Saturday, May 14, 2011

To Schedule or Not To Schedule, That Is My Question


You'd never guess it from the weather in these parts, but May is here. I check out mentally every May, and I'm pretty sure it dates back to my teaching days. Everyone is dying for a break in May. Teachers are ready, students are ready, parents are ready. Heck, I even remember the lunch ladies doing half a job at this point. I've been a stay-at-homer now for about 3 years, but still May hits and all I can think of is sunscreen, pools, vacations, and frozen treats (or maybe that's what I think about all the time?).

So, while I only have one kid in half day preschool three days per week, I am ready for her to be home all the time.

Or am I?

Last summer we did dance twice per week. Nothing against dance classes, but for some reason during the summer this just seemed like a huge bummer. We'd be running through sprinklers, sitting in the shade, sipping our lemonade, and WHAM...I'd look at the clock and realize we had somewhere to be. "Come on kids. Let's stop all the lovely weather fun we've been having. We have to change clothes, shower, and go somewhere that none of us really want to be." So this year we did dance in the winter and soccer in the spring (ends next week).

I have purposefully left summer pretty open. But now I'm worried a bit. What are we going to do all day? What if I am too pregnant and HOT (temperature-wise) to want to be out in the summer sun all day like last year?

Also dating back to my teaching days is a compulsive need to schedule. I never really considered myself to be a scheduled-type until I realized that with 26 little ones, a scene from Lord of the Flies was inevitable unless I had every moment of the day scheduled and prepared for. I lived and died by that schedule.

So when I became a stay-at-homer, I thought that a schedule was exactly the answer to every problem. How do I keep my home clean?...make a schedule. How do I make sure my kids get the nutrition they need?...make a schedule. How can bedtime become easy?...make a schedule. How can I figure out dinner every night and only go to the store once per week?...make a schedule. How can I be sure my kids don't become T.V. heads?...make a schedule.

But here's the thing I've learned the last three years...when dealing with only two kids 24/7 and not answering to anyone (the husband is rather relaxed), I don't live or die by my schedules. In fact, I've learned they can be avoided quite nicely, and sometimes when we're not hampered by the schedule, things are much more pleasant.

So here's my question to all of you that have read this very long thought train of mine, should I set up a "Summer Family Fun Schedule" to keep us active, and not bored in the summer? This would involve outings, school reviews, scheduled play dates, and mini vacations. Or should I just avoid scheduling now because in a few years, whether I like it or not, my kids lives will be our schedule, and it will be one I can't avoid and do have to answer for? You know, when they decide their own activities, have camps, and I become a 20 hour per week cab driver.

Is summer more enjoyable (and frankly, just as meaningful) if we just go with the flow?

Here's where you tell me what to do. Or at least what you would do.

6 comments:

  1. If I were not pregnant I would totally be making plans. But, in my pregnant state, I'm just trying to get through every day with the smallest amount of effort possible. My thoughts on our schedule include having my non-pregnant friends take my kids to the pool and park. Should be a rockin' summer. Good luck to you!

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  2. I say, live it up while you still can. Once your kids are in school full-time, you can't survive without a schedule. While they're young, you can be flexible. I pretty much avoid most scheduling (except naps and sleeping; those I stick to very fiercely) all summer long. Flexibility is key for enjoying the summer months.

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  3. I'm pretty sure your kids are already operating on a schedule, whether you make one or not. Think about the bedtime routine that Subby took me through the other night. She explained the number of stories, when to sing the song, showed me where you were in the scriptures, (she quit listened after I read too many scriptures and I could see that you were circling where you left off,) and she explained how we kneel down to say our prayers and the order you take turns in. It was your turn, by the way, so she laughed and said, "but Mom's not here, so I guess that means it's my turn." I say relax and let Sabrina take over, Lucy will follow...(Wow...reminds me of Shelley...asking me why I had Jeff... if she was just going to have to raise him...maybe I shouldn't be giving advise...but enjoy the summer!)

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  4. No Schedule! Enjoy the summer and being spontaneous!

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  5. LINDSAY! PLEASE! Maybe it's the Van Morrison soundtrack at the moment, but on this one, you follow your instinct, and GO WITH THE FLOW! But, because you also need survival, and may suffer from saturation level parent-itis, here is what I did when my kids were that age: Make a list of activities that you stick to the fridge with one of your decor-be-darned magnets, and then, when you go brain dead, (and you WILL), you reach for the list, and voila! Problems solved. Too blazing hot and too tired? Pull out the Play Dough. Need A.C.? Go see Monte L Bean's Dusty Buffalo collection. (Hey! The Dusty Buffaloes would be a great cover-band name for someone). Need something that takes a half hour? Try the petting zoo before noon. Anyway, that's my 2 cents turned to a dollar's worth. NO editing skills. Sorry.

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