Like Riding a Bike

It has been so long since I posted, I feel like I fell off my bike and am afraid to get back on.  In response to that feeling I am just going to start typing here directly in this blog, (no draft 1, draft 2, final draft), hit publish and hope for the best!!  I feel like I need to just dive in, the way I have had to since summer vacation began just one week ago.  It never occured to me, when I went back to work this school year, that I would feel like  I had fallen off the parenting bike once summer came along plopping at home once again with all three of my children.  That sounds a bit drastic perhaps, because I didn't really crash at parenting during the school year, but now that summer is here I definitely have had to rediscover my balance with new summer routines.

We are all adjusting to less structured time and renegotiating our boundaries.  With the school behind them for two months or so, home, library and the world are now our classrooms (says Teacher Mom).  Social emotional goals for my kids are being reestablished within the framework of family.  Limits on computer and tablet time were first on my list for boundary setting.  After a daylong 'cleanse' (no tech devices for the day), which began with half a day of whining and pleading, my boys finally got together and actually started playing, inventing, and creating like the good ol days.  Yesterday, they even worked together on a story, (should I mention it is called "A Time to Kill"  and is about the Blue team and Red team kicking each other in the "nuts". . .  It's early in the summer yet, give me a little time. . .)

Of course the thing that I struggle with the most is how to balance my own time.  Do I sit and enjoy coffee and read blog posts in the morning? do Yoga?  do Dishes?  Do I fold laundry or play hide and seek?  Do I only go in the pool for the soul purpose of providing a hanging post for my 4 year old or do I establish "float time"?  (4 year old swims in her floaty while mom floats on the tube in the warm sun)  Do I let the boys bring their tech devices to the library while the 4 year old and I participate in preschool storytime so all hell doesn't break loose and I have to haul all their sorry butts out of there. . . again.  Heck YES!!!  But then I insist they find new reading material for the week when I can supervise.

So here I am starting out week 2 of summer vaca and restoring balance to my family bicycle.  I am establishing little routines for my family for the summer like squeaking yoga in during "Daniel Tiger", swimming in the morning, and reading time in the afternoon, an art project here and there.  We are again talking about the "Golden Rule" and that it is about stopping the bird poop instead of spreading it.  (If a bird poops on our head (someone hurts us or makes us upset) we have a choice of being nasty to that person or others because we are upset (essentially spreading the poop).  Or we can choose to stop the poop in it's tracks and only pass along goodness, friendliness, and love.  Not the most pretty analogy, but I think my boys understood the Golden Rule for the first time ever, or at least laughed trying. . .

Just as an endnote, I wanted to pass along this tidbit for those of you helping your kids establish summer routines.  A Reading Specialist I met this year told her students (so I am telling you) to read over the summer in an intersting way.  She said, "If you want to stay at your present reading level, Read 6 books over the summer.  For every book after that you can increase your reading level for the Fall."  Even at one book a week that sounds pretty good and gives your kids and you a tangible goal for the summer.  


GrettaK said...

I enjoyed reading your post, and I relate to your angst as a mother/teacher. My kids are 24 and 30 now. I would encourage parents to begin to ask their children around Easter time what goals they might have for their summer break. That got my two youngsters thinking, and helped me to see ahead of time what I might want for myself. We actually talked as a family about this.
We lived overseas during their school years, so planning was essential. You are so right that parents need to be intentional about this aspect and about time for personal re-creation. One of the easiest and most fun was the collaborative story writing you referred to. Another was continuing to study the instrument they were doing during the school year (sax/piano). We went to concerts and did our own. My daughter and I formed a mother-daughter book club, with 8 other families on the navy base where we lived. We met every two weeks for an hour.
Since I was teaching in Japanese school that went year round 9break in August and April), my children sometimes came to school with me to learn a little japanese and as my "show and tell." They felt like movie stars when my students asked them for autographs. Good memories: That is what summer is all about!

Amy Boyden said...

Thank you for your reply Greta. I do tend to map out our summer as well and make a point to schedule in things the kids would like to do, but rarely (and mistakenly so) do I schedule time for myself in all of it, but that piece is required too isn't it? Thank you for the reminder about the instrument practice, I will be sure to add that in too!! Thank you for taking time to stop in and respond :-)