Friday, August 11, 2017

It's Mid-August and We're Practically Feral

My actual children doing back to school shopping at Target. 
My family is so busy all year that we crave the freedom and flexibility of summer vacation, especially after swim team ends. Our alarm clocks go off by 6am all year, except for this magical time between swim ending and school starting. There is a downside, though. After about 10 days of not having a reason to wake up early, our days lose all sense of order and we become more or less feral. 

Here are ten reasons why we can’t handle not having a schedule:

10. Bedtime? What is this word you speak of? Last night my 8 year old went to sleep at 10:15 and we all thought it was “early”.

9. Breakfast? The most important meal that nobody eats anymore. We’re all sleeping in and nobody wakes up at the same time, and no one seems to be hungry when they do get up. This of course leads to hangriness which leads my kids to argue with each other.

8. The sibling squabbles. Dear God save me from how much these children are fighting with each other over stupid nonsense. I’d send them to their rooms, but at the moment those rooms are so messy that I’m not sure they can even get in there.

7. The messes. On a normal day, we have a time when things get done. Dishes are put in the dishwasher, clutter on the stairs is carried upstairs, socks and shoes - carelessly kicked off and scattered around - are dealt with. But not now. Now there is just stuff EVERYWHERE. 

Random Observation: There are half-empty drinking glasses in every room and it’s getting weird. Remember that movie Signs from like 15 years ago? It’s like that.



6. My poor, precious dogs. During the school year, they get three walks a day on a strict schedule around bus stops and bed time. Their meals are served like clockwork. By mid-August? They’re eating brunch, free-ranging in the back yard, and wondering what happened. 

5. Crafts and projects. These things are enthusiastically started and then discarded. Then new projects are started and forgotten about. Things are only half-way cleaned up in between, which is why I just found a bunch of gallon-size bags of slime in my dining room on top of some beading supplies. 

Real question - Can slime mold? Because the stuff I just found was from June.

4. What day is it again? One week we’re up really early for a random camp. The next week we stay up late every night binge watching something really educational like season 3 of the The Flash. It’s always different and sometimes it’s even different within the same week for different kids. I’m starting to lose track of what day it is.

3. Sleep overs. Now let’s toss in a sleep-over or two per week where NO ONE ACTUALLY SLEEPS, resulting in what I refer to as the dreaded post-sleepover hangover.

2. Lunch and dinner. You know how you’re supposed to make healthy meals when its summer? Grilled lean protein with fresh veggies from the garden or farmer’s market? Well it’s hard to do that when you don’t feed kids lunch until 2pm and then you look at the clock and realize its 8:30pm and maybe that’s the reason everyone is so grouchy.

1. Let’s talk about being grouchy and over-emotional. All of these things combined - the lack of sleep, inconsistent meal times, and weird hours we’re keeping make it hard for all us to exercise something called “emotional self-regulation”. We laugh harder, act sillier, zone out more easily, get angry or annoyed in a flash, and are basically less controlled and more impulsive versions of ourselves. 

For the first few days, being feral and off-schedule feels great. After a that, the happy feeling starts to wear thin. We’re not getting along as well as we used to. We’re neglecting things that we probably shouldn’t. We’re indulging ourselves in too much Netflix, snacks we shouldn’t be eating every day, and too little sleep. We’re a little more lazy than we know is good for us. We’re grouchy when we have to deal with things we don’t want to do. And getting motivated to get back on track is getting harder and harder. 

It seems like a good metaphor for moderation. I see this as an opportunity to talk to my kids about setting limits, making healthy choices, and being thoughtful about over-doing things. We’re heading back to school in 2 weeks and we need to start getting ourselves back in order. 

As two of my kids enter (respectively) their first years of middle school and high school, I have to assume that at some point someone may offer them alcohol in a social setting. The most important factor that impacts kids behavior around drinking? Conversations with parents. While this experience is still fresh in our minds, we’re going to talk about how drinking impacts your impulsivity, self-regulation, and ability to stay on track. 

And then we’re going to set the alarm clock. For 8:30.

This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org as part of their Ask.Listen.Learn. campaign, encouraging families to talk early, talk often, and be healthy. All the opinions are my own because no one is the boss of me. I'm very proud to be part of their team this year. 

(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013-2017

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