In a long distance blended family our summer breaks with the kids are sooo important. It’s the only extended amount of time that you get to spend together as a family. I know, if you’re like me, that we all want the time with our stepkids to be fun and exciting! We want to make up for all the time we’ve been missing with them. We want to smother them with love and affection. Hugs for days. Most importantly we want to make memories to hold onto forever. We want to carry them to every cool event, and every new movie, and the new splash pad, and take them on the boat, and so-and-so is having a BBQ, and the new paint class, and and and… I think you get the point.
This is me.
Every summer break.
Planning our weekends away to the point, where I not only stress myself out, I stress Dan and the kids out too.
My Number One Tip for Summers with your Stepkids :
Stepmama, do not over plan.
Don’t let your summer get taken over by your never ending to-do list. Even if the events are fun, constantly being on the go is exhausting. We all know you mean well, but nothing good is going to come from dragging the family all over the place and wearing them out with your forced family fun memories. Trust me. This is so me. I always want to make sure we have time to do every fun thing I can find so the kids enjoy coming here for the summer. But newsflash stepmama! They don’t get excited to come visit so that they can be on the go all summer. They get excited to come visit to see you and their Dad! They want family time. Do you ever wonder why sometimes these big events you have planned end up not being as fun as you imagined?
Last summer we had been going, going, going, and everyone was worn out. But there was a Disney night at the local minor league baseball stadium! I just knew the kids would LOVE it! So I drug them out to yet another event. (I mean, they had never been to a “real” baseball game, and there were going to be Disney characters there!) My friend had gotten us special seats, we loaded up on soda and popcorn, and I was so excited for everyone to experience this together. However, it was so anticlimactic. No-one was having fun. Everyone was wore out. You could just tell that everyone wanted to go home. Honestly, myself included. I had wasted half a day and a little chunk of money, we didn’t necessarily have, to spend in order to make some memories that, I promise you, would have been more special from home on the couch. My intentions were pure, but I wasn’t paying attention to what my family needed.
So don’t feel bad if you don’t make it to the newest Disney movie in theatres or the opening of the new splash pad. Just make sure to fit in the most important adventures, but leave some free time to relax as a family!
Stepmama, just be there.
Leave some free time to just soak in the togetherness.
This is what they’ve been missing.
This is what you’ve been missing.
Everyone needs a good long weekend to just get in some quality family time without the added stress of being on the go.
Just soak up each others presence by lying on the couch or playing catch outside. Don’t make it stressful. Just let it flow and good things will come from it. I promise you. Some of my favorite memories are makeshift talent shows in the living room, tickle fights in the bed, or turning the playroom into a pretend Diner. These memories can’t happen if you’re never home. So stay in your jammies all weekend, make some rainbow pancakes, build a couch fort, and watch Drake && Josh all weekend long! (Side note : Noah and Farrah actually LOVE Drake && Josh! Which is great for me, because it is just as funny as I remember and I don’t mind it being on repeat!) This is when you get really close to each other; not when you’re riding go-carts at the fair or eating at Chuck-E-Cheese, but when you’re at home playing Barbies or Navy Seals on the living room floor in your jammies.
Stepmama, let your babes lead the way.
Let them lead. I know you have so many good ideas planned! So many cool things you just know the kids would love to do! And I don’t want to burst your bubble stepmama, but there may be other things they would rather do. You may think they would just love to see this dinosaur exhibit, but maybe they would rather go check out the new ice cream shoppe. Let them choose. I know it’s hard to loosen on the reigns, but they will enjoy it more if they feel like they had a part in the decision making. And if they enjoy it more, you will too.
Honestly, I would always try to plan these little adventures (that turned out to always be more expensive and stressful than I bargained for. ugh.) However, in the end the one activity they kept talking about all summer was the time we went swimming in a local little creek! They kept asking when we were going back! (plus side – hello, it was free!) We have some amazing memories from going swimming down there. The fresh water was always freezing but crystal clear, and there’s a rope swing! It means a lot to me that the kids enjoyed this place so much, because this little spot is somewhere my parents took me and my sisters when we were younger. Sometimes it’s the simple things that end up meaning the most, and we can’t forget to incorporate simple things, like swimming in a creek, for our little ones to be able to enjoy.
So there you go stepmama, a little bit of my insight on how to have a more successful summer with your babies. The main thing is, just don’t stress it too much. (I know, I know, easier said than done.) But believe me, if you can just let go and let it be, you will have a much happier and successful summer enjoying your time with those kids. I know that as stepmoms we have a tendency to try and go above and beyond, and simply, sometimes we just try way too hard. This is one of our biggest mistakes. We are too caught up in our own heads, and are trying too hard to make everything extra special in order to make up for time we missed. So don’t get in your own way of a happy and memorable summer this year. Let yourself relax, let your family relax, and enjoy some chill time this summer. Maybe find your own little creek to explore, and make some amazing memories!
Love your family, love yourself, and live your happiest life.
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