This week I was going to write a snarky column about how summer vacation isn't really a vacation for parents. Come on...how is driving kids back and forth to assorted camps and activities and reffing arguments between them a vacation for anyone? But, in an attempt to be more positive, I decided to write about my favorite things about summer.
- When my kids were younger, we never got pool passes. We went to the pool maybe once a summer. Trying to keep track of four kids under the age of five was impossible. I would need to take at least two other adults with me as well as a giant diaper bag. And I worried all the time that those swim diapers weren't going work and one of my kids would turn into "that" kid who clears the pool for 15 minutes. But now that they are older, we can all go and I don't have to worry about them...that much. They always have friends there and can entertain themselves. And I can enjoy the time there as well.
- No school stress. My whole house is so much more laid back without the chaos of the morning school routine. No more waking up the kids, never knowing what kind of mood they'd be in, no more breakfast rush trying to get them fed and out the door and no more looking for like homework, sneakers and assignment notebooks as we're walking out the door. In summer, they can sleep in, take their time at breakfast and just have a lazy start to their day.
- Bending the Rules. During the summer, some of our household rules go into hibernation. Bed times are brushed under the bed (but no worries, they're not up all hours of the night), anytime is a good time for ice cream or freeze pops, and sometimes we count swimming as a free pass for not showering (you know you do as well!).
- Every year my kids participate in the library's reading program. I don't even have to ask them. I love that they love to read even in summer. They discover new book series, get a jump on their reading and get some fun little prizes and coupons to boot.
- The relaxed pace and attitude. Yes, sometimes driving the kids everywhere can be cumbersome, but at the end of the day, it is still more relaxing then the school year. There is something more acceptable about eating on paper plates or even paper towels in the summer. Nothing beats the feeling of being able to wear flip flops all the time and the ease and comfort of throwing on shorts and a t-shirt and being dressed in a minute flat.
- Back to School Shopping. Crazy, I know. While I do get annoyed that the stores start setting up the back-to-school supplies now, I do admit, I like taking the kids for their clothes and school supplies, interested in seeing how their tastes and styles have evolved from the previous year. Will they pick a cartoon character lunch box again, or is this the year they decide lunch boxes aren't cool? Plain folders, or folders with famous athletes, kittens and puppies? Oh...the anticipation!