Our first couple weeks of summer are usually tumultuous. I have to get used to taking care of two kids again all day, and fit in housework and my web design business, while Logan has to learn a new routine and Maddy has to learn to share me again. By the end of the long summer days, we are all over-tired and sometimes a little grumpy (okay sometimes there are tears). Can you relate?
But this year has been a little different, so far. Before this summer started, I was a little more mindful about preparing for our summer, so that we could a few less of those days ending in grumpiness.
A Different Attitude
I wake up each day with anxiety. It’s just a fact about me. I have never ever woke up in the morning, smiling, with my arms stretched out like those commercials. (Seriously, who does?) Call it waking up on the wrong side of the bed, but I almost always wake up with the attitude of “Ugh.” Do I have a reason to? Seriously, Meg, is life really that bad? Nope. I don’t, and It is not. So, I do a little self talk.
I tell myself that it’s going to be a great day.
I tell myself that my kids are going to behave, and not gang up at me at 4:00 like they always do.
I tell myself that coffee tastes really good.
And then, I hug whatever kid happened to be sleeping with us the night before (for at least 20 seconds), smile, and get up for the day. Do I feel better? I’m getting there. 3-4 out of 5 days, in all honesty, it does work and we have a great day. The kids see me being happy and relaxed and follow suit. I do believe that Energy travels, and you do have control over your feelings.
Being a special needs mom, you have to have some tools up your sleeve to help your little one feel good about the day too. A visual schedule, paired with a consistent schedule is working for us this year. If L knows what’s first, what comes next, and what is after that – then I get my happy boy. They do visual schedules at school, so I brought them into our home for a little more familiarity.
M likes it too. She also helps reinforce the schedule to L – which I noticed the second week of putting this in place. (It’s so nice to have one of them on my side!).
Consistency helps L too. He can now recite what happens during our morning routine, and I think that makes him feel better about the day. If something in the schedule is going to change for the next day – I will warn L using the “sleeps” method. 2 more sleeps until Aunt Sarah’s house! 5 more sleeps until go to Grandma’s! During Christmas, we learned He loves to countdown to special days. This has helped us help him feel better about schedule changes.
Going Part Time At Work
We all make sacrifices for our family. I gave up Keurig K cups, among other things, to prepare for the hit my income takes during the summer. I know. Coffee, right? But I got a new coffee maker that I can buy a big can of Folgers and be okay for a few weeks.
Now, I know, I know this isn’t a luxury for everyone. I am pretty lucky to be working for myself at the moment and am able to be flexible. But, if you can change your schedule in any way I heavily suggest it. I do make less than I do the rest of the year during the summer, but I gain my sanity back so it’s a good trade off. I do still work – I can work in the morning, during quiet times, and sometimes at night if I need to. But I can also be present with my children, without worrying about it. I can clean the house without worrying that I should be working. I gave myself permission to do this. And now, with some additional therapies for L coming up, I can introduce a new work schedule while making my family a priority.
Again, this is just what I did to make our summer, and my kid’s childhood memories of me, happier.
Do you do anything different during the summer to make your life easier? Any tips?