Fish sticks, Chicken nuggets, and Watermelon

Today my son has officially completed his last day of Kindergarten.  I think I was more nostalgic and tearful today then I remember feeling on the first day.  It has been a fabulous year.  He has grown in so many ways, and picked out “The Odyssey” for his free summer book, compliments of our gracious school principal.  I feel just as excited as he does about summer break (ask me again in a month).  I have succumbed to purchasing pre-made chicken nuggets and fish sticks that I know the kids will eat, and have plans to keep fresh berries and watermelon on hand at all times.  We have a family size popsicle maker at the ready.  In theory, I will work less, and spend long summer days lounging in the yard while the kids play happily in the sprinkler.   I will go to the zoo, and the children’s museum.  I will catch up with mama friends, and go on as many camping trips as possible.  As summer approaches, I realize there may be a hitch in my plans.  One thing to plan for lazy, leisurely summer days, but there is work and there are the kids.  I find it hard to put work tasks on the back burner when I have worked all year to build some great momentum.  I also have to remember that long, leisurely, unstructured days for a 2 and 6 year old, may not turn out so leisurely for me.  As I contemplate the schedule, I have recognized that I need to identify concrete changes to my work plans and schedule for summer.  What am I actually going to put on hold until fall?  What are the priorities that I must attend to?  I am not really completely on vacation for three months.  Just fantasizing about it.  I will continue to work with clients, read email, answer my phone, blog, read my favorite working mama sites and blogs.  However, I will not be blogging as frequently, and have decided to shelve work on workshops seminars, and groups.  I likely will stop accepting new clients for a couple months.   I have created a list of activities that I hope our family will engage in this summer, (it includes birthday parties, camping, swim lessons, free swim time at the pool, concerts in the park, at least one trip to the zoo, a train ride to Washington Park, etc).   How about you?  What are your summer plans?  What are your summer struggles?  Take time in the next couple of days to identify at least three concrete goals or aims for your work life this summer and three goals for your family life.  Then identify what you will need to do in order to make them happen.  What baby steps do you need to take to enjoy summer more?   Lastly set the plan of action in motion.  Write down your goals and the steps needed to make them manifest. 

A couple examples: 

Goal: spend monday and fridays with kids (I have day care the other three week days). 
Baby steps: accept that specific work projects are just not going to get attention this summer, determine what work tasks I will do on the days I have day care… possibly change outgoing voice mail message to reflect available times to callers… 

Goal: get in the water as much as possible:
Baby steps: purchase a decent suit for myself, get pool schedule, sign son up for some lessons, stock up on sunscreen, extra kid suits, beach balls etc, keep a “water fun” bag to have ready at a moments notice for spontaneous trips to the pool or lake!

I am whole heartedly looking forward to a lovely summer, during which I will not feel (as) overloaded, irritable, or stressed, and will have quality time with my family!  I invite you to join me in the endeavor!

Here’s to summer days!
~Rachel

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