Summer with kids is hard. It’s supposed to be magical and fun and all those things. And then we remember we aren’t kids anymore. I’m the adult that always wants to be having fun. If it’s not fun I don’t want any part. Hence me passing along any boring life stuff to my husband. Who do you think manages the bills around here.
So we have this vision of all the fun we are going to have, the trips we will take, the fun laid back chilling out. And then we still have our own work to do and lives to manage. The never ending screen time challenge becomes a thing and all the kids in the neighborhood give in to just wanting to play video games all the time. Suddenly it doesn’t feel very magical.
I realize that as the kids get bigger their interests change. Maybe building a fort and playing “camp out” won’t last forever. But maybe it will last a little bit longer if I delay certain things like phones and other personal devices.
The thing about playing camp out (a favorite for my kids), building forts and being creative is it’s incredible messy and can feel destructive. It can really make your skin crawl as you see them pull more things out of every closet in your house for hours on end. Every snack in the pantry is removed. No pillow untouched and suddenly your new throw pillows are laying in a pile of leaves and sticks.
It’s worth it though. It really is. Ok maybe set your own boundaries on the throw pillows. I think most people panic when they see the shenanigans my kids get into. Now if I could get them to clean it all up to my standards. Spoiler, you probably can’t (unless your kids are unicorns) but it’s still worth it.
All this to say, summer has still been a struggle for us. We think the downtime will be great, but the togetherness and lack of structure becomes a challenge. Everyone seems to be in camps all summer and I refuse to overcamp my kids. Here’s why:
1. It’s incredibly expensive and with four kids it downright outrageous.
2. I believe kids need to know how to be bored. I think that speaks for itself AND it’s a topic for a whole post. This is for adults too. 🙂
3. I work for myself and my schedule is flexible. One of the biggest perks of this is not needing childcare all the time. I know many people don’t have this set up and it’s a privileged viewpoint- you do what you do!
4. My kids are getting bigger. When you don’t have toddlers and babies anymore they don’t need full time supervision which brings me back to being bored and entertaining themselves. It also raises one more important point.
5. Independence. Kids learn how to be independent when every aspect of their life isn’t planned out and taken care of for them. If watching your 5 year old making himself a PB&J because he’s hungry and you have calls overlapping when that happens isn’t the cutest and most satisfying thing to watch I don’t know what is. Look I feed my kids lunch but it’s really not a big deal if they take care of that for themselves sometimes. Actually it’s a really good deal.
NOW NOW NOW before this comes off as preachy and all that jazz I’m just here to tell you my lived experience and ALSO let me tell you. My kids fight like cats and dogs. It is never ending. I actually feel like I am loosing my mind over this. I am certain there are several factors that play into that. One being that they are all very close in age, all the same gender and just happen to be all very physical boys as well. I’ve had several moms of girls say that their girls are the same and perhaps they are but when you put four boys all together… I don’t man I’d love for you to be a fly on the wall here. I’ve also noticed as they get older the physicality becomes so much rougher and also just like kind of scary TBH. I am certain there are boundaries and rules and plenty of things I’ve not done right that could make this better but here we are and THIS IS ME TRYING!
I hesitate to even publish things that sounds the least bit preachy about kids but perhaps you are looking for a nudge to let your kids get messy and make their own PB&J.
I know many of you are back in school now, but some like me are still shlepping along with three more weeks of summertime.
Cheers to each of you- you’re doing great even if you feel like you aren’t. You are a really good parent. I’m certain of that. That’s a pep talk for myself maybe?
If you want to learn more about raising independent kids make sure you check out my podcast for parents “Why is Everyone Yelling?” Specifically this episode with Julie Lythcott-Haimes is a favorite on this topic and this one with Julie Bogart on letting curiosity lead the way!
Fine me on social media to connect: @LindseyHein626 on instagram @LindseyHein on threads.