We’re into our unscheduled weeks of summer. No trips, no camps, no real plans. Just me and the kids and some much-needed lazy days. Every summer I forget how hard this new routine can be. Going from the rigmarole of school to wearing your pj’s till lunch is a shock to the kiddies. To me it’s grand. Nowhere to be? I leap with pure joy.
I do freelance work from home and took some mornings recently to finish a project. A highly effective mother would have a plan in place to occupy the kids so she could work. It just so happens, I did have a strategy one day: a kid-friendly camera and a scavenger hunt list for the kids to take pictures of. Their photography exploration bought me enough time to finish work, put sheets on the beds, and trim a bush that was two feet higher than it needed to be. Fantastic!
The next day, no plan. Disaster. I noticed them hovering as I got dressed. They sighed. They paced. We began to fuss at each other. Hmm. My first instinct is always to get them to clean up. They usually find something else to do fast. But they cleaned. Boredom was that bad, huh? Back again, as if being next to me is an exciting alternative to the wonderland we have upstairs. Hmmm. With so many toys they forget they have, it should feel like Christmas.
My next trick is to let them know that whatever they find not fit enough to play with must be ready to give away. That threat always works. When left alone a little longer, the kids find something to do. They always do. And of course it involves an 8-foot-by-10-foot mess that I have to maneuver. Then it sits there like a minefield. I hop through it each time I enter the room, loathing it more and more. That night when I announce it’s time to clean up, I get lots of, “Ah, Mom, we’re going to play with it later” and “It took us so long to set it up.” I get it. I was a kid too. So I let them leave it another day or so…until I realize they aren’t really playing with it. And they’re bored—again.