Written by Christine Clark, Ministry Leader for Family Ministries at Stonebriar Community Church
I have heard this conversation more than once in the last couple weeks…
Mom A says, “Hi Mom B, I haven’t seen you in a few weeks, how’s your summer going?”
Mom B replies, “We’re making it.”
Mom A nods her head in complete understanding.
I love summer. I start looking forward to it January 1 each year. I love the longer days, the sunshine, the lack of routine, and I don’t even usually mind the extreme Texas heat. But there is a point every summer when even the best mom reaches the end of herself, her kids, and their summer. It doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, or if you are the mom of preschoolers or teens, there is that point when you are just done. It usually starts the week after Fourth of July, which is the unofficial midpoint of summer. The problems is, you have already taken the family summer vacation, you have been to the pool 100 times, and you have done camps, sleep overs, and dollar movies. You have let the kids sleep til noon. You have extended screen time from 1 hour per day to 2 hours per day. And you are one fight away from sending the kids to their rooms until school starts.
This is high season for parents. This is the season where all those parenting books and blogs you read are going to start paying off (especially parentingpathway.org). In the quiet first hour of the day, before your youngest crawls into bed with you, take courage from Scripture that there is a pathway through the wilderness of summer vacation.
“But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
I borrowed these summer survival ideas from a friend who has six kids between the ages of 6 and 17. She is a Rockstar Mom, and I greatly admire her ability to juggle everything going on in her life. These ideas can be used by families of any size or shape, with young children or older kids.
- Set a weekly routine such as: Mondays we clean and do laundry, Tuesdays we go to the community pool, Wednesdays we do bridging or AP class schoolwork, Thursdays we have an Adventure Day, etc. When everyone knows the general plan for the day before it starts, there are fewer missed expectations, resulting in fewer meltdowns.
- Establish a quiet hour. Following your family’s own rhythm, schedule 1 hour every day when everyone is required to go to their own space alone (a bedroom, reading nook, corner of the den, etc.) and they must be quiet. Rockstar Mom has her kids read, but I have been good with watching videos, drawing or coloring, or listening to music. As much as possible, make it the same time every day. Our quiet hour has been 5:00 to 6:00 each evening for years, allowing everyone to put away the stress from the day, and allowing me to make dinner in peace.
- Create a Summer Bucket List. Have each child create a list of things they would like to do this summer. You can set guidelines about cost, distance to travel, etc. Then on your scheduled Adventure Day, rotate allowing each child a day to choose from their bucket list. You can use the same list from year to year, or have the kids create a new one each year. This is such a great tool to teach creativity and planning.
- Gather your community. We have talked about the need to parent in community for years; in fact, we end each podcast with the phrase “Don’t do parenting alone.” Have those people around you who can share your experience, encourage you, empathize with you, and most of all pray with you.
Take heart, moms and dads, we are on the downhill side of this summer, and even though it is too hot to venture outside, you can still navigate the last few weeks of summer with renewed energy knowing that God will “make a pathway through the wilderness.”
Click here to download a FREE printable to help you get started: Summer Bucket List Printable
Christine Clark is the Ministry Leader for Family Ministries at Stonebriar Community Church. She has a passion for supporting parents and helping them gain confidence and tools to be spiritual leaders in their homes. She is blessed to be the mom of a high school freshman and the wife of her college sweetheart for more than 20 years. She is also an avid sports fan who loves all things football, especially in the fall in Texas.