I am sure you are wondering why on June 23rd I am already writing a post called "how I spent my summer vacation." In early May, I was at my wit's end between numerous school activities, volunteer commitments, and still trying to maintain our home. We were frazzled, to put it very, very mildly. Neither I nor my kids could keep up that pace. Hoping to live in the moment more, I purposefully made few firm plans from the day school let out (5/20) until when they left for sleepaway camp (6/19). We had dental appointments and I had a conference. Other than that, in a totally uncharacteristic move for me, we had a "Yes Month!"
Do you know the book Yes Day? A boy's parents give him a magical day by saying yes to his requests? In real life, we still had some discipline and rules, of course. My idea was to say "Yes" to reasonable requests of my kids to show them that I valued our time together. Obviously, I know they are more important than my daily chores, but I am not sure they are always getting that message from me. I knew that these few weeks constituted the whole precious summer at home for my kids. After sleepaway camp, our trips are timed in a way that, before we know it, they will be back in school. So I tried just. giving. in.
So what all is involved in Yes Month? For us, it involved ALL (me too) of us climbing through the tunnels and monstrosity at City Museum:
Their dance recitals, which were technically on the books, but we just cleared the weekend for them (including my parents coming up to visit for the occasion and my inlaws spending the whole weekend with us too):
Baby had tennis lessons, which we never had time for with school activities:
We tried two new restaurants and went to three different pools on multiple occasions (including leaving to go swimming one night after I already had my Pj's on). I gave in and bought the food-themed floats that are everywhere (we got the donut, pizza, and watermelon):
We had a lemonade stand. You should know that I normally loath lemonade stands because the kids always trash the house making the lemonade, never consider the fact that they have to pay for lemons or cups, and expect me to drag out the tables and chairs (which they then never bother to put away). During Yes month, I even let them wheel the cart up to the elementary school and provide live music!
We also took a Mommy and Me Yoga Class, had approximately one million playdates and sleepovers with too many friends to mention. It was a big month, with big activities chosen entirely by my kids.
Here's the rub. It wasn't the big things that I think they are going to take away I also said yes to baking cookies after the kitchen was closed for the day. I let big girl make oodles of lip-balm (which is her super-messy new favorite craft--after getting essential oils at a soap factory, another yes month activity). Baby played with her easy bake to her heart's content and I cleaned up the mess (even though she promised she would clean ,I knew by saying yes that I'd end up doing it). I declared an open-craftroom day where even my good paints and ribbons were fair game.
Though I love swimming, I don't always love getting in the pool due to my own insecurities. But I did it for yes month-- I even did a handstand in the country club pool! Speaking of...I let them make what they called a "country club" in the yard--emphasis on the "country!" I allowed them to rig a hose to our swing set and affix a slip-n-slide at the bottom. And you know what? I went in the yard in my suit and went down that slide myself (you can take the girl out of Tennessee.....)!
All the while, my mantra was that the time was fleeting and that I could do the chores while they went to summer camp. That I would have my me-time come 6/19. Our house got pretty messy, I am not going to lie. That was hard for me. I will spend at least a few days of "my" time just cleaning up the wake of yes month. Even though they are gone , there are still loads of laundry to do (in fact, a yes month produces a lot of extra laundry)! I did raise my voice once or twice about sibling rivalry or ingratitude, but overall, I think yes month worked! I know I made some precious memories. So now they are both off at sleepaway camp, making precious memories without me.
But guess what? I miss yes month!