bubblesWhen I think about summertime with my children, I kind of imagine a scenic picture of a mom in a precious sundress bouncing down the sidewalk with her children who seem to be smiling ear to ear with a little bit of “What a Wonderful World” playing in the background. However…Yes, I said it. However, this is so not what my life looks like most of the time in the summer. Far too often I look up and it is 11 a.m., I am still in my yoga pants and t-shirt, re-heating my coffee and trying to keep up with the wild circus that is taking place in my home.

Summertime can be overwhelming, and last year I really had to begin praying through how to embrace summer, and I feel like the Lord laid several things on my heart.

1. Work hard/Play hard: I am raising girls to be women—and you may be raising boys to be men- so we work. So we start our day with breakfast and chores. Every morning they are to put away their laundry, hang up their clothes, and help mama unload the dishwasher. I know what you’re thinking—fun summer, mama! However—fun really isn’t ever really fun until you know what work is. Spontaneity cannot exist without structure, so set a schedule and create some responsibilities for your children, because they will be more excited than you can imagine on the random day you throw that schedule out!

2. Partner up: Take the time and initiative needed to get together with your girlfriends. Let others know what you’re doing with your children and do them together. Our children need to see what friendship, and living with one another looks like.

3. Get involved in the community: I feel like sometimes summer throws our budget straight out of the window. I love to take my children out and do things with them—but that can often be expensive. Use your resources. The library is free and has many events for you and your children such as magic shows, petting zoos, or kick off summer parties—there are SO many options in your local community that are cost effective. Do your research and get out into the community!

4. Get outside: I cannot stress this enough. Get. Outside. Go on a nature walk or an adventure! Just this last week we saw a duck that made a nest in our neighbors’ bushes with 4 eggs. The eggs had hatched but left behind their shells as treasures. Engage their imagination and get them some vitamin D as you get outside. Plus side: we always do this right after our chores and my house stays cleaner a little longer!

5. Be Present: No matter what it is you do with your children this summer, be present. You only have 18 summers with them. That’s it! Use your time wisely and be right there in the moment with them. Take their hand as you adventure through summer together!

This post was written by Maggie Riley.