Summer and work might seem like a contradiction, but the reality is that work happens every day, whether we want it to or not. As a Mom of young children work takes on a whole new meaning: day and night, it never ends.
However, as I try to keep the idea of summer fun in my mind and plan activities for my children and me to keep us busy during the day, I also see the summer as an opportunity for different kinds of work. A seasoned mother of four once told me that she used the summer to teach her children how to do chores around the house. Summer was a break from school and other activities that typically take place during the school year, so there was extra time to focus on training how to clean, cook, and perform other household tasks.
I find her idea to be genius.
So, here is a breakdown of the ‘work’ that we’ll be focusing on this summer, both for the kids and for me.
1. Chores around the house. Our oldest girls have been helping here and there with various tasks around the home, but I haven’t taken the time to teach them how to do everything. At 6 1/2 and 5 1/2 they are certainly old enough to participate in various things, but I’ve been a little OCD and have wanted to do things on my own because it’s sometimes easier. However, in the long run this is not helping them! One of my responsibilities as a Mom is to train my children to live independently one day, and this begins now, while they’re living in our home. This summer, we’re focusing on these chores with our girls:
- Making beds. They’ve been doing this for a long time, but not very well. I’m trying to teach them how to straighten the sheets, put their pillows at the head of the bed, etc. Isabella, who sleeps on the top bunk, is also going to learn how to actually put the sheets on. Because, as I get more pregnant it is not going to be easy to climb on top and make her bed.
- Clearing the table after meals.
- Cleaning up toys when they are finished, before moving onto something else. No brainer, right? But they forget, and I don’t always know when they’ve started something new. We get to the end of the day sometimes, and everything is out in their room. This makes everyone grumpy. So far, they are picking this up (no pun intended) pretty quickly, and it’s very pleasant to walk into their room and see only one kind of toy out at a time.
- Putting their clothes away. No, their drawers are not perfect, neither are mine. But, they know where their clothes go, and I have found that by having them do this little job, the laundry actually does get put away rather than sitting folded in the laundry basket.
- Cleaning the bathroom. I’m focusing on wiping down the sink/counter and scrubbing the toilet.
2. Cooking/Food Prep/Baking
- Making PBJ/PB Honey sandwiches. They’re getting pretty good at this, but I’d eventually love for them to be able to completely get lunch ready for all four kids.
- Scramble eggs. This one is for Isabella right now.
- Help chop fruit and other veggies (with a dull knife). Once our beans come in to the garden, they will also be able to help snap the beans.
- Bake brownies from a mix.
3. Education. This category is primarily for Isabella. She’ll be entering First Grade at our local school in the fall, and while she is prepared in many ways, there a couple of areas where she needs some work.
- Handwriting. In Kindergarten Isabella learned cursive, which is wonderful! However, she needs to know how to Print. I have a workbook for her to use so she can feel more confident in this regard once she enters the classroom.
- Reading. I’m so impressed by Isabella’s ability to read! But, she doesn’t always want to, so I’m trying to force her to practice on a regular basis, without having a super strict schedule.
- Bible Memory. Without really knowing it the girls are learning verses as we’re training them in kindness and love toward one another. However, I’ve been lazy about actually teaching them that they’re learning Scripture. There are a few verses I want to focus on this summer–areas in which they’re struggling–and we’re going to learn them together.
My regular household tasks will continue as normal: cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc. But there are a few projects that I’d like to finish this summer. Realistically, some will spill into the fall. As long as I can get them done before the Baby comes in December, I’ll be happy!
1. Paint/decorate/organize the girls’ room. All three girls share a bedroom, and we’ll be moving Jennavieve out of her crib in the next few weeks. At that point I can begin what the girls have been begging me to do. (Sneak peek of the fabric for the drapes!)
2. Finish painting downstairs hallway. This would literally take about an hour; I just haven’t taken the time to do it.
3. Paint dining room walls. You may have seen a picture in this post of the crayon on the wall. If I clean it, the paint comes off, so painting over it is the best option (using lots of Kilz, obviously).
4. Paint and organize mudroom. We had a little roof leak in a closet in here, so once that’s fixed, I’ll get my closet back and can make this room better function for our family. Paint will be the same as the dining room, so it makes sense to knock these two out together.
5. Sew pillows for the living room couch.
6. Try a homemade houeshold cleaner. This website has some great recipes for various products, and I’d like to try at least one out.
We have our work cut out for us!
What projects do you have planned for this summer?