Labor Day is here and I’d be lying if I said I’m happy. Every year I find myself wishing it away because its the only holiday that is all about endings. Its significance is totally overshadowed by the official end of the summer. The end of my children spending more time with me than away from home thanks to school and activities. The end of sleeping in because we can and staying up late to catch lightening bugs, to for evening bike rides, and sit on the porch to watch the stars take over the night. The end of soaking up the sun and having our days peppered with spontaneous visits with friends, full of less schedule than more.
On the flip side and brutally honest, the work at home Mom in me is relieved. Relieved to not feel guilty if I have to modify my schedule to accommodate a client meeting or more. Relieved not to have my children fighting when they don’t have anything else better to do. Relieved not to feel guilty spending a day doing chores, buying groceries, and paying bills all the while hearing my kids complain their way through.
Depending on the year, we start school about 10 days ahead of Labor Day. Our end of summer rituals take place that last weekend before the first day of school. By the time we get to Labor Day we are settled into our new routine and the fun of fall has begun to take root, including football, new activities, and reconnecting with school friends. The holiday weekend becomes more of a celebration than a weekend full of last times to do this or that. Here are my tips to help you celebrate Labor Day and say goodby to summer.
1. Host an outdoor family game night. Plan for an evening full of group games such as Capture the Flag and 50/50 Scatter. Invite your neighbors and fire up the chiminea or camp fire for S’mores and lots of chatting. Plan to play ~ our children and their neighborhood friends will tell you games played with grown ups vs. kids are the fondest memories they share of this annual tradition.
2. Plan an evening at the pool. Order pizza and swim until the pool closes. Your kids may be done with daytime swims but an evening swim with dinner and friends is always a treat. Invite school friends or focus on family and friends. Either way everyone is sure to enjoy socializing as much as the swim.
3. Play ball! Fall sports have arrived and there’s no better way to get excited for the season than to spend time playing (and watching) your favorite sport. In our home, we’ve just completed a Fantasy Football draft and watching the Redskins preseason games are a must do every chance we can catch the broadcast. We’ll be hosting a cookout and are sure to play baseball in the back yard, looking forward to the playoffs and World Series just around the corner. And finally, the U.S. Open will command our TV. It will be on every minute that our middle child can claim it and we will play tennis as a family every day this weekend to share in his excitement and enjoy our time together.
as he watches the pros.
4. Don’t ask for a do-over. At the end of every summer we have a family chat about what worked well and what did not. As a work at home mom, its always a juggle and this summer I got high marks for my kids that I was less stressed than before. I accomplished this by getting more sleep and working in the evenings instead of early mornings. The downside for Mom is I missed just hanging out with my sons watching TV or talking as much as I wanted to. That’s on my list to change for next year. Our kids all asked if next year we can go to the beach for an entire week. You’d think that would be automatic living in North Carolina but some years that’s easier said than done. We’ll open a special savings account and are blocking time now to make sure this happens.
With so much fun ahead I can’t help but focus on new opportunities to make memories and accept the change in seasons with my chin up and my game on. How will you celebrate this Labor Day weekend?
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