For many parents, summer vacations are a huge challenge, but not for me. For me, they’ve felt far too short. I cannot get over the shock that my kids start school again in just a few short weeks, which means our family life will get crazy again. Yes, it’s true that when you try to work from home, sometimes it’s a bit chaotic when the kids are on vacation, but for me, this summer in particular has given me so many gifts. Perhaps it has to do with the tween stage my kids are going through, in which things seem to get easier, right before they’ll get a lot more complicated. But here’s what I’m really going to miss once my kids go back to school …
1. Relaxed conversations
You know those moments in which your kids actually talk to you and share what they feel, what they think or what they don’t understand? Well, I had countless conversations with both my son and my daughter, sometimes at the oddest of times. They were probably able to relax and share more because we weren’t in a rush to do anything or go anywhere in particular. Since we were able to spend more time together, it opened the doors to actually talk about the important stuff.
2. Lazy mornings
I’m dreading the craziness that seems to take over weekdays during the school year. Once the alarm clock goes off, it’s go, go, go. During the summer, I’ve continued with my work schedule, but the kids have slept in, and they have been so much happier, especially my 11-year-old son. More than once, breakfast has really been more like brunch, and there hasn’t even been any kind of rush to change from pjs into clothes.
3. No homework
I despise homework, even more than my kids do. I cannot seem to find any rational explanation for endless hours of homework, assignments, and projects that seem to suck out all the joy out of learning something new. I do believe in reading, but for me, homework cannot replace the time spent in the classroom. If you’re giving assignments that will take over 30 minutes to complete, there’s something wrong. Summer has provided a much-needed break for all of us.
4. Making plans at the spur of the moment
Usually our weekdays are planned to the last detail. We have family calendars on our phones and iPods. We make things work but there’s not much time left for spontaneity. When school’s out, we’re able to do things as a family at the last minute, just because we feel like it. We might go see a movie, go to the beach in the late afternoon, watch a series in our family room, or go for frozen yogurt in the evening. It’s been so much fun!
5. Watching my kids play with their friends
Sometimes we forget how necessary it is to allow kids to be kids. Or even if we haven’t forgotten, it seems playtime is a luxury. This summer, it’s been a joy to see my children play with other friends or their cousins, whether they’re riding bikes, going to the pool, or having a water balloon fight in our backyard.