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It’s the Last Day of School… Yahoo?!?!?!

Today wraps up yet another school year in our small town. For many, kids especially, this is a long-awaited day of celebration & renewed freedom. I remember feeling that way as a kid, too… that sudden feeling of lightness and possibility and just simple joy. The local newspaper makes an annual habit of perching outside the junior high with a camera as the final bell rings to catch that gleeful sprint out the door as the kids burst into summer.

IMG_4072I have to admit as a work-at-home mom, this is NOT my favorite day of the year these days. Not because I don’t want to spend more time with my kids… after all, I traded a decent full-time job about 5 years ago just to avoid having to spend more time than necessary away from my kids. I enjoy the excuse to buy fun gifts for our kids’ teachers… and the heightened energy & excitement that fills the school and neighborhood in the days leading up to and immediately following the Last Day is pretty infectious.

That said, this time of year is a real challenge for me. This is because 1) I am a HUGE creature of habit & routine, and 2) I really like my work-at-home solitude. If you have kids, you know that both go out the window  … for three months at least … the day school lets out for the summer.

Working at home and the discipline that requires also leads to another behavior I’ve noticed, at least for me personally. I tend to feel so tied to my usual routine that it feels like I’m being irresponsible if I drift, leading to feelings of guilt and adding to that sense of overwhelm. As a result, I tend to miss a lot of opportunities to be spontaneous … for my kids as well as myself … and find it even more difficult than usual to find that balance between “work” and “fun.”

I’ve tried a few things over the past few summers in an attempt to manage these challenges, some with more success than others. I’ve adapted our usual chore charts to better match summer needs, scheduled swimming lessons and other kid activities, assigned babysitting duty to the older kids to allow (supposedly) uninterrupted work time for myself. As I sit here this morning, bracing myself for the early release of my kids in just a few short hours, I know it would probably be wise to make a plan for this summer, as well.

On the other hand, maybe it would be a good day to just forget all that and as my husband suggested last night, do something fun to celebrate with my kids.

We’ll see how it goes…

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