Face summertime with a plan

Originally Appeared in : 9911-5/23/19

Summertime magic.


Summertime sadness.


Summertime blues.


No matter where you’re coming from, there’s an angle for summer. Are you excited? Are you nervous? Are you counting down the days with great anticipation or great dread? Probably a little bit of both.


My personal motto for summertime takes its inspiration from Lord Aragorn in “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.”


Me: I’m not quite ready for summertime.


Aragorn: Summertime is upon you whether you would have it or not.


So here we go, let’s get ready for summer.


In the spirit of being smart and wise, I did one of the smartest and wisest things I’ve discovered you can do as a mom: I asked some women who have already done this.
I reached out to my mom (who raised eight children and always seemed to keep her wits about her in the summer) along with a few of her good friends, women who were young mamas when I was a child and who now have lots of good fruit to show for their efforts.


The resounding, consistent and unwavering advice I got from all of the women was this: have a plan.


Have a plan.


I said it twice just so you could underline one and highlight the other.


Have a plan. And find a plan that works for you. Make it fit your goals as a family (prayer time, service, learning, lots of fun) and know that flexibility is an important part of the game.
Here are a few things these wise ladies said (women who in total have produced over 30 productive members of society)


“Have some kind of plan,” said Marie Almeter. Each morning Marie’s children would spend time in prayer and then do work. “The afternoon was for fun and fellowship, and we had an orderly house that way.”


“The planning is very important because if it’s not done in advance it becomes very difficult when they are all home,” said Rita O’Keefe. “Start off strong and committed because by the end of summer vacation the plan will inevitably weaken.”


She suggested regularly scheduled outings and some days just for fun. She also focused on prayer, chores, school work and fun.


“Have a plan that you can deviate from,” said Bev Firmin, “but have a plan.”


“Be thoughtful and have a plan,” said Martha Johnson. She also suggested book reading during the heat of the day, doing an outing with another family once a week, and finding a service for older children to commit to doing.


“One thing that kept me sane was a quiet-time nap,” said my mom, Karen Swenson. “From 1 to 3 p.m. everything was quiet. The other children could read in their beds, the babies took naps, and I laid on the couch and read. We did this throughout the summer and had plenty of energy for all the activities we planned in the afternoons.”


I love that each of these wise women had a focus on service with their children. Find someone in your neighborhood who needs help, or ask a family member. Teach your children young that spending time doing work without getting paid (not all day every day but a little on a regular basis) is an important part of life.


Summertime is certainly about having fun and relaxing and catching our breath after the whirlwind days of the school year. But if we aren’t careful, we can get swallowed alive by the lack of a plan. Doing nothing can lead to feelings of complete despair and maybe that you’re no longer in control.


Have a plan, and make it work for you. Pray. Work. Study. And Don’t worry.


When all else fails, remember that God is in control. If you find that you’re drowning and overwhelmed, take a step back and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. God loves your family so much, and he really wants what is best for you. I’m always amazed at how the Holy Spirit shows up in even the smallest areas of my life (calendar planning, etc.) when I remember to welcome him in.


Rachel Balducci is a wife and mother of six. She and her husband Paul are members of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Augusta, GA. Her latest book, Make My Life Simple, is available on Amazon.


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