. Organizing for Heat, Chaos, and Drag
I have received several emails indicating various anticipated challenges because of the upcoming summer heat, the chaos from having children and/or teenagers around all the time, and the drag which seems to attend summer housework routines.
May I suggest three ways to overcome this heavy load? These are specific skills to change, improve, and adjust to make summertime just a bit more pleasant and endurable.
1) Have plenty of “easy” things to serve at meals. This means stocking up on meals which take little time and effort and then preparing dinner in the morning (when the house tends to be cooler and quieter). During hot, hot days have more meals that are “heat the meat” and put over taco chips, hamburger buns, or tater tots than those that are oven or stove-baked. There is no need to make the afternoon kitchen hotter than usual.
2) Have a certain part of each day which is “quiet” time. This siesta time, usually one or two full hours after lunch, is when each child is left to do his own thing alone (which usually means that you can do something alone, too). No friends, no interruptions, no movies, and no phone calls. You may read, draw, do a craft, or stare at the ceiling from the comfort of your bed, but the house is kept reasonably quiet! This provides a respite from the hectic infighting and traumatic interplay which is so much a part of living on top of each other (and which is aggravated by the heat and the long days, whether or not you have air conditioning).
When the one/two hours is done, back come the friends, away go the kids for a splash through the sprinklers, and out comes Mom to return to her homemaking duties. Everyone is refreshed and ready to finish out the day. Try it before you laugh. It really works!
3) I suggest that whatever grocery shopping or errands you may need to do, you do first thing in the morning, in addition to beginning your school supplies, school clothes, and school shoes shopping lists. The day is different then, less hot, more calm, and because you are “fresh” decision-making is easier, the kids are more tolerant of each other, and you will be back home and safe from the sun before it really gets too hot.
In a couple of weeks, it will be time to really settle down into summer routines, but for now prepare light, easy meals right after breakfast, set aside “quiet” time each afternoon for your family, and always, always run errands and grocery shop early. Your summer mood will improve and you will get through it nicer, easier, and with a happier family!
Find more helpful ideas in the House of Order Handbook.
Photo from sxc.hu. Used with permission of jmtorres.