SAHM Journal: Spring Break (a.k.a. Summer Training)

Last week was a test.  While enjoying the last two months of being a Stay at Home Mom, I realized how good I really had it.  Up until last week, Drew was in school most of the day and Alyssa went to Mother’s Day Out two days per week.  I had ample time to make sure the house was clean and to even do my own hobbies. Because I had these outlets, the time I did have with my children was good.

It started dawning on me that summer would be quite different. I would have Drew and Alyssa all day, every day.  I started to get concerned how I would handle that.  As Spring Break approached, I realized that it would be a good test-drive for me.

I did what any mother who wants to keep her sanity does on Spring Break.  I scheduled play dates or outings every. single. day. This was more for Drew than Alyssa, though we all benefited. It was great. Lesson learned: definitely plan plenty of activities and play dates over the summer.

I also tested the waters in the land of Choreville with Drew.  I told him that when he was out of school, he would have to do more around the house. I told him I would let him test out several different chores so he could get an idea what he might like to do in the summer.  I allowed him to earn video game time for these chores (15 minutes per chore) so he was all in.  He learned to change out hand towels, make his bed, vacuum under his bed, clean bathroom sinks and mirrors, and take out the trash.  Lesson learned: assign Drew chores every day in the summer – ones he can handle – and reward him for them.

I chose video game time because we typically don’t allow him to play video games until he “earns” it in one way or another.  They are a treat for him.  During the cold snap during our spring break, when he couldn’t play outside, he needed some down time. I needed his down time.  I allowed him to play his video games – only when he earned them – during Alyssa’s nap.  That allowed us all to rest. Lesson learned: We all need our afternoon rest, whether that be a nap, coffee and reading, or video games.

My biggest challenge was the witching hour. Or three.  From about 3:30 – 6:30 was terrible on the days we couldn’t go outside.  The kids were cranky because they were hungry, even if I gave a snack. They were bored of playing inside all day.  I needed to get dinner cooked and they didn’t seem to want to let me do that.

They didn’t like me at the time. I didn’t like me either.  At one time I tried to put myself in time out. That didn’t work. Drew gave me a guilt trip about how his mommy didn’t want to spend time with him.  After about 2 days of it becoming apparent that I need to be proactive about this time of day, I came up with a couple of ideas.  I created a craft shelf in the office that the kids could use to create and color while I was cooking dinner.  I also decided I’d be more lax on my “no TV except at breakfast” rule.  If it helped us all be kinder to one another, me be kinder to them, it needed done.

Still, it still didn’t work out perfectly.  Every day it seemed I was going to God confessing one thing or another that had always occurred during that time of day.

Overall, though, we had a great Spring Break. I feel a little more at ease about summer, and I know what I need to work on.  And Drew, who loves school, told me yesterday morning he wanted to stay with me.  I guess he enjoyed it, too.

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