As a child, I started looking forward to the summer break about two weeks after school started. Even though I genuinely enjoyed school and being with my friends, the slow-paced summers were heaven-sent.
However, as an adult, I have a bit of a different perspective on the months of June, July, and August. This summer has been my first having all three of my kids home all the time, and, aside from Vacation Bible School and play dates, it’s been me vs. them for the last 10 weeks.
I began getting fairly anxious in March about what on earth we were going to do with each other all summer long. The Texas heat can seriously limit your options, especially with little non-swimmers to chase after, but we’ve plugged along and gotten creative.
If you’re starting to struggle on how to keep busy these last few weeks before school, maybe these suggestions will help save your sanity as the summer comes to a close.
Tour your town
No matter where you live, there are always a few things you’d love to do, but don't ever seem to get to. For years I said, “We should go to our library - it’s free, and there’s a great kids’ section,” but we never did. Now I’m learning what a wonderful resource the library really is. There are books, audiobooks, DVDs … all kinds of things to inspire an afternoon!
Or maybe try out a new park. Even though it can feel like you’re standing on the surface of the sun, it may be worth the effort to pack a cooler (think popsicles, lots of popsicles) and head on over to a park after breakfast. You’ll be spared the worst of the heat if you go before lunch time and if you can snag an iced-coffee for yourself on the way, it could be a win-win.
The Aquarium Pyramid at Moody Gardens
Did you know Moody Gardens recently underwent a major renovation of its Aquarium Pyramid? The new facility debuted at the end of May, and it looks great! There are a lot of hands-on spots as you tour the exhibits, and children from 0-34 (aka Mom) will all have fun. There are penguins GALORE, ultra-friendly sea lions, a jellyfish room and, the best part, is that it’s all inside a beautifully air-conditioned pyramid.
While a bit of a splurge, I also love that this is a day trip. It takes some time to get out there, but in these last few weeks before school, it’s a nice option to occupy an entire day and beat the heat.
Move ’em out
Which is what I did. All the grandparents stepped up this week – our older two are off taking swim lessons in north Texas with one set of grandparents, and our littlest guy is having a bit of a staycation here in Houston with the other set.
So, that means this mama gets some serious time OFF! I went through the typical cycle of "Mom guilt" – initially elated with my newfound freedom, sad to see them go, feeling bad for being excited to have time off, and then, finally, back to happy.
The truth is that summers are essential for the family because things slow down and you get to breathe a little easier for a while without the schedule of school to maintain. With that said, it’s a lot of quality family time, and it doesn’t make you a bad mom to say “peace OUT” for just a few days. My hope is that we’ll all be renewed, re-energized, and ready to gear up for school days after our time apart.
Jordan Schupbach is a mother of three living in the Houston area. She blogs at www.lattesandliving.com - sharing the good, the bad and the frenzied.