The summer is here and you know what that means...
School is out and the kids are home.
(Deep breaths. Deep breaths. Deep breaths.)
I am well aware that there are some mamas out there who love the flexibility that summer brings. I don't.
I like structure. I like routine. I like to be able to keep a set schedule. Basically, I am a control freak in recovery. Judge me if you will, but I know some of you mamas out there are hyperventilating along with me... "How in the world am I going to keep these children entertained all summer and still maintain some sense of sanity?
I'll tell you how. Friends. Our friends will keep us sane.
But let me share this one *small* warning before we dive into this any further. Summer has this really sneaky way of making you believe that you will have "all the time in the world" to spend with friends because of the season's slack in "structure". I am here to tell you that is a big fat lie. Summer is lying to you. The reality is that everyone is either away on vacation or are driving their kids to and from the three million camps they are attending. It's hard to keep a social life in the summer.
So. If we want to survive motherhood this summer and still stay connected to our friends for the sake of our sanity, we best be ready to put up a good fight.
Okay. Here is my game plan:
1. Inviting the squad to a "weekly beach day" pilgrimage.
I live in Jersey and Jersey folk go down the "shore" in the summer. This summer, I am taking my crew to the beach every Wednesday and inviting other brave friends to join us (kids or no kids). It will give my kids something to look forward to each week and it will give me an opportunity to connect with my friends. If you don't have a beach within a reasonable driving distance, feel free to host a weekly "BABY POOL PARTY" or head to the nearest lake, park, or town pool.
2. Hosting open house BBQs throughout the summer.
It's nearly impossible to get all my friends available on the same day for a BBQ. So, I am getting rid of that expectation and I am going to host a few "open house" BBQ's. Basically, if you can come, COME! If you can't come... come to the next one! Also, to make it a lot let less stressful for me... it will be a "BYOM/V" (Bring Your Own Meat/Veg) to grill on the BBQ. We'll provide a couple sides, ice tea, and s'more for the kids.
3. Starting a Rainy Day Survival Squad.
If it's raining, I'm calling you to join forces with me in keeping our kids safe and mildly entertained despite the bad weather. Together we will bake cupcakes, make blanket forts in one brave mama's living room, facilitate a "craft hour" where we make our kids craft with the recyclables we forgot to put out on the curb, throw a Kids Bop dance party, and host a Pixar movie marathon. Together we will stand strong.
4. Committing to Mamas' Night Out.
At least twice this summer, I want to get a little dolled up (translation: showered and wearing something other than running shorts and old "Color Run" tees) and go out with a few other mom friends to celebrate being something other than a "mom". I am committing to eating overpriced grilled chicken and talking about anything other than orthodontics, fall soccer, IEP's, and who is going to be the fourth grade teacher this year. You in?
5. Sending some snail mail.
Remember when we were teens and use to send each other letters from camp during the summer? I am resurrecting that ancient practice and am going to send a few chosen folks a letter. I know. This is so old school that it might even be fun.
For some of us, surviving motherhood this summer is no joke. We will need a little help from our friends to get by with our sanity *mostly* in tact. This will require planning and putting ourselves out there. It means we must be willing to be the inviters and not always waiting for other moms to invite us. We'll need to get creative but most importantly, available. If want to maintain our social life for the sake of our sanity this summer, we'll need to make friendship a priority. Our kids will thank us for it in the end. After all, a happy mama is the best kind of mama there is.