Jacob and I joke how this baby’s scheduled c-section day is the worst timing; July 17th is right in the middle of summer for us. For the first half of the summer the kids get very large, tired, hot, hormonal Mommy. Then for the last half they get recovering from major surgery, taking care of a newborn, tired, hormonal Mommy. Neither one are super great, but luckily I created a flexible schedule with the boys that seems to be helping them have a good summer.
At the beginning of the summer I asked the boys what they were most looking forward to during summer, so I knew what they really cared about and what to spend my energy on. The top three answers were excited to go to a park or splash pad every day, read and go to the library, and go swimming and to the Nickelcade. The first two of these I was already counting on, which was a bonus, and the last ones are things they can earn with good behavior and by helping around the house.
*DISCLAIMER: I’d love to have a screen free summer, but in this particular stage of life I know it’s not feasible. With 9 kids 9 and under and a pregnant mom, a well rested mom is a functioning happy mom. I was preparing for a summer filled of just TV but am happy that there hasn’t been THAT much.
My boys are early risers, so during the summer they get to watch a show or two until I get up. Remember: well rested mom is a happy functioning mom. It’s worth it for us.
Chores: The oldest 6 boys have a chore that they rotate through each week and the youngest 2 choose who they want to help that day.
Reading: Some days I have the older 4 boys read while the youngest 4 write/draw and then we switch. That way I can help the struggling readers a bit more. Other days I have them buddy up and the older boys read to the younger ones.
Outing: I learned a few years ago that it was better for my children if we get out of the house for an hour or two each day, usually in the morning when it isn’t too hot. This year we decided on doing a craft at the library on Monday, then going to a park or splash pad the rest of the days. It’s their favorite time of the day, and we love to discover new parks with great equipment or trees or hills to play on. We will travel a good 20 minutes for a good park.
Quiet Time: The youngest two and mom take a nap while everyone else watches a movie. Again, if I can get some rest and time to myself the family can function a lot better.
Free Play: They can play and do whatever they want: read, play outside, with friends, card games, puzzles, legos, building forts, really anything they want. We will also do chores or read during this time if we didn’t get to it in the morning.
Clean up/ Play
Scripture Time and Bed
And there you have it. I knew I’d have limited energy, so I tried to make it easy and flexible but still structured since that’s how my family thrives bet. I asked the boys last night if they were having a good summer so far and they all said: Yes! At least they had a good June, I’m glad they’re small and don’t have high expectations, and now I’m hoping we can keep that going even with a newborn.