Family / Parenting

Surviving Summer

buy accutane from mexico Last year, I was terrified of summer. I was transitioning from full-time working mom to full-time stay at home mom and I was not sure I could handle it and, truth be told, I didn’t always handle it very gracefully. But I do feel I’ve changed as a mother since then. I’ve learned that sometimes I have to let go and lower my expectations of what I can accomplish. I’ve learned to say “yes” to my kids more often that I say “no” and I am trying to laugh more.

Donskoy We are only three weeks into our summer vacation and we have already had some hard days – one last week that ended in tears (mine).As we processed sibling rivalry, bickering and my kids’ inability to entertain themselves without a screen, Miguel exclaimed, “The best part of summer is doing nothing!”

And that’s when I realized that the source of our summer conflicts is differing expectations.

 

 My kids want complete freedom and I want there to be structure.

My kids want unlimited media time and I am willing to allow two hours a day.

My kids want to sleep until in, have breakfast at 11 a.m. and lunch around 2 p.m. and dinner whenever. I want breakfast done by 9 a.m., lunch around noon and dinner at 7 p.m.

My kids want ice cream every day and I think that is unreasonable.

My kids want to be with friends all the time and I understand that our friends’ parents have lives that make scheduling complicated.

Our expectations do not overlap on any point!

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After our disastrous day last week, Luisa and I came up with a loose schedule for the kids with built in positive reinforcement so that we could get the time for work we need and the kids could get some of the things they want. They can make their own breakfast and lunch when they are ready but they have to clean up after themselves. They can have two hours of media time in the afternoon provided they do an assigned chore in the morning and spend time reading. They can earn other privileges for going by being helpful and kind to each other and us.

The first day was a parent’s dream! They met all basic expectations and did extra reading and chores and were cooperative and lovely to be around. It was magical. On the second day, however, enthusiasm began to wane and Miguel was ready to lead a revolt. The sticking point? Media time. It always comes back to media time.

He begged for three hours a day and I told him that he could earn extra time by reading.

He complained he needed an hour on his phone at bedtime to relax and I told him screen time before bed is detrimental to sleep.

He told me we were being unfair and cited the media limits for every kid he knows as evidence and I pulled up the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. (Shockingly, he was unimpressed.)

Miguel will argue until the end of time if allowed. It is his superpower. I grew weary and told him that he had to give the system a chance because you can’t judge anything on one day and he said, “But mom, you decided we needed structure based on one bad day…”

I hate it when kids throw your own words back at you!

I have never been a my way or the highway kind of parent but, in that moment, I decided I had to be, “This is non-negotiable.”

So, here we are on Day 3 of our new plan and the kids are working together to clean the kitchen while I write. I won the battle but I have a bad feeling that I may not win the war.

PHOTO CREDIT: VIKKI REICH

12 Comments

  1. You MUST win this war, Vikki. You are the benchmark of which I fall short. If you lose, I will not be able to get through my kid’s summer with “Why can’t you be more like Zecca and Miguel?”

    • I will fight the good fight! But, my kids are not the best examples. They fight over the most ridiculous things.

  2. I just wish our kids were older so that I could actually try to reason with them. Not that it’d work any better, but at least I might not feel like I was trying to converse with an over-excitable puppy… Connor is getting so darn bossy (at age 5.5) and his sister Ryleigh is little miss diva/drama queen (at age 4) that I very well may wind up in a little padded room before summer’s end. I’ll be soooo glad when they start back to school in the fall!

    • As you can see, reasoning doesn’t help all that much. They are still excitable puppies at almost 13. Good luck!

  3. I have very few rules anymore. Basically, I cannot stick to a schedule myself, so the idea of making anyone else stick to one is laughable, at best. That said, we do have some loose requirements of a packet of schoolwork each week and turning off the tv if it’s giving me a headache, but usually, it’s within reason.

    • I have a hard time with schedules if they involve having to remember anything. That’s why these are very loose. Very.

  4. The thing is? I don’t think its a war with you and the kids at odds. It’s you all vs. chaos. But kids never see it that way until they have children of their own. They want you to be their friend. You have to the parent.

    Okay, so really? There’s no winners.

    That’s depressing. But at least if everyone is losing, then it’s a tie, right?

    I’m only in week one of summer and this tie? Is hell. 😉

  5. GrandeMocha says:

    I shipped my son off to his auntie’s house. There he can do what he wants. win/win.

  6. We send ours today camps because we cannot work or cope with the chaos and constant demands for entertainment and screens. But I am working harder to try to recognize that their expectations/feelings, while they may not be what I want (or even negotiable), are still valid.

  7. Jan Kaminsky says:

    Camp, camp, and camp. Sleepaway preferable. With three kids, I need a break from them and they need a break from two overbearing Jewish mothers. Win-win, worth every penny!

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