Tuesday, June 5, 2012

SHE SAID... Sanity in the Summertime = Playtime

Barbara Ward-Finneran
Summertime is the biggest blessing.  Laid back days to stay up late and sleep in until morning is practically over when desired.  Time to frolic in the sun and play with friends.  Extra hours for reading, games and lots of laughter.  Pure bliss except when interrupted by that dreaded sentence... "Mom, I'm bored".

I'm very lucky it's not a sentence that frequents my boys lips.  A combination of creativeness, "Camp Mommy", and sibling camaraderie as well as being a house where "all the kids" can play keep it at bay at our place.  Yet just a little over a week into summer here where I live, and  I have friends who are already over hearing it.  (Yes, I know, my northern peeps - envious as you are because you are still in school - talk to us in early August when we are back in session already!)  Many solve this issue by offering up random chores or yard work that's just begging to be done and dreaded by all.  Still others spring into mission impossible Mom style by finding all kinds of wonderful ways to ward off the dreaded doldrums of our kids having too much time on their hands.  

I adore my mom and admire all that she taught me and how she raised me.  But truth be told, I don't recall her, or the other moms in my life when I grew up entertaining us. At least not regularly.   One of the reasons I swear by the "more the merrier" rule.  The more kids that are hanging out playing the more fun there is to be had by all - without me needed to conduct the fun train.  When I was a kid, we had to play.  Outside.  Rain, shine, heat and snow - outside you'd go.  Endless hours with the neighborhood kids 'til the street lights came on.  

Wanna keep your sanity this summer?  Dare I say, plan some time to just play.  For your kids and for yourself - alone and with them.  Spend time together without the coordinated distraction of events, activities and electronics.  Unplug and find some ways to stir up some good old fashion (and might I mention free - to quote my cousin - "free" is my favorite four letter F word!) fun.  Make forts in the living room, take a walk even when it might be 100 degrees in the shade - the AC will be there when you get back and you'll appreciate it more.  Make ice pops in paper cups, build sandcastles by the beach, collect sea shells, beat the pants off them in staring contests, and play "war" until you can't stand to see those cards anymore. You can always end the game by throwing in the towel with "52 Pick Up".  Laugh and have fun.  Moments that make memories help you keep your sanity and it's cheaper then therapy.  And when that runs thin...  schedule some playtime for yourself with your gal pals and or with your honey.  Recharge your battery, reconnect, read a good book, and even "wine" down once and a while if necessary. Make time for playtime and you'll not lose your mind but rather have the times of your life.  Taking in the smiles, love and laughter... that's what really matters. That's what keeps us sane.  In the really big scheme of things - nothing else matters.  “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

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