Seems like just the other day we were buried under a foot of snow, shivering even indoors through one of the hardest winters I’ve ever known. Now? Well, you wouldn’t know it looking out my window where the skies are gray and cold rain threatens any moment, but summer vacation starts next Friday. Where did the time go?
I’d hoped to be finished writing my novel by the time school let out for the year. Also, I’d hoped to be thin. Neither thing is going to happen, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to keep plugging away at them. And that means I need a summer schedule that will give me time to work on both while also making memories with my Big-Eyed Boy.
Yesterday, I sat down to plan just such a schedule. Since my son has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), having a routine is critical to his outlook, as well as household peace. That’s not to say I’m about to schedule every free moment of his day: while he likes his days structured, that same structure needs to be somewhat flexible. For instance, in years past I’d made the mistake of saying “Every Wednesday is playground day”. Naturally, he had a meltdown the first time it rained on Wednesday, and our routine never completely recovered.
I’ve also learned to include my needs in our routine. In previous summers I’d forgotten that trick and found myself, by week 3, ready to pull my hair out over the lack of time to myself, time to clean house, time to just sit on the deck with a nice glass of iced tea, or whatever. Not surprisingly, I quickly grew to hate our routine, which just might be why that rainy Wednesday seemed like a blessing to me. (You know, aside from listening to my son’s meltdown.)
Also, throwing a monkey wrench into the works is the fact that my husband gets a 2-week vacation over the summer, too. I used to look forward to that until I realized that a 2-week trip somewhere, or even having my husband home for two solid weeks, only threw my son’s schedule even more out of whack. And don’t get me started on what it did to my sanity as I tried managing my son and dealing with the additional cooking, dishes, cleaning and laundry produced by another adult who thinks that because he’s on vacation he should be catered to.
This year my husband will be taking one vacation day per week throughout the summer, instead of taking it all in one chunk. Not only will that enable us to incorporate his time off as part of our routine, it’ll also give me a break once a week. Something tells me, I’m going to need that, too.
One predictably unpredictable activity I’ve built in is our “Family Fun Time” on Saturdays. Basically this is just a half-day outing to some local event (like a BBQ festival, carnival or fair) point of interest (museum, State Park, zoo). So long as my son knows we’ll be doing something, that it involves all of us leaving the house, and that it’s only going to be for a few hours instead of all day, he doesn’t get too out of sorts.
So here’s our schedule, such as it is. I’ve printed the thing up on a nice, colorful sheet and posted it on our fridge already so my son knows what life will look like next Friday when school lets out. Since our schedule still provides him plenty of free time I also anticipate hearing that phrase every Mom dreads: “I’m boooooored.” That’s okay, though: I’ve got a list of mostly solo activities I can point him to when that happens and, of course, a few on-going projects we can work on together over the weeks ahead.
Our Summer Fun Schedule
- Clean house and do chores.
- Go out for ice cream when we’re done.
- Family Movie Night.
- Exercise with Mom in the morning (walk if it’s sunny; Wii if it’s not).
- After lunch, go to the pool (outdoor pool if it’s sunny; indoor pool if it’s not).
- 10 am Summer Series at the library
- Out for lunch with Mom afterward.
- 3 pm Farmer’s Market to pick out veggies and other goodies!
- Exercise with Mom in the morning (walk if it’s sunny, Wii if it’s not)
- Matinée Movie with Mom
- Day with Dad: to the park if it’s sunny, bowling if it’s not.
- Library visit to pick out a new book.
- Board Game night!
- Family Fun Time
Of course, a routine only works if people follow it. I’m hoping this one with its blend of “must do’s” like laundry and fun activities that will appeal to my son will prove suitable for all of us. But we’ll see.