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Summer is a time for ....

  • Staying up late.  Last night, it was 10+pm before the kids were settled in beds.  Maybe it was closer to 11pm. (for more, read "Summer Sleep, What time to bed?")
  • More media.  "Can we watch TV?", they begged, on a weeknight.  It would never be a request during the school year, but - now that we are in summer mode - not only is it a request, it is a granted request.
  • Playing outside until 8:30, 9pm.  Before and after dinner, the kids are found outside, rollerblading, scootering, Skuuting.  
  • Playing in the neighborhood, unsupervised.  In our current neighborhood, there is one street they are allowed to cross.  All other times, they need to stay on the sidewalk.
  • Exploring new boundaries of independence.  I just sent my two older kids on an excursion to get groceries, the store is about 0.4mi away.  They were successful, generally speaking.
  • Sleeping in.  We are lucky to have a schedule where my husband or I can work from home many days of the summer.  Those late morning days are delicious and allow for some slow getting up.
  • Trips to Grandma's and other relatives!  We have found a chaperon (relative traveling the same itinerary as our kids) to accompany our two eldest kids cross-country to deliver them to their grandparents.
  • The Summer Reading Program.  Kudos to all the libraries out there and the volunteers that keep the summer reading programs exiciting for the kids.  My kids do it every year and love it!  Although my middle schooler reads over an hour a day, she refuses to fill out the little game card.  She's too old for that.

Tell me more!  What are you & the kids enjoying more of, now that it's summer?


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Oddly, we don't really do much of any of that! My child (age 7) doesn't wish to go out and about on his own, nor stay up past 9ish, nor sleep in past 8-9ish. He would accept the extra Tv :) but hasn't asked for i.t Don't rememebr the late/late thing when I was young, either.
For him, summer is about playing with water, playing ball games in the yard, walking to get ice cream (a block away), and going past a park and saying 'oh NOW i want to go there!'

Since I work from home (and had previously been unemployed (but looking) for the previous 4 summers, my daughter and I spend a lot of summer together.

As a family, we'll either have a big vacation (Disney World in 2010) or a lot of smaller, local vacations - this year we'll be visiting Disney at Xmastime. We also really enjoy waterfall hikes, in fact summer in the PNW is splendiferous in that way! Oh and white water rafting is very big with us, this year we're going to try kayaking, too.

I do (once again) wish we had a REAL theme park closer than Federal Way, because Oaks Park and the Enchanted Forest don't really cut it.

Because I'm home (and don't have to punch a clock), my daughter is already enjoying staying up as late as she likes and sleeping as late as she likes. I'm a fairly permissive mom, so the TV/screen thing doesn't entirely come into to play around here. Though I do sometimes have to push her to come out with me. She also emjoys doing art in the yard, with a table set up under a big tree.

For the independence thing---at 12 she's already spent the school year taking two buses each way, alone, to the magnet middle school she attends and hanging with friends after school, so she's VERY autonomous on that level. She WAS lobbying for permission to go to the mall alone, but my comfort level isn't quite there yet (not because of her, but because of other people).

Just curious how many other moms/dads end up in the same routine during the summer as the school year due to working full time? We have had to stay very routine focused because my daughter still has to get up and ready at the same time every day for YMCA camp, which started the day after school ended, and goes until the day before it starts again. I tend to drift toward slightly later bedtimes because I need to get out and water the garden and she plays in the yard while I do, but we maybe vary about 15 minutes. She misses her school friends horribly, and from week to week they are either on vacation or busy with some summer activity and it's even harder to plan play dates than it was during the school year. We are very excited for a 2 week vacation at the end of August when we get to go visit family on the east coast and probably go to the beach, but we just found out that school starts for them the day we get there (2 weeks before ours does) so that cuts out some of the visitation with friends, especially my best friend who is a teacher! But it will be sooooo nice to get away from work and camp!

We do a lot of staying up later, which works better for our whole family to stay out at BBQs, concerts in the park, etc. We are hoping that over time it will lead to some summer sleeping in, but so far that hasnt happened.

Slow mornings are glorious, as are the afternoons not having to pick anybody up from school.

Its nice to hear others say being more permissive with the tv. I'm pretty stickler about limiting screen time (computer, tv & ipad included) but I would like to be able to let up on my own guilt about it so I could actually get something done around here!

We've been enjoying lots of outdoor time, gardening, board games, water play and will take a number of small weekend trips to the coast, nights over at Gran's house, and in general, just letting time spread out and being together.

We end up staying up later than during the school year, which is nice in that we can have more peaceful, laid back evenings. But I so miss my evening time after the kids are in bed! They are going to bed around 9 and then reading/listening to audiobooks for another half hour or so. I can't seem to make it past 10 given that my body is still awake at school-hour-time. I thought for certain I would sleep a little later once the alarm wasn't doing the waking, but not so.

We have a pretty laid back approach to summer overall. I work only two days/week so on those days the kids are up and dressed in time for the sitter, but otherwise we have pajama mornings and park afternoons. I have not moved at all on the television guidelines around here only because it will be too hard to get it back if I do. One of my kids rarely watches anything on his own, so he wouldn't be an issue. But my older one knows the rule is one show/day during the week and 2 on weekends. It hasn't occurred to him to ask for more since we don't have school, and I haven't offered!

@Debby - back when I did work full time (+++++), the only difference in our routine was the direction in which we walked! Otherwise, same bat time, same bat channel. Especially since over time my daughter didn't particularly enjoy her summer program, either.

To be fair, if I now worked outside of the house, I wouldn't put her in daycamp (she's 12), but I would probably look to somehow structure things more for her. I'll confess, I've gotten really used to it, and while I sometimes see positions paying way more $$$, it would mean giving up a LOT, too.

She also misses her BFF, who spends the entire summer in Boise. Especially since they've been going to different schools for the past year. She's excited for a party next week, though that a school friend is putting on.

Oh I forgot something in earlier post----I love how there's no homework policing and fighting right now! Instead we've taken to playing cards in the dining room after dinner, getting embarassingly competitive over Old Maid and Go Fish---and teaching my daughter poker!


We stay up a little later, allow more sleepovers on the weekends. Started off the summer with a trip to Ohio, where it was 90 and humid - too hot too suddenly for us NW people but great for going in the water. Summer camp all summer at various places with a week off at the end to play in Portland. Mostly, though, since I work full time, our evening/morning routines are very similar. We are very grateful not to be dealing with homework!

Zumpie, my 10 yr old tried rafting with a friend earlier this summer and loved it. Where can we go for some white-water (beginner but wanting more than a 'float') in this area?

Just like for Debby, this time is not much different from the school year. We pay more in camp fees than during the year (after school care).

@alaska There is great rafting like you mention on the Deschutes we did a trip last summer with these guys while visting Bend and it was awesome.

I work, too, so my (going into 3rd grade) daughter attends camps most of the summer. Camp starts about a half hour later than school so we adjust her bedtime accordingly. I like to keep her in the routine of homework during the summer. Her school gives her a packet of worksheets to complete, about 150 pages, so we work on that most evenings and also do the library reading challenge. I find that keeping the routine fairly consistent really helps in September. Especially with homework. Still, we have a much more relaxed time and it's a lot of fun. No grades, no tests. Time to experience new things like art camp and time to make new friends. Some of the camps end early (3pm and even 2 pm one week) and I don't arrange aftercare in the summer. That gives time some afternoons to go to the playground, shopping or swimming.

@Alaska - aggree w/Z, the Deschutes is PERFECT for the novice rafter, but still very fun. I personally really like High Dessert River Outfitters in Maupin, myself. Sadly, you missed the awesome Groupon they had earlier. But you CAN sometimes find deals with them if you poke around online.

It was our 2nd time with them, and I liked how our guide guaged the group (especially my CT friends) as very novice and planned the route accordingly (there's a rapid that can be class 4 or class 2+, depending on what side you take).

Also while in Maupin: the pizza place is excellent as is the Imperial River Hotel (if you're looking to stay overnight). When you're ready for more adventure---try White Salmon (NOT for the faint hearted, FYI!).

Yesterday we did a great family waterfall hike that we'd never encountered before: Wachella, absolutely wonderful!

@Z: you and I seem to have a LOT in common! :-)

I loved reading this post. Like most, even though I still have to work during the summer, I really try to give my kids as much "summer" as I can. They do have to go to camps/daycares but afterward, they are free to play in the neighborhood, stay up late, sleep in, watch movies on the weekdays and occasionally run when the ice cream truck comes down the block. I'm always on the lookout for cheap/free summer stuff to occupy them.

I do want to know if anyone else feels like summer camps are way too expensive for the average household? I mean, we're doing a fairly cheap camp at about $35/day but I think it's cheap for a reason. My kids hate going there but I can't afford Trackers or OMSI or any of those other really cool ones. And most of them only go until 4pm. Isn't the typical work schedule 8-5 or is my workplace that unusual? How does everyone else swing it?

@Marv - I've always wondered about that myself. We were considering a 1 week animation summer camp for my daughter, but it was only 5 hours per day and $400 for those 5, 5 hour days. She even told us she'd rather we give her the $$$ to go shopping with!

I think a lot of parents just do either a week or two at an $$$ camp, otherwise they send their child to summer daycare. Originally my husband pushed to send her to the latter, but I explained she really was too old for it. I also notice some parents will sacrifice for the year, not vacation, etc---just to pay for their kids in summer camp (that the kids don't entirely enjoy).

It's another work/family/life balancing part of parenting----one that I'm glad to be done with!

The hardest part I think, is that they want you to make a committment to summer camp at the Y over a year in advance. I got the form for next year's after school program, and if I want to do the year round program, I have to commit to it now. I pay a monthly fee. I have no way of knowing what our life will be like in a year, but if I don't commit, it will be much more expensive to pay weekly. If I want my daughter to experience some of the extra camps, like one that is offered at her school for one week each summer, that would be an additional $250 for the week alone, bringing that month to about $700 for child care. Outrageous! And the price keeps going up each year, where my income doesn't. I should have gone to engineering school instead of becoming a social worker! :P

I have a love hate relationship with Summer. Our first two weeks have gone quickly, but that's because we were moving, and had camp last week. The rest of the summer looms ahead...

We can't afford (or choose not to really) the expensive summer camps times multiple kids all summer long. So, each child has two camps this summer. We splurge on the more expensive ones. I am going to love the week that all the kids are at zoo camp - they'll have fun and be tired enough to go to sleep at the end of the day. And, I'll get time to work during daylight hours.

As for the rest... we have created a bucket list of things to do this summer. We will spend some lazy days at home exploring parks and going for hikes. My kids do stay up late and sleep in - which I love. Otherwise, we'll go berry picking, head to oaks park, take in a couple of movies, go out to the beach for a day or two, spend time with friends, and generally just play things by ear each day. I like the flexibility, and I am fortunate that I can be somewhat flexible with my work hours (I contract work from home), but I really don't know how the parents working regular hours out of the home do it. Camps are expensive!!!

I like it now, but expect that I'll be ready for school come August. ;-)

My husband and I both work full time, so summers aren't really much different in terms of the morning routine. My daughter is only 3 so she is in the same daycare year round. My son (9), however, is going to various camps most of the summer and he is in heaven. He is outdoors all day long doing active things and nature stuff then playing with his neighborhood friends in the evenings. No homework, no fights about spelling tests, etc. All of those things make our quality of life so much better even though our schedule is mostly the same.

That said, I totally agree that camps are super expensive. We defray some of the costs by my son spending a week with his grandparents and then my husband and I each take a (different) week off. Still, the cost for the remaining 8 weeks or so of summers is really high.

My husband works full time and I work part time so I've got our 5 year old daughter in a few week-long camps and then daycamp for the month of August (check out Isobel's Clubhouse DayCamp- relatively inexpensive daycamp)- paid for with our tax return.. When I'm not working, I'm home with her trying to think of new, interesting *cheap* things for us to do to pass the time. We've got the wish list of berry picking excursions and trips to see family to fill the in between spaces and we've been baking cookies, doing puzzles and going to our community garden.

fun free activity- www.kidsbowlfree.com

I would freak out in a good way if my almost 5 year old actually slept in after staying up later than usual. Regardless of what time he goes to bed, he is up at 6am every single day. Both boys are going to sleep later than usual, despite having blackout shades in the room, but still think 6am is a great time to wake up (after sleeping only 10 hours!). I look forward to the day when they can stay up late for fun stuff in the summer and actually sleep in and give us a break!!

Michelle, that's funny. My 7 year old girl is the same way. She could go to bed at 7pm, or 11pm, and is up at 7am. On weekends that is. On weekdays it's like pulling teeth to get her out of bed at 7 to get ready for school/camp. I am always jealous of people who talk about their kids running around all day and getting tired out and going to sleep early or on time, and sleeping late...my girl is so routine oriented that it's pretty much 9pm each night, even if she ran a marathon that day! She doesn't react to sugar, so there is no sugar crashing for her. I guess she is really lucky, and I am that she is so predictable with her sleep, but just for once it would be nice if she just crashed early one night and I could just watch a video or something, quietly by myself! It's nice to dream.

Summer, just another reason I've been a sahm for so many years. I can't imagine not giving my kids the gift of summer. Time stretches out as days go by with only our whims to move us along. This year, we are discovering the Little Free Libraries around town. Another year it was letterboxing. Meals still get served, chores still get done... but the rest is like a vacation in your own home.

Wow, I'm changing my mind. I am going to choose to be a sahm right now. Don't want to deprive my kid of summer and whims!

I thought of this post while drinking my coffee in silence this morning. Last night as my kids played outside until after 8p and after a quick shower noshed on a late picnic dinner of fresh fruit and sliced turkey. When they asked for a movie, I said sure! I sat brushing and braiding the girls' hair as the sun went down and realized - oops - it's 10p, and my 5 and 7 year olds are still up. Bed time for all. A good night's sleep and sleep-in until almost 9a, while mom enjoys a quiet morning drinking coffee.

Ahhhh summer.

But as a side note - anonny, I may have misread your post, but it sounded a bit rude to me. I am sure everyone here would love lazy hazy summer days, but the reality of today is that most people have to work. And, I applaud those moms doing it all - giving their kids all they can of summer while also working long hours to put a roof over their heads, shoes on their toes, and food in their bellies. You are not depriving your children of any "gift of summer."

And for full disclosure - in our house, dad works out of the home, while I work part time from home, contracting with different companies. I am very fortunate to be able to set my own hours and get work done after dark, when kids are otherwise occupied. I really don't know how we'd get through summer if I didn't have that flexibility. As it is, even with all the joys of summer, I am counting the days, literally, until my kids are in school again and I can work during the daylight hours they are there.

I work part time and my husband works full time. So my kids have to be up at 7am and out the door by 8 or 8:30 just like the rest of the year.

But in my mind, Portland summer is as much an attitude as an actual fact of nature. So, we try to get out and enjoy everything we can, and make it two months of vacation, even if we are all working/going to daycare/camp/whatever.

To that end, I tried to find camp/daycare options for my kids where they could be outside, out in nature every possible minute. Because that's my memory of summer (since my mom was a stay at home mom) -- riding my bike all day long, doing Girl Scout Camp camp outs, exploring all day in the woods behind our house, etc.

Of course I want to give my kids all that I had, even if the circumstances are slightly different. I don't think it matters if you work outside the home, from home, or not for pay at all.

It is important to remember that the gift of summer for some is only possible because others make different choices. The small business owner who cannot take the summer off and is there to serve that idealized ice cream cone, the working mother librarian who makes sure the library is a great and safe place, the working mother doctor who will be there to mend your child when they fall out of the tree. I support women making choices but just as working moms need to appreciate the time SAHMs put into volunteering in the classroom for example, SAHMs need to acknowledge their choice is only possible because of the efforts of lots of WOHMs that do countless things you take for granted...like design and assemble the very computer you are using to deride

@Z, once again...we agree!

Also (and I'll admit to being snarky right off the bat):

A) I'll be the first to admit loving working from home right now (though things will actually be busier than usual for me at work shortly)....but I never felt "cheated" back when I was a WOHM (with summers sometimes extra busy).

B) But if what the anonny says is really true, that summer is like an extended vacation in your own home....then why do all the SAHM's claim it's so difficult? Cause really, your kids are there, under your feet, yet it's easier than tossing them out every day at 8AM?

And yeah, I know there's more to it than that (I myself, as noted above, LOVE no homework battles). But still, wouldn't it presumably be harder for a SAHM?

Thank you all for being a bigger person than me in my above post. I had to sit and think of all the other things I deprive my kid of by being a working mom...after school play dates, being able to go to dance class at 3pm, going to the park before dinner on a weekday...and the big one...summer! Annual vacations to Hawaii or Disney, anyplace that does not include shlepping across the country to visit family, a dog because we don't have room and a fenced in yard (and I don't want a dog) and a sibling or 2. And a dad. Oh yeah can't forget that one. In my next post (not really) I will post all of the things I DON'T deprive my child of, most of which is attention, humor and love.

Is even the most innocent UM thread destined to become a battle? For what purpose? I understand Debby's point, but I understand anonny, too, and I don't see why anybody wants her to either to not express the happiness she's found or to not express it unless she also fully elaborates her sacrifices, her husband's sacrifices, or the sacrifices of women and feminists everywhere. That makes about as much sense as insisting that single-mothers-by-choice have to spell out every good thing about their choice before they are allowed to complain about any part of motherhood on UM - in other words, no sense at all.
I'll also point out that even in an imaginary world where no women with children worked- where every out-of-home job was occupied by a man or a woman without young children - ice cream cones and libraries and plaster casts at the emergency room would probably still exist.

Anon, I do agree with you, I get really tired of all the challenges, and I do think that Anony has the right to a wonderful summer with her kids. It's just that is so important that we just take a look at the language that we use so as not to exclude others. Obviously, there are a lot of things I wish I could give my daughter that would enhance our lives. When I read a post that makes me feel that not providing these things is deprivation, it pokes at me at all the raw places. We all want the best for our kids, and I don't think even one of us thinks we have 100% of what our kids wants/needs to be happy all the time (of course that wouldn't be ideal, either, in preparing them for seperation and the REAL world). We just don't want to be told by other moms that we are doing it wrong. So Annony, I hope you and your kids have a wonderful summer. I just hope my kid has one too, while at camp from 8:45-6.

I don't know why I even read the comments on urbanmamas anymore. Zumpie has offended me on many occasions, but now I know to just ignore her name when I see it. I agree that annony's comment came off as cruel and tactless, and I don't know how she could have written it without thinking of how it would make others feel. Thankfully, in real life, my Portland mama friends are a wonderful, supportive group of women that includes many that work full-time, several that work part-time, a few that left lucrative careers as lawyers and doctors to stay at home, and a single mom. I admire them all, and appreciate the honest talks we have with each other and the respect we all share. I can't imagine that some of the commenters here (not just this thread, just urbanmamas in general) communicate this way offline while still having friends.

@anon Okay well of you don't understand let me explain by responding to annony's post in kind.

I cannot imagine denying my child a real role model and decent life by becoming a domestic servant with no goals who makes no substantial contribution to society so that I can live the fantasy of a perpetual vacation at home. In summer I take my daughter to work and she sees accomplished women who are positvely changing her world and she doesn't believe that women's contributions could be easily replaced by just anyone but are as unique as each woman. I am so grateful that summer is a time for my kids to follow their interests and take camps that suit their needs and desires and not based in my ideas for them since I respect their individuality and do not live vicariously through them since I have a life of my own and don't need them to validate my existence.

Z, what you said previously is that stay at home moms can only make that choice because other moms have made the choice to work. I don't think that's true, unless that other working-for-a-paycheck mom is contributing financially to the SAHM's household.

What you said this time - that as a mom who works you are valuable role models to girls and that your children experience a different, more independent childhood - may be true. But you did it by answering your perception of anonny's rudeness - which may or may not have been intentional - with something very deliberate of your own. Which gets back to my point. Even the most innocent UM posts are now becoming a battle. When I started reading this site years ago, it was quite diverse, but people managed to express their variety of backgrounds and perspectives in mostly supportive and understanding ways. Not always. But most threads were a pleasure to read.

@disappointed: Gosh, I agree totally. So sad. Yrs. ago, after the birth of my first child, I *adored* checking out UrbanMamas: other moms! new ones and experienced ones! Tons of reviews, resources, childcare providers! Whee! When he got closer to school-age, here I was again: more reviews! more moms expressing ranges of opinions! Yay! I talked up this site and bookmarked it.

But now? As child #2 grows up and I come here again? YUCK. I now visit for entertainment/to see the range of vitriol. The resources and reviews are OLD. It's depressing, and a shame.

UM moderators: How are YOU feeling about all this? Even worth continuing??

Oh, forgot: and re: the OP: summertime is Summer Reading, staying up later than usual on Fridays and Saturdays, eating more "special" (ahem, read: frozen) foods, munching on veggies from the garden, free play outside, attending some camps (thank you, scholarships, wow, that's HUGE for us), finagling parents' work schedules to cover care for little ones, mosquitoes, fabulous block party, and, sometimes, when feasible, a few days off for both parents so there can be a trip to grandparents. This year, we're adding: sandbox play, preschool for the smallest one (so, more structure!), parents bicycling w/kids, and, potentially (HAH) getting around to the outside yard/house maintenance projects we didn't do last summer....

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