Resources for the Intentional Parent

Summer Encouragement for the Inconsistent Parent

I’m the best at summer.

I relish warm days, cold beverages, and the sunshine on my face. Summer birthday parties, long weekend camping trips, Independence Day rodeos and parades fill our weekends. I buy workbooks for the kids to complete daily to keep all that school learning fresh in their brains. I post the chore chart on the fridge. I make a summer bucket list of things we can do and even write down a schedule of things to do each week! Library trips, picnic in the park, farmers market shopping; it’s going to be great! Summer is the best.

No more than two weeks into this “summer vacation,” and my systems are failing. (It happens every year). We’ve done a billion super awesome things already, and now I am tired. Exhausted, really. Teachers should get paid more. I also realize that I don’t get a vacation. There are things I need to get done because people are paying me to do them. So, it happens: we lay in our pjs and watch movies all day.

I’m the worst at summer.

I can hear the parenting experts in my ear (“Consistency, consistency, consistency!”), but I can’t even stick to any plan for more than fourteen days! I’ve agonized over my failings and focused on the ways that I am giving my children a lackluster summer experience more times than I can count in the last eight years. I don’t want to do that this year. When I emerge from my pity parties and take a deep breath I most often realize that I’m doing the very best I can. Some days, the very best I can is a marathon of Disney movies and popcorn for dinner. If you are a parent and you are reading this, the odds are you are a loving, caring, thoughtful mom or dad. I bet you are also doing the best you can do.

Aren’t we all?

I’m thankful for things like Kudoso that can help us stay consistent with healthy limits on our tech usage. Technology usage can become an addiction and an unhealthy default or escape. However, for our family, I know that for every tech marathon day we have, we also have days when the computer, gaming system, and TV never power on. We have days when nothing gets done, dirty dishes are in the sink from the previous day, and the laundry overflows into the hallway, but we also have work days when we build a fire pit in the back yard, or plant a garden, or clean up the house because someone we love is coming to visit. We have days when we bicker constantly and everything is a battle, but we also have days when our love tanks are full to overflowing because of the kindness shown in our home.

What I want you to know is that even if you are not a parent who is excellent at routine and consistency, you are still a good parent. Your summer may not run with the same efficiency of the school year or your best friend’s regimented summer of wonder, but that doesn’t mean you are failing. Now that I’ve done this parenting thing for a while, I am learning that our family works hard, plays hard, and chills hard, and that’s ok. We’re just doing the best we can. You might be a parent that routines like a pro. Good for you! We all have our strengths. This summer, let’s embrace those strengths, lose the guilt, and enjoy these moments with those we love the most!

Summer really is the best!

By Jesica Swanson, Kudoso Kontributor