What Will You Do With Your Kids This Summer? 5 Possible Management Approaches

Get to work, girls! πŸ˜‰

This summer will be the first summer that I’ll be writing under contract with my elementary school kids at home with me. Sound like a recipe for disaster? I hope not! Like most things, I’m trying to approach the situation with humor and an open mind. So I thought I’d write a post about it and see if there are any ways of dealing with this situation that I may have missed. Here are five possible approaches to my problem:

Cinderella’s Step-Mom Approach

Looking around my house, I see plenty of chores that haven’t been tended to. My fingers practically twitch with the desire to write a twenty page, two-hundred-hours-to-complete to do list for my wee ones. They can either pretend to be working amongst cockroaches, rats, pigeons, and flies (a la Amy Adams in Enchanted) or they can take the more traditional approach and imagine their work buddies are mice, birds, squirrels, and chipmunks. In fact, I’m sure we have some dresses and dusting wands around here somewhere…

The Parent Trap (a.k.a. Ship Them Off to Camp) Approach

If you have young girls, you’ve likely seen (many times over!) 1998’s The Parent Trap. (In fact, if you are of a certain age, you’ve probably also seen its predecessor, the 1961 version). In the more recent version, young and adorable Lindsay Lohan plays the twins, who are shipped off to summer camp by their divorced parents. I’m here to admit that, even if you are still married and there are two parents in the house to help manage the summer schedule, the thought of a summer resident camp is mighty appealing! (That said, I compromised on this approach and chose a few awesome sounding day camps for them to attend).

The White Flag (i.e. Enlist Grandma’s Help) Approach

Do you have family that lives close by? Luckily for me, my mother-in-law lives only 2 states and a 2 1/2 hour drive away. When mulling over my summer options, I quickly decided this was the perfect distance for my kids to travel in order to try out staying away from home for a week (in a loving, safe, sugar-laden πŸ˜‰ environment). My in-laws have a pool and my MIL loves to bake. Plus their neighborhood has an ice cream truck that drives around their streets at night whereas ours does not. *I* still get excited when I hear the ice cream bell. So how can I deny them the chance to eat a week’s worth of Sponge Bob, Shrek, and Scooby Doo popsicles?

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em Approach

Writers need inspiration! We need new experiences, new places, new people in order to be at our creative best! When I look around at the myriad fun options available over a summer to families everywhere, I am determined to join in. If anyone reading this is a regular reader, you know that I need to supplement my writing with other activities to keep it fresh. Stale, regurgitated, monotonous, robotic drivel is what I would produce if I couldn’t get out of my house and into the woods. Or if I couldn’t go to a museum, amusement park, bowling alley, movie theater… take a road trip, go boating or bike riding, fly to the beach, hit the bookstore or library… Take a vacation, visit family and friends.

The Suck It Up and Stop Bellyaching Approach

No one twisted my arm and told me I had to be a writer. (And many writers are holding down full-time jobs in addition to their writing careers). Same goes for being a mom. Having kids makes getting things done ten times harder than it was without. But you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am a writer and a mother because, even though it’s a lot of work — I LOVE IT!!!

How about you? Will you have young kids at home this summer? How do you make it work? Are any of these approaches your favored way of coping? Or do you have another option to recommend? What are YOUR plans for the summer? πŸ˜€

Published by

Jill Archer

Jill Archer is the author of the Noon Onyx series, genre-bending fantasy novels including DARK LIGHT OF DAY, FIERY EDGE OF STEEL, WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, and POCKET FULL OF TINDER.

8 thoughts on “What Will You Do With Your Kids This Summer? 5 Possible Management Approaches

  1. My son is grown, so I no longer have this situation. On hearing the choices, I’ve decided to travel with your kids to Grandma’s. She sounds terrific!

  2. Oh, Jill, what a great post! It’s certainly a concern for many writers, this one included. My son is three, becoming more independent each day, but when he’s around writing only happens during (and thank heavens for…) nap time. He’ll attend his pre-school summer camp two days a week. Yay for writing time!

    As for your approaches, I give them five stars! And I agree with Brinda. Count one more for Grandma’s house!

    One more option would be to trade days with a good friend. You take their kids (preferably ones your children get along with) for a day, then trade off anther day, giving you both a break from the insanity.

    Best of luck with a summer full of writing and family fun!

    1. Hi Megan– You too! It sounds like your summer will be full of writing and family stuff. πŸ˜‰ Great tip about finding a friend to swap days with! Thanks for the comment and kind words.

  3. Hey Jill, I vote for Grandma’s house too! Can I go there? I think I’d like it. Er, wait a second…that place sounds strangely familiar. LOL! And as for the ice cream truck, looking back, I can’t decide if there were multiple trucks or if a single driver simply had child-locating radar and would circle the area like a shark waiting for us to come out.

    As a side note, I met author Elaine Cunningham a few years ago. She mentioned that she felt writing was a great profession for her since it allowed her to be home for her children when needed. One of the benefits of working from home. I didn’t think to ask her what she did with her children when she wanted a little adventure. I suppose she employed the same options you outlined, but it would be interesting to know just how she got free time.

    1. Hi Shamus– I’m sure I’ll see you up at Grandma’s house this summer! πŸ™‚ Checked out Elaine’s website. Her bio was interesting and her books sound intriguing. Have a terrific weekend! Thanks for the comment!

  4. Aloha, Jill! This is the first summer since moving to Hawaii that we are not leaving to visit relatives on the mainland … so we are just going to enjoy Paradise. But darkness looms as hubby will be leaving for a one year assignment in Korea. So the kids come with me to RWA in Anaheim!

    1. Aloha, Kim! I think a summer in Hawaii sounds grand. I was there a few years ago with some girlfriends for a surf camp. We stayed on the north shore of Oahu near Haleiwa. I adored it. It’s understandable that you’ll miss your husband though. Hopefully, the year will go fast. Have fun with your kids in Anaheim. Great work life balance! πŸ™‚

      Don’t know what your kids are into, but I heard there’s a fun flight simulator out in Anaheim (http://www.flightdeck1.com/). I’m not going to RWA this year but have in the past. It’s a terrific conference. Tx for stopping by!

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