When I hosted a wedding week back in May I had so much fun collecting and reading all of the guest posts. My friends wrote on a variety of wedding topics and I had such a great response I decided to go for another theme week, but this time it is all about the kids!
My friend Laura shared her favorite wedding tips in May and today she is back with advice for all of the moms out there who are balancing a summer schedule, a budget, and mommy time. This post is so funny and well written, I know you are going to love it. Please leave comments for Laura and don’t forget to keep coming back all week long for a new kid friendly blog post!
Laura and her daughter Sarah
When I was growing up, I watched tons of reruns of “The Brady Bunch.” Mrs. Brady always wore her fabulously accessorized 70’s outfits, had perfectly coiffed hair, a clean house, and a hot dinner was always on the table. Then, again, she had Alice.
Most of my Mommy friends work outside of the house as teachers, doctors, corporate managers, and small business owners. For those who are lucky enough to be home more, the Mommies are still busy running in-home business and/or volunteering in their local schools and churches. Mommies are multi-taskers. Along with work and volunteer activities, there are houses to clean, meals to cook, children to feed and care for, laundry to do, bills to pay, play dates to plan and on and on. Now, it is summer and, Mommy also needs to become an Event Planner! What’s a busy Mommy to do?!!!
Somehow, summer snuck up on me this year. My daughter’s spring music class ended in mid-June, and, all of a sudden we had an empty schedule, with the exception of one August weekend trip that still had to be planned. I started hearing reports of the activities that her friends were doing for the summer, which included day camp, gymnastics, and ballet. What’s a Mom to do? How do you choose? Here are some ideas about what I did:
- Ask around
As I mentioned, I started hearing about some of the things her friends planned to do this summer. Find out more details about the various activities. I recently joined a local Mommies group which has a Yahoo message board where you can ask the group for recommendations on various local classes, among other topics. Take advantage of something like this, if you can. Ask your child’s friends’ Mommies (or nannies) for some details. Brochures on gymnastics classes appeared on my desk from one family. Details on swim lessons came my way, as did a message from another mom about a local art class. Check out your options and see what activity seems best suited to your child at this particular age.
- Not everything costs money
We are lucky enough to live in a town with a great library, plentiful playgrounds, and lots of fun activities run by the city. Keep your eyes peeled for flyers, signs, and mailings announcing activities like free concerts. If your town’s Recreation department has an email list, then be sure to join it. Our library has a summer reading program and several special activities planned for readers both big and small. A local children’s bookstore hosts a free concert every Wednesday morning, and, all you need to do is to bring a book to donate to their reading program. There are two farmers’ markets in our town. Both markets are free entry and, along with the beautiful produce, there are musicians and bouncy houses for the kids. Hopefully, your town has similar programs. If you are looking to save up for a big outing, then “Elmo and Friends” and “The Wiggles” are both on North American tours this summer, among other shows. We missed seeing Elmo, and, we’ll be away for The Wiggles’ visit to northern California. Please don’t tell my daughter!’
Our local park
Our local farmer’s market…
- Plan travel early
My mother-in-law has a big birthday ending in -0 this August, and the whole family will be gathering in Chicago to help her celebrate. Since we live in California, this means making airline reservations for three people. I have to be honest- this was a job for Daddy. Daddy is great at researching, and he found the best fare, along with what restrictions applied to travel with our daughter. Since we are traveling within the US, we don’t need more documentation than a copy of her birth certificate. If you are planning travel outside of the US, even to Mexico, then, you’ll want to check with the airlines to see what paperwork you need to bring along for your child. As you probably already know, traveling with your child now includes lots of extra baggage. If you are going on a trip, then, you may want to look at renting some equipment on the other end, like a stroller.
- Don’t panic
So, I decided that an art class would be great for my daughter this summer. Her best buddy was already signed up, so, she’d already have a friend in there. With that, at 7am the other morning, I decided to register her. What, the class starts tomorrow? What, she is one month short of the age cutoff to get in? Do I need to get her a Fake ID? The class is now full, and they are taking a waiting list. If she doesn’t get in, then am I squelching her artistic talent?!! With that, I woke up my husband, blubbering about her lost art career. He reassured me that it was not the end of the world if she did not get in, and, well, to advance her registration age by one month. She can glue and put stickers down as well as a kid who is a month older, right? And so, she went off to class the following day, slightly older than she really was, and she got in. She really can glue just as well as anyone else! Future art career is saved!
Sarah the budding artist…
- Try not to over schedule
I don’t know about you, but, it seems like there are a lot more summer activities available for kids today than there were when I was growing up. I just remember making mud pies, playing in my kiddie pool, and praying that the ice cream truck would make it to my street. Today, there are tons of gym programs, preschool classes, sports, and other activities. Try not to over schedule your kid. Also, try to pick times that work with your schedule. If you know an activity coincides with breakfast time or the blessed-may- it- last- another – year- nap time, then, it’s probably not for you.
With that, Mommies, I wish you a wonderful summer, and I send you a hug. You deserve it.