Ahhhh summer. That relaxing time of warmth, lazy days, and relaxation. Reminds me of the 8-track we listened to when I was a kid (very very young, of course) of the song “Sunshine on My Shoulders” by John Denver. “Makes me happy…in my eyes can make me cry … Sunshine on the water looks so lovely.”
The soft, slow-moving background music added to the sense of mellowness.
Oh yeah. Let’s just chill and soak up the summer. Sounds good to me.
While I’m not completely unrealistic (we couldn’t possibly do that all the time), I did have a similar vision for our summer. We’d crawl out of bed later than normal (like 8:00), eat a non-rushed breakfast, then venture out for a fun-filled adventure—picnic at the park, hike, playground time, ice cream parlor. Later perhaps we’d sit around the table for fun school-type activities. And most of all, we’d be so blissfully happy that everyone would get along. Why wouldn’t we? It’s summer!
I don’t want to say that we haven’t had any grand summerific days—we did go on two lovely getaways—but our time at home has been, well, less than those hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer. My little vision didn’t quite work out. Shocking! Not only have we been too busy to feel the sunshine on our shoulders much (when it decides to appear in Seattle!), but the kids’ favorite summer activities seem to be bickering, selfishness, whining, and disobedience.
It seems my sweet children can’t pass five minutes without exuding a gloomy attitude. My friends, our house has not been peaceful. The stress lingers in each room like a bad smell, but not only does the sense of unrest freak me out, but the volume. Whining and bickering is loud. At one point, I was tempted to pull out the old school mom cliché, “Can’t I get some peace and quiet? You kids are driving me crazy!”
I admit, the four unChristlike attitudes hammered on my own mind-set, making me fight to stay positive. There’s only so much negativity a mommy-o can take, y’know?
Well, we tried our usual tactic: nagging/lecturing. Although you may be surprised, this didn’t work. Nope, in fact, it seemed to make it worse.)
But then, two days ago, I returned home from an errand to a quiet home. You might even call it…peaceful. Glancing around, I peered at my husband. “Um, honey, why is it so quiet?” What did you do to the kids? I didn’t ask, but was beginning to wonder…
He stretched on the couch where he worked on his computer. “Some are in their rooms and the others are playing a game in the family room.” He grinned with the “Oh yeah, I know how to handle the kids” look.
Of course the fact that the kids were not only quiet, but playing a game together without fighting baffled my mind. He explained that he was fed up with their whining and bickering, so he came up with a new rule:
Any negative word, look, or attitude will result in an automatic fifteen minutes in their bedroom.
And to add to the brilliance, when they come down they must be smiling, eager to help, and ready to apologize to any injured party. If not, bam! back up for another fifteen.
This has really worked (more than lecturing—go figure). It only took a few times for each to be sent to their rooms, and they are much more careful about their words and attitudes.
Y’know, we moms know a lot, but sometimes those husbands God gave us really come in handy.
Now, back to those hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer.
What are you doing to keep sane in the summer? Share your strategies or struggles!