Even though we’re on Summer Vacation, rules are still in play in my family. Although my 13-year old son spends his mornings working as a Counselor-In-Training at our town’s day camp, much of the rest of his days are being spent with his buddies. They’re hanging out here and at the friends’ houses, but a good portion of Junior’s Summer is being spent out…in the wilds of our town…away from me….his mommy (sob! sob!). For my sanity and his safety, as soon as school let out, he and I agreed to the following Summer Rules:
1. He must tell me where he’s going and check in with me periodically. No “walking the town” or hanging at the 7-Eleven. I should know his route, method of travel (on foot or bike), and destination.
2. He must have cellphone on him at all times; it must be On, charged, and he’s got to answer it. If I cannot reach him, with the understanding that I will not call him incessantly, I will search for him at his friends’ houses and his usual hangouts. I will bring with me his loud, annoying little sister (who lives to torment him) and baby pictures of him. I will also have my hair in curlers and, possibly, cold cream on my face. In other words, if I cannot find him, I will hunt him down and embarrass the crackers out of him, all in the name of safety and love.
3. He has to pay for his own entertainment. Last year, he expected me to be his bank account. Sure, I’ll give him some money, but the bulk of his excursions will be funded by him. Now, dear Reader, before you feel sorry for the boy, the kid made a good amount of money umpiring for our local Little League and pulled in more income than I, his freelancer Mother, made all year. He can afford to bankroll his Summer.
4. He is to determine and pack whatever he needs. Water bottles, sunscreen, a swimsuit, towels – these are for him to bring. I will not be reminding him or packing a backpack.
5. His friends are welcome to come over, but there must be an “ending time” to their visits. Last year, we had several kids who came in the morning and didn’t leave until well into the night, despite being told what time their parents should pick them up. I love his friends, but the shear number of those open-ended visits threw the family’s schedule off. Little sister couldn’t go to sleep while there was a party going on.
6. If Junior makes future plans, I must know about them in advance. Summertime is still, to some degree, family time and we’d like to see him, especially on the weekends.
Yes, the kid needs his independence and it’s normal that he wants to spend time with his pals. And, sure, hanging with Mommy and the 8-year old aren’t that much fun. But I also know that Junior is going off to college in a mere four years and that my time with him is precious and limited. So far, the rules above are allowing us both to have balance and are helping to make the Summer fantastic.
Do your children have Summer rules? What are they?
This is an original post for JerseyMomsBlog by Moms Crayon.