Like dental appointments and the DMV, the end of the school year is just another thing I tend to deny (for as long as possible). But school ends whether I like it or not, and whether I'm prepared for it or not. This year I vowed to be prepared _ to be that mother we all hate. The one who has her kids' entire summer preplanned, prepacked and prepaid for. Here's how you can be that mom too:
1. Beg: Talk to the other moms about their plans and then see if any of them have any interest in sharing the summer duties. Have five families interested in sharing? Great. Suggest that each parent takes the kids for one entire day while the other parent sleeps, works, goes shopping. This only works if they are stay-at-home parents or have really flexible job schedules. But it's cheap and safe and everyone can handle one day a week with five or so kids, right?
2. Budget: Someday someone will insist that all kids enjoy a great summer camp experience for free, but until that day comes, we all have to ante up the cash so that Johnny and Jane can paint flowerpots or learn tennis or make bracelets out of cereal. Sit down with your list of potential summer activities, your family and your bank balance and make some choices.
3. Steal: There isn't any need to reinvent the wheel on this one. Some other very enterprising and eager parents figured this out way ahead of you. So simply poach their ideas. Granted, you'll need to be polite and you may even need to beg for the information, but ask the most organized moms you know what they are doing and be sure to jot down names, numbers and websites while they talk. They'll be flattered and you'll be on your way to summer bliss.
Summer is coming and the kids will be home all day, every day. Some parents swear that this is a joyful time for them and look forward to the extra bonding. If you're one of them, I'm really looking for another mom to help out with summer kid sharing, you available?
Paula Sirois is a Florida-based writer who specializes in family life and frugal living for www.RetailMeNot.com, the No. 1 coupon site in the world.