No doubt by now, you've read the summer itinerary for family fun in this month's issue. With school's summer break upon us, it's great to know that there are all-day options to keep your kids occupied during these next couple of months.
Since we've already offered a fantastic guide for you in print (one which works wonderfully for us on the weekends), I'd like to give you my own personal itinerary of a successful summer day alone with three young children.
5:45 am: Pretend it's not 5:45 am. Hand over your iPhone, iPad, TV remote and all the money in your wallet to your children so that you can get just a bit more of that desperately needed shut-eye.
6:00 am: Get up. Drop a few f-bombs, out of earshot of the small tyrants, and make some coffee.
8:00 am: Frantically email or call all of your friends and ask what their plans are for the day, because there is no way in God's great land that you'll be taking them to the beach without backup. In fact, there's no way you're taking them to the beach at all.
8:30 am: Realize that goldfish crackers probably didn't constitute a solid breakfast for a 3 year-old and pop some frozen waffles into the toaster. And then give her a popsicle.
9:00 am: Pack no less than 3 bags of STUFF so that when you do finally get to leave the house, you never have to come back.
10:30 am: Leave the house. Call your friend that was supposed to meet you at 10 am and tell her you're running late (or, more accurately, on-time), but you'll bring her an iced coffee to make up for it.
11:00 am: Arrive at any destination that is, a.) fenced in, b.) has some kind of seat restraints or c.) just far enough away that one of your kids will fall asleep during the car ride there so that you'll be forced to sit in the parking lot, drink your friend's iced coffee and play on Facebook while you wait for her to wake up.
If option "c" doesn't occur, some favorite spots for our family that adhere to rules "a" and "b" are strawberry picking at Jaswell's Farm, Target or one of my girlfriend's backyards.
1:00 pm: Get a call from your husband, asking if you could "swing by the market" and grab some veggies for the grilling he'd like to do that evening. Drop a few f-bombs again, still out of earshot of the small tyrants, but definitely within earshot of the husband.
1:30 pm: Arrive at the farmer's market. Look at everyone's happy, smiling faces as they effortlessly shop from booth to booth. Look in the rearview mirror at your 4 year-old's face, which now has a snot stuck to it after she spent twenty minutes picking her nose. Drive away.
2:00 pm: Pull up to BJ's and squeal with joy when you notice the "beep beep" car cart is sitting right next to an open spot in the parking lot and not just inside the front doors of the building. This day just got exponentially better.
2:30 pm: Leave BJ's a few nails shorter and a few brain cells deader and tell the children that they've been so good that they deserve Del's Lemonade.
3:00 pm: Daydream about how good the Del's would taste with just a bit of Vodka in it and glance at the clock and know that there's only 4 hours until bedtime.
3:01 pm: Glance at the clock and realize that you forgot to bring one of your children to art class last Saturday. Which is why you probably shouldn't ever drink Vodka anyway.
3:30 pm: Head back home and tell the kids they can play in the yard. Fill a bucket with water and LET THEM GO TO TOWN.
4:30 pm: Call your husband and tell him that it would be a really cool idea to bring the kids to the drive-in that night for a movie. And then remember that they'll already be asleep. Praise yourself for not blurting that idea out loud in front your kids earlier in the day, in an attempt to be the most awesome mother in the world.
5:30 pm: The husband arrives and announces that after dinner, he's taking us for ice cream. The kids equate this excitement to what they'd feel if someone just told them that Disney World was downstairs. They instantly forget about all the awesome summer-y things mommy did with them that day. The husband is ahead.
7:00 pm: It's bedtime, but you've decided to let them stay up, eat popcorn and watch Mike the Knight until 7:30, because it's now an all-out war between you and your husband as to who gives them a better summer day.
7:30 pm: Kids go to bed, not before boasting about their day. You tell them about all the awesome things you'll do tomorrow, when they wake up.
8:00 pm: Call your parents. Ask them to come over and babysit. Go to drive-in with husband. Drink Vodka.
What's YOUR successful summer day with little ones look like?
* Jen Senecal is a mom to three girls, a writer, blogger and graphic designer. Read more on her foray into parenthood at www.keekoin.com or visit her at Rhody Mamas.