Surviving Summer Break

It’s funny how we all looked forward to summer break this year, and how ready I am for it to end. Let me fill you in a bit so maybe you’ll understand why I am ready for school to start.

I have five pretty cool kids, and quite the age range. We are a blended family that started with the three oldest. We added two more later on. I stay at home with them because I’m not sure where I’d find time to sleep or shower if I had to actually function in public. Not that there’s much time for that now…

My kids are 15, 14, 11, 3 and 9 months. As if that is not enough to keep me busy, there’s some challenges we all face together. My oldest is severely multiply impaired, the middle guy has ADHD and my husband works out of state. Our house is full of chaos at almost any moment. Honestly, I’m not sure I know how to function any other way now.

Summer break was a bit different this year. The kids all have a different idea of what fun is lately. The oldest is going through some kind of phase that has him a bit crabbier than usual, my daughter is at an age where “playing” is not her thing, the other three are a mile a minute. Me, I’m being pulled in every direction. So how do I manage to entertain everyone and keep it fair? Well, I don’t actually, I did manage to survive though. With luck and a little creativity.

I try to keep a schedule so I can stay sane and the baby can nap. I planned activities that everyone could enjoy. We found a local park that had a little something for everyone. We each took turns picking an area for a bit, packed lunches and they actually got along! Not kidding folks, once a week this worked. The older, capable kids were helpful with the other kids so I could cook and it’s how they earned screen time. Win/Win there. When the toddler needed some “just for toddlers” time we adjusted. That’s when the play dough and kiddie pool came out. Everybody loved the impromptu lunch outing, rainy day mall trip and a few ice cream runs. Sidewalk chalk was a group activity to see who could cover the driveway before Dad came home. Luckily, my big kids love having the babies to keep them “young” at heart as far as things they aren’t quite ready to let go of.

We love to visit the Detroit Zoo in the summer and early fall.

We survived summer break by just being a close family, give and take. Everybody will get what they need, we just have to wait our turn here. With teens, toddlers and everything in between the days are long and I’m exhausted, but I know that I won’t have many summer breaks left with all of my kids. So I’m going to embrace and sometimes complain about the time I do have left. We will go to the lake a few more times, have a few tantrums, mostly mine, argue, laugh and look forward to the routine of the school year. Next summer might take more than chalk and pizza lunches though!

You can follow more of Nicole’s writing at her blog and also follow her on Instagram. She is such an inspiration and wonderful mother!

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