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Live, Love, Blend: Blended Family Summer Survival

Creative Commons / Sharon Mollerus Photo

Creative Commons / Sharon Mollerus Photo

Live, Love, Blend:
Blended Family Summer Survival 

Throughout childhood, we learn to love summertime. School’s out, not a care in the world. There may be trips to grandma’s, or family vacations, or just hanging out at the neighborhood pool. And don’t forget about popsicles and running through sprinklers. Ah yes, I’m getting a bit nostalgic.

Fast forward to parenthood and those nostalgic feelings come to screeching halt. For parents, especially blended family parents, summertime means work! Honestly, I get a knot in my stomach near the end of April knowing that summertime is coming fast and I’ve got 5 kids with nothing to do for 3 solid months!

Did you start the summer with a plan? I did. And then I tweaked it along the way. Now that the end of summer is in sight, I can share a few of the things that worked, and didn’t, for getting us over the hump.

For us July is the hump. That’s the month with all the kids and step-kids at our house. Normally 3 of them live with us, and the other 2 come on weekends, so July adds the extra challenges more groceries, more laundry, more activities, more demands, more arguments… you get the picture.

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STEP 1

Creative Commons / Max Wolfe Photo

Creative Commons / Max Wolfe

All the parents must come together (via text or email is fine) to coordinate camp and vacation schedules. We discovered early on that our youngest child had family vacations scheduled with both families the same week. Usually, custody agreements dictate which vacation wins out, but sometimes both sides will be flexible for the sake of the child. Get a good calendar and mark these days/weeks off your planning to-do list before you start making any other plans.

Read More: On Aisle 9: Three Things My Special Needs Son Can Teach You About Life

STEP 2

Creative Commons / Crazy Camera Chick Photo

Creative Commons / Crazy Camera Chick

Figure out which kids, or groupings of kids can stay home alone. For instance, we have one combination of our kids – my 13 year old, his 7 year old – that cannot be left alone together. I tried this yesterday and my phone rang off the hook with, “he trashed my room” and “she locked me out of the house”. Ugh! Determine which days or weeks your problem children will need outside supervision and call in reinforcements (grandparents, babysitters, day camps).

Read More: The GEM Debate: David Beckham’s Er.. Bone Of Contention

 

STEP 3

Creative Commons / Thomas Roland Photo

Creative Commons / Thomas Roland

Warn the neighbors. I don’t encourage you to advertise that your kids are home alone, but it is a good idea to let at least one neighbor know just in case they see smoke coming from the back yard or a kid jumping from the roof onto the trampoline.

Read More: When Hot Gets Hotter: 3 Heat Beating Tips For Summer Safety

 

STEP 4

Creative Commons / YetAnotherLisa

Creative Commons / YetAnotherLisa

Keep your boss in the loop. If you’re lucky, your boss has kids too and is doing a similar balancing act. Either way, it’s best to let your boss know that your hours may shift a bit from the norm, that you may have to take a long lunch to run home and make sure the kids are eating something besides cereal all day long. Ask your boss to let you know if your work is slipping. Otherwise, take care of your business and don’t feel guilty.

Read More: The B.S. OF Balance: The Balance Breakdown

STEP 5

Creative Commons / RLHyde

Creative Commons / RLHyde

Enjoy this time! Yes it’s crazy. Football camps and church camps and sleepovers and, “Oh, hey mom, can you take me to the pool at 2 o’clock even though you have a meeting at 3”… remember this memory-making time. Take some days off. Take a vacation if you can. Camp in the back yard. Go to a drive in movie. Know that these are the days your kids will treasure, and they’re the years your step-kids are bonding with you. Embrace each day and remember September is right around the corner.

Read more: How I Hit The Brink And Found My Way Back Again

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So what are your secrets to surviving the (long) summer months with your kids? Come on now; share with the class!

More from GEM:

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Spring And Allergies: 3 Ways To Breathe Easier

 

andi parker

Andi Parker is a sweet but stubborn wife, and a motivated, multitasking mom of five. Kids include two “originals”, boys ages 13 & 9, and three “steps”, boys ages 18 & 14, and a 7-yr-old girl. Andi works as a TV Producer for a Christian TV Network and freelances as a Traffic Reporter for an NBC affiliate. Her heart is set on sharing victories and life experiences in order to encourage and inspire other blended family working moms… or any gal who’s ever had to juggle a man, a job, kids, friends, chores, etc.  Andi blogs at LiveLoveBlend.com.
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