Mary, the “mom”
I look forward to the end of the school year almost as much as my kids do. First and foremost, I look forward to sleeping past 5:40 on weekdays. But I also look forward to a break from worrying about all the assignments, tests, projects etc. (I know they’re not my responsibility, so why would I worry? See my earlier posts about micro-managing and you’ll get the picture!) And, believe it or not, I actually enjoy spending time with my kids when everyone is relaxed, as opposed to the normal weekday routine where everyone, including me, is stressed out.
Okay, so today’s the last day, at least for my high school student. Now what? He should have a summer job, but he doesn’t yet. (See Rach’s post about her summer job dilemma and you’ll get the idea.) Regardless of how much I enjoy spending relaxed time with him, it won’t take long for the sleeping til noon and hanging around all day to get on my nerves.
So, I’ve explained to him that I will have a list of extra chores for him to do around the house until he gets a summer job. I fear that I’m about to trade nagging about school work for nagging about chores. Which, of course, is in addition to nagging about a summer job.
What are your kids doing this summer? How do you handle the sudden wealth of free time?
Rach, the “teen”
The post about the summer job really helped me. It got me more motivated, and more willing to really look. I knew I needed to get one, so I answered an advertisement, went in for an interview and got a summer job. I did it because sitting around the house listening to my parent’s nag was the last thing I wanted, and it’s the last thing your kids want to.
I think the first week of summer (right after school lets out) is a great time to sleep in late, hang out with friends and get all that classic summer stuff done. Then it’s time to work.
Last summer, my dad employed me (for minimum wage) to repaint two big benches we keep outside. It took me the entire summer, but it kept me busy. I think chores like that are good for middle and high school students. One or two big simples “around the house” chore they can do.
Paint something, plant a new garden, weekly “all house” cleanings. Something that they can do when they want (flexible hours), but for a certain amount of hours a week (say, 10), and something that they have to do (for the money, for the responsibility, for the drive to the mall you promised them).
It was hard painting those benches (yes, painting can be hard). But it was a good summer – because I made the rules about it. I got the work done, I felt responsible for the benches, and I got paid for it. With only a little nagging.
Brad, the “dad”
I guess I’m just the ol’ softy in the pack this time. Because I have seen how ridiculously hard the killings have been working this past year, on grades and friendships and special projects and community service, and I’m actually hearing myself saying, “Hey, it’s summer: take some time.”
Maybe I’m particularly easy on them this year because I can see the future. The Valkyrie will be heading off to college in exactly two months, and there are a work-study gig and 13 units waiting for her there. The Elf will be starting at an academically demanding high school in just a little more than that – the same school her sister just escaped from – and, as she’s been saying herself, once she gets there the grades and extra-curricular stuff really start to count.
In some ways, this is the Last Great Summer for both of them. Adulthood or a reasonable facsimile is just over the horizon. So if the Valk takes a month off (yeah, a month) to go road-tripping with her travelicious Mom, and the Elf spends a week or two (or three) doing little but sleeping in, going online and making art…okay. Just this once. Because from here on in, things are gonna get busier and more serious, and I want them to remember at least one more, one last, long, slow summer before the blitz begins.
Am I a fish in a barrel or what?
Jane Castro is a journalist and media enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Bacolod in the Philippines. She loves skating, scuba diving, and archery on her free time.