Like so many other parents out there, my work doesn’t stop for summer break. It doesn’t even slow down a little. It can be challenging to make summer break actually feel like summer, or a break, when the only thing that’s really changed for my kids is where they spend their weekdays – summer camp instead of school. So what’s a working mom to do?
Day trips and Weekend Getaways
Columbia is in a prime location for day trips and weekend getaways. I’ve taken my crew on a day trip to the Upstate and visited several waterfalls. Everyone needs a weekend at Myrtle Beach or one of our other great South Carolina beaches now and then. Folly Beach, Charleston, even Hilton Head are very doable day trips.
Or you can head north to Asheville or into Boone and Blowing Rock. Craving big city life? Make a weekend out of Atlanta or spend the day up in Charlotte. The Southeast is pretty much your oyster driving from the Midlands, and summer is the perfect time to take advantage of it.
My kids usually are home from camp by 5:30, then we have to eat dinner and there are chores to do – but with the added daylight hours summer brings, even weeknights can feel special.
Have a neighborhood pool, a sprinkler in your yard, or a hospitable friend? Enjoy the cooler part of the day as the sun is going down with a bit of swimsuit time. The beach at the Lake Murray Dam only costs $3 a car to go in – it’s a short drive from almost anywhere in Lexington or Irmo. Take an after dinner stroll or bike ride. Pack up the kids and enjoy 1/2 price shakes at Sonic after 8 p.m.
Summer storms got you trapped inside? Have a movie and popcorn night, even on a workday. I don’t advocate for doing this every night, but adding a random special evening entertainment can really help make the workweek more bearable. And don’t forget to check local events for chances to see movies in the park or live music!
Home, Sweet Home
With homework off the table, summer can be be perfect time to shake up your home routine. This summer, I’ve finally decided to add a chore chart. The kids really need to learn skills around the house, and it takes a load off the adults to have some of those tasks done by the younger set.
I’ve also discovered it’s been a bit of a bonding experience, sharing how I do things and imparting my hard earned knowledge and wisdom. Even if that’s about something as mundane as the best way to load the dishwasher.
It doesn’t need to be all work! Have your gamer kid show you the ropes around Minecraft or Fortnight. Teach your crafty one how to sew or crochet or decoupage. Have a master builder? get a more intricate Lego set or challenging puzzle to put together. Take the opportunity of a looser schedule to incorporate some of the activities you may not have time for during the school year.
As a working mom, I know I work extra hard sometimes to make what time our family spends together memorable. Some of my kids’ favorite memories aren’t the big things we did, but the little things I “always” say no to, but they remember the one time I said yes, and that makes all the difference.
Make the most of this summer just by saying YES where you usually say NO. Yes, let’s sleep on the couch tonight, or Yes, we can have ice cream for dinner. Yes, let’s run through Wendy’s on the way home for a Frosty. Or Yes, run through the sprinklers with your clothes on.
Yes, let’s have the best day ever! and do it as often as you can. We only get 18 summers with them, after all.