For parents, summer is an endless stretch of days in which the children must be entertained. If you’re lucky enough to have a co-parent, you have help in this endeavour. If you’re single-parenting, either permanently or because your partner disappears for months at a time (Where, oh where has my sailor gone???) planning a summer filled with Kodak-quality memories falls on your shoulders.
Fear not, kind readers! I’m here to share the wisdom gleaned from years of sailor-free summers.
Here are my top three tips for enjoying a summer without your sailor/significant other:
1. Don’t save all the fun stuff for when your sailor returns. When we lived on the East Coast, my boy and I made umpteen visits to Peggy’s Cove. On the West Coast, we spent so much time at Undersea Gardens that the squid waved at us during the show. (Okay, maybe he wasn’t so much waving as flailing when the diver poked him, but it makes for a better story to assume it was a friendly gesture.) Not waiting on a sailor? It’s even more important to get out and do things now. Don’t let life pass you by because you’re waiting to lose those last ten pounds or meet that special person or get that dream job… Life is never going to be perfect, but it can be great fun.
2. Challenge yourself. Over the years, I’ve forced myself to do things I’d never before attempted without sailor-support. One summer our boy was disappointed because our family camping trip was cancelled due to a deployment…so I took him myself. We snagged a primo site right on the beach and between us we managed to get the tent up. Things were wonderful until the rain came…and came…and came. A kind stranger covered our drippy little tent with his tarp. Clearly this wasn’t a positive experience, but it was better than letting my boy watch me mope around all summer because I missed my sailor. Even a miserable camping trip is better than a summer in front of the TV.
3. Enjoy the simple things. If you can’t muster the energy to get away, you can still make the summer special. Children are exhausting, but (cool parenting secret!) the younger they are, the less it takes to impress them. One summer when my boy was really little, we did lots of backyard picnics with the dog. He loved it! (So did the dog and we want to keep our furry friends happy, too, right?) Another special treat–pajama parties! (Woo hoo! Let’s go crazy and get into our pajamas BEFORE dinner!) To really push the boat out, eat in front of the TV with a favourite movie playing. With slightly older children, an afternoon at the park or the beach can be a super duper treat. It doesn’t take much to make children feel special.