June 24, 2013

The Summer Series - Katie Sluiter

I have often shared how much I enjoy connecting with other writers online. My guest today is one of my favorites. Katie Sluiter and I first got to know each other through an online writer's group, now known as Write on Edge. I'm not as active with the group as I used to be, but my relationship with Katie has grown through social media.

Katie is author of the popular blog Sluiter Nation. She openly and honestly shares the ups and downs of her life. She is real, and her readers love her for it. In addition to being a writer and a teacher, she is the mother of two adorable little boys. I delight in the photos and stories she shares. And even though I took care of birth control permanently some time ago, her cuties make my ovaries ache.

I'm thrilled to have her here today! She's sharing her view of summer as a working mom who finds herself at home for three months out of the year...

For nine months of the year, I am a working mom (I'm a teacher), and I have the working mom thing down SOLID. We have a very set morning routine, daycare pick up routine, dinner routine, and bath/bed time routine. Oh there are tantrums and issues from time to time, but my kids know what to expect and they thrive within our routine.

For the other three months, I am a stay at home mom.

I get so excited about a lack of schedule and then for the first three weeks battle with my children to play nice and not have tantrums and OH MY GOSH I GET NOTHING DONE.

And then I realize that just because it's summer and I am home, we still need a schedule of some sort. I realize that there are some key things that need to happen each day for all of us to make it to 5pm with our heads still attached.

1. Lazy days can't be completely lazy. Even if we don't have something planned for the day, we still need to eat breakfast by 8:30am, get dressed, and DO something with ourselves. If we announce a pj day, we still need to have a plan for pj-related fun.

2. We need to leave. As much as I would love to just sit and drink coffee all morning, we need to get out of the house. I have found that if we even just go run a couple errands, it helps fight that twitchy-picky thing the boys do to each other when they have been around each other too long. Ideally we can go to a park or the zoo or something, but even a run to the grocery store is better than nothing.

3. If at all possible, we need outside time. We live on a dead end and have a nice big lot with no one to the side or behind us, so if the weather is nice, we try to get outside for a couple hours a day. An hour after lunch and the last hour before my husband gets home is usually good for wearing them out and giving them space to run and not be on top of each other.

4. We need quiet time. The baby is 15 months old and sleeps for at least two hours each afternoon, but my oldest is four and doesn't always need an afternoon nap. I, however, need the quiet time the nap usually brings. So if the oldest doesn't nap, he watches a movie or does his "school" work (coloring and working on letters/numbers) for at least an hour. We all just need a break from each other.

5. We need to give hugs and high fives. It's easy to get annoyed with each other, when we all have a different idea of what we feel like doing or what we wanted to get out of the day, but we need to remember that all three of us are a team this summer. We find ourselves laughing over silly things. Whenever anyone starts to get crabby, we refocus, find the fun and happy, and go do that instead. We congratulate each other on new things learned and hug a lot.

Basically I've learned that we need a schedule. Even if the schedule says, "breakfast, go somewhere, lunch, outside, nap/quiet time, outside, daddy home/dinner." The boys need to know what to expect, and I need to be able to plan what I need to get done too.

I've also learned that we need to be flexible to each other's needs. Usually that means me being flexible to their needs, but that is Ok. That is what it is to be a mom, right?

And it's summer... summer is about being flexible and going with the flow... as long as the flow is to have FUN!

These are great tips, Katie! I am home year round with my little one, but learned early on the importance of routine during the summer months. And I love #5. A great reminder. Thank you!

What are your survival tips for summer?

Check out these other great Summer Series posts!

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