At the beginning of the summer, I wrote about the unique opportunity I had to spend much of my summer home with the kids. I regaled you with tails of what we’d accomplish, goals I had set, and adventures we’d take.
Well, reality proved that my sights might have been set too high and time does in fact change when kids are involved.
Let’s Get the Failures Out of the Way
Turns out my academic goals may have been too lofty. Neither of my kids was anywhere close to the 100-book goal I had set for them. Nor did we spend much time on math.
We also didn’t get in much hiking. During my first attempt to take them on a nature hike, a swarm of mosquitoes descended on us. The following week was filled with itchy complaints putting an end to any future nature hikes.
Despite my lack of focus on keeping their academic skills up to par over the summer, we did have some successes. First, my youngest did make significant progress on being able to tell time on an analog clock. In the past couple of weeks, he’s also read chapters from a chapter book for the first time.
My oldest has mastered 6 of the times tables, we are currently working on the 4 times tables. He has also become proficient at tying his shoes. Which may not sound like something to celebrate, but if time speeds up when you have kids, it slows down when they are tying their shoes.
We also spent a great deal of time on outdoor activities. Mostly going to local playgrounds and the community pool. (One of the pool trips was cut short when one of the other kids pooped in the pool.)
I wasn’t sure what to expect as a quasi-stay at home parent. Prior to experiencing it this summer, I had certain assumptions about stay at home parents.
The general narrative that would run through my head whenever I met a stay at home parent was: “That is amazing, your kids are so lucky! But how do you do it? Don’t you go crazy with all that time with your kids?”
I never thought I’d enjoy the stay at home parent lifestyle, but I was wrong. Turns out I loved it. Which in many ways was an affirmation of my pursuit of Financial Independence.
My time with my kids has been a completely different experience than what I’m accustomed to. I’ve previously written about how I feel I’m often the ringleader of a circus, attempting to usher my kids through their daily routine.
However, this summer that all changed. With no specific routine to follow, we leisurely strolled through our day. Instead of tensely commanding them to “hurry up and get your clothes on, we are late for school!” I casually informed them, “When you get your clothes on, we can head to the playground.”
All of our interactions were more relaxed and that lead to a whole new level of appreciation and enjoyment of my kids. I hope to find a way to bring that low-key parenting persona into the school year.
I was lucky to have the best of both worlds. I worked 2-3 days each week, so I got plenty of adult interaction. As an introvert, I don’t require a lot of interactions with others. However, I always imagined the hardest part of being a stay at home parent, is having your kids be your primary social outlet.
Not to get too granular with my work schedule, but throughout the summer, I worked every Monday and Friday and every other Wednesday. On the weeks where I was home three consecutive days with my boys, I was definitely ready to return to work on Friday.
This is a valuable discovery and will help me better shape the Financial Independence that I seek.
The Draw Back
The biggest casualty of my summer at home status was this blog. I thought I’d have all this extra time to work on the blog, but it didn’t quite work out that way. I tweeted earlier this summer that my kids are extremely well behaved as long as they have 100% of my attention 100% of the time.
When I did try to get some writing done on the blog, I found myself being constantly interrupted. This put a damper on the creative process and made it hard to find any kind of rhythm as a writer.
Additionally, the mental reserves that I used for this blog were now being spent on my kids. I didn’t realize how much of my mental energy my kids took up until I spent all day every day with them.
With school starting next week, my Summer At Home Dad experiment will come to an end. Despite not accomplishing every goal I’d set for us this summer, I consider it a massive success.
Hopefully, I will be able to get back into the blogging flow and dedicate more time and energy to this site.
I’d love to hear about your summer! Did the summer live up to your expectations? Did you meet all the goals you’d set for yourself?