Hello Everyone and welcome to the fifth edition of The Nap Times! If you are receiving this and do not want a monthly newsletter from me, simply unsubscribe at the bottom. I totally get wanting to simplify and declutter your inbox and will not take it personally.
This newsletter is going to discussplanning summer through the lens of your season, and end the way we always do with the current reads, listens, and things watched.
Let's begin with what I mean by “seeing summer as a season”
One of the most helpful things I have done to enjoy the summer with my kids is to name the season of our life we are in for that particular summer. Obviously, summer itself is one of four seasons, but that is not the kind of season I am referring to.
When I say season, I mean naming the
particular phase of life you are currently in.
Maybe you have a newborn at home.
Maybe all your kids are five and older.
Maybe summer camps are in full swing for you.
Maybe you have multiple vacations lined up and therefore the time spent at home will feel really restful.
Maybe you have no vacations lined up and the time at home already feels suffocating.
Whatever it may be for you, naming your season can really help you to practically think of ways to not only survive, but enjoy, your summer.
Let's do me as an example:
1. I have three kids that are all walking, talking, eating people food, and can make it the whole day without a nap.
2. Two of my three are not able to swim yet.
3. I am due with my fourth in October. So while there's a chance I will be more tired this summer, I also have more freedom and flexibility now than I will this fall.
4. We have a few summer trips planned, and a few morning summer camps.
What are likely some stressful options?
-Taking the kids to the pool by myself would likely be stressful. Unless I had help, it would basically be a morning making sure no one drowns.
-Multiple days in a row spent at home. All of us (myself included) really enjoy getting out and doing things and this is likely the easiest time we will have getting out of the house for a while.
What are some good options for us?
-Playing in the sprinkler in the backyard, and getting some sort of smaller, shallow pool for the backyard or other entertaining water contraption.
-Going to library story time. It won't interfere with naps and there's air conditioning!
-Meeting friends for a morning and picnic at the park.
-Going to a coffee shop or restaurant with some outdoor space. This is a major win for us because mom gets a coffee and a break from preparing a meal, and the kids get a nice change of scenery. Bonus if a friend and her kids go with us!
What are some things we can prioritize?
-Since I know life will be much busier and tiring once the baby comes in the fall, we can prioritize all the things that are easier to do without a newborn. Things that require mom's hands and attention, like the children's museum, aquarium, restaurants, and beach are all great options for us. We can also really enjoy the freedom of not being tied down to any naps.
After thinking about the above questions, I decided my word for the summer would be FLEXIBILITY. We are going to have more freedom to get out and do things. Millie can skip her afternoon nap and be totally fine. The kids can eat out or on the go. We are not tied down to any schedule!
One other thing I plan to prioritize this summer is MARGIN. I know for so many the fall brings busy schedules and lots of activity. I want to really soak up the margin we have right now. The hour between activities with no plans and no place to be. I want to purposely schedule in time for us to slow down. I want to order more foods that require me to chop them as opposed to buying pre-chopped. I want to take trips to the farmers market. I want to remember to water the plants. I want to bake cookies from scratch with the kids and relish the time together instead of hurrying us along to the next thing.
Some of you might have a new baby, and so for you this is the summer of being home. It's a summer where you are going to be dog tired. So maybe, you prioritize getting some good water activities for your backyard, arts and crafts for the kids to do at the kitchen table, and a dedicated time each day where the baby naps, toddlers watch a show, and mom takes an hour to rest and drink an iced coffee. Heck, maybe you make Starbucks runs a part of the budget for this summer!
Some of you might be tasting freedom for the first time after a year at home. This summer might be chock full of travel plans and summer camps. If so, maybe home simply needs to be a soft place to land and recoup. Maybe we declare every Tuesday and Friday movie night. Maybe you take a weekly trip to the library to stock up on books and make a reading nook out of pillows in the kids' playroom.
Either way, please don't miss out on this:
Summer is simply one season of four in a year. This is also just one summer of, Lord willing, many you will enjoy. Your kids will not be doomed if there are reasons this summer has to be slower. Boredom is not a sin. The weight of the world does not hinge on June-August.
Your summer might involve a whole lot of this…
or a whole lot of this…
Hopefully, what you see here is that when you lean into the season you are in, instead of forcing yourself to mold to what you believe summer should be, you can find a lot of joy and freedom. You can have a summer that serves you instead of leaving you frustrated.
Need some practical application?
Take a little time and ask yourself:
What season are we currently in?
What would likely be stressful for us this summer?
What are some good options for us?
What can we prioritize?
Are there some changes we should make around the house in order for our house to better serve us this summer?
I hope you found this way of thinking helpful, and that as you think about your own season of life this summer, you get excited!
If you are looking for a tangible way to create a routine/schedule that your kids can look to, I have a blog post for you! I cannot tell you how helpful it is for my kids to have a visual of what to expect in a day. It honestly helps me a ton too.
*I am going to use this section to only share things I read/watched I would suggest to another person. I definitely read/listened to/watched some duds!
The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel. I cannot recommond this book enough! It gave me so much to think about and each chapter had me wanting to discuss new things with Nate.
Silver Girlby Elin Hilderbrand. Yet another Hilderbrand novel to add to my quickly growing list. I really enjoyed this one! It is loosely based off of the Madoff story and I just love how all of her novels have new and interesting characters, yet all take place on the lovely Nantucket.
I have listened to every episode of the Under the Influence Podcast. I found it fascinating, eye opening, and filled with some good warnings to heed. It gave me a lot to think about. Jo Piazza is the perfect host. I will say, listen with headphones. This is not for little ears!
Nate and I watched Shadow and Bone on Netflix and really, really enjoyed it! The fantasy part reminded me of Game of Thrones, but way less violence and wayyyyy less nudity/sex (hardly any, really). It is hard for us to find a show we both like (drama, but not scary) and this checked all the boxes.
I continue to rewatch Friends on HBO Max each night on the iPad while I cook dinner. It makes me laugh and laughter is GOOD medicine right now. 5pm is MAGICAL at our house. The kids get to watch a show, I get to cook and watch Friends in peace. It's the best.
That's all I have for you this month. Thanks for reading!