continue to read before bed, just like during the school year, even though bedtime might be a little later now.
We spend a bulk of the summer travelling to see family, so without small routine items, the kids would be a mess (and are when we get thrown off).
By the end of the summer, we are operating like a well-oiled machine. And then school starts and we go back to our separate schedules until we get to try all over again next year.