On the second day of summer break, I texted Kyle:
It's 1 pm. I have not showered or eaten. I haven't stopped moving since I woke up. I'm drowning.
He texted back:
I'm on my way.
Now, I didn't mean for him to leave work at 1:00 to come home just to turn out the lights on my pity party. But thankfully, he did. And then we sat down and worked out a reasonable schedule for the summer days ahead.
As I've talked about ad nauseum, I'm an ENFP personality type, and that P there at the end indicates that I generally enjoy spontaneity, I generally resist schedules, and I generally just want to let things go as they go.
But I absolutely cannot live that way right now. Not with four kids. Not with twins. Not on summer break.
So my orderly, logical, J-type husband helped me sketch out a plan.
We started with the bigger picture - the weekly schedule. I had already grown weary of someone asking me every single day, "can we go to the museum today? can we go swimming? when can we go to the library?" To avoid answering that every single day, I decided that our weekly rundown would look like this:
Monday - zoo day (we have a family membership)
Tuesday - at home day
Wednesday - Museum, park, or exploring
Thursday - at home day/Kyle's mom comes to help clean house
Friday - library or pool
Saturday and Sunday - wild cards
For the sake of the boys who have to go everywhere and do everything with us, I knew we needed to have a few days a week in their normal rhythms and routines. Plus, I need time to catch up on laundry, and Kyle's mom comes on Thursdays to help me clean the house. This every-other-day schedule also had the unexpected bonus effect of us avoiding going broke on summer fun.
It's really nice for all of us to know what expect each day, and even better, when anyone asks "Can we do ___________ today?" I can remind them of when that particular activity will be happening next and I can do it without feeling guilty or like I'm always saying no.
Next, we got down to the nitty gritty details of our daily routines. The most important thing to me was being able to get showered before the day begins. These days, if I don't get cleaned up and ready for the day before 8:00, the chances of it happening at all take a nose dive. We worked out a plan for Kyle to hang out with the babies a bit before he leaves for work to make sure I have time to do a little light exercise (working on rebuilding my core which is COMPLETELY SHOT) and bathe and get dressed.
The days play out with whatever we have planned and then when Kyle gets home, we start our evening routines. He makes dinner with whatever I have set out for him to use and he rounds the girls up to feed them. Almost always, he brings dinner up to our room where, inevitably, I am nursing babies. Depending on how late we eat, it may be time for baths and bed for the girls by then. We have been having some very late nights! Well, late for us anyway. Eating dinner at 7:30 makes us feel absolutely European.
Not long after the girls are in bed, we get the babies tucked in for the night and then I melt into a puddle of exhaustion on the floor. Or not. But that's about all I have left in me. It's supposed to be time for me to read and write and generally decompress, but that's one part of our summer schedule that isn't working. I am far, far too tired to do anything creative or that uses active thinking skills at that point, so I am kind of tinkering with when I can fit that in.
Well, y'all, I've been working on this post in minutes here and there for about a week now, and as I read back over it, I realize it's the most BORING THING I'VE EVER WRITTEN. I guess more than anything, I wanted to create a record of how we survived this first summer as a family of six. Maybe someday, I'll look back and think, "Wow! We did more than just survive!" but I'm doubtful. That's surely all it feels like at this moment.
Every time I turn around, I'm bumping into that word again - season. I never thought I would look to schedules and routines as a means for survival; in fact, I usually resist them mightily. But in this season, it's saving my life.
What about you? Do you do structure at all in the summer? Or do you just roll along with the sweet summer days?