Last summer was… well, it was interesting. I decided to keep the girls at home and out of daycare because I wasn’t headed back to work until September. So for the first time ever, I found myself as a full-time stay at home mom with two kids and newborn baby. That newborn was nursing ALL THE TIME. I was stuck in a walking boot for a stress fracture on my left foot. The days were LONG, my friends. I did my best to keep us busy (playgrounds! art camp for Maggie! swimming pool in the backyard!) but a lot of the time, I was exhausted and the kids were grumpy and arguing and by the time Dan got home from work, we were all sick of each other’s faces.
This summer will be different. Maggie will be off of school, but Zach and Audrey will still be at daycare their normal three days a week while I work. Maggie will be going sometimes, too, but she’ll likely be home a lot more often than she’s away. But I’ll still have all three of them at home with me for two days each week. So I need a plan.
I am not a good Playing With The Kids mom. I’ll admit that right now. I get bored with playing tea party and Barbies and drawing and Playdoh. I am not good in the role of Entertainer. I have three children, a household to run, and a business. I have THINGS TO DO. My kids have a playroom, a bedroom, plus a garage full of toys to keep them busy. Plus built-in playmates in their siblings! GO PLAY. GO. GOOOOO.
But of course, I hear the words “I’m BORED!” more than I’d prefer. It’s like they are so overwhelmed by their choices in the playroom that they can’t make a decision, and thus they choose to whine and fight about who had that blanket first. I can’t face another summer like this. I CANNOT. I will be a pile of frayed nerve-endings by July.
So yesterday, I typed up a list of all the toys and activities and games they have at their disposal and posted it on the fridge. I’m sure I forgot a few things, but it’s a pretty good list. And I know it won’t alleviate every Boredom Issue that pops up, but at least now I can just point the fridge door the minute I hear “Mommy, I’m B-” *POINTS THE DOOR* (Audrey can’t read yet, but Maggie can. Children who can read are basically the best.)
I shared a picture of this list yesterday and my Facebook and Twitter and Instagram exploded with other moms who were like YES YES MY HOUSE NEEDS THIS TOO! and a few requests to have the file sent to them so they could make their own lists. BUT OF COURSE I WILL SHARE! Obviously every house is different with what toys and activities are available, but hopefully this gives a good starting point for remembering what you have. (I also used a fun font for the list because I can’t resist a chance to design something, but you can choose your own or keep it simple. heh)
And I didn’t stop there. OH NO I DID NOT. Another issue we have in our house is constant snacking. ALL DAY LONG. Requests for potato chips at 9am! Whining about hunger at 4:45 while I’m fixing dinner! Then if I do allow a snack, there is a 10 minute scene involving me rummaging through the cabinet and fridge, yelling out snack options while they ignore me because they got distracted by something shiny.
I tried a snack drawer, but that was a failure for a few reasons. A lot of their favorite snacks require help with opening (mainly Audrey), or they can’t reach them in the fridge, or the drawer wouldn’t fit everything, or I’d forget to restock it (this was the main failure point, I’ll be honest). So now, we have a nice list posted on the fridge door of all the possible snack options, when they are allowed, and at what time the SNACK TRAIN CLOSES. It’s in writing now and it is LAW.
(Note the disclaimer at the bottom. How many times do the kids want something specific AND ONLY THAT THING WILL DO and it’s gone? I know this won’t cure the whining over that fact but at least it makes me feel better. ha.)
I wish you all a happy, sane, non-bored, fully-snacked summer!