Guest Post: Binge Week by Christina Markham

As the school year approaches (so quickly), we become more and more aware of the total change about to engulf us.  We have been living the last 8 weeks in a selfish and fun world.  La-la land has nothing on this family.  Over the summer, we stay up late, watch movies, play video games, and do all the things we don’t have time or don’t allow during the school year.  We also eat at the wrong time and wake up at the wrong time – it’s like self-inflicted jet lag, only happy.   I am fortunate that I can set my work schedule, and choose to work significantly less so that I can enjoy summer with my kids.

When I was a kid, our summer vacations were spent playing hide and seek on the block until 11pm, sleeping in, watching some tv, going to museums, science centres, zoos and water parks, and just plain old relaxing.  There was no pressure.  We didn’t have too many organized activities and I am grateful for that.  Good quality family time.  I think there are enough demands through the school year, that some down time over the summer is healthy.

With our own school schedule particularly swamped, I try to do the same with my kids.   Anything goes. We didn’t totally dumb it down, we did nature walks, bike rides, exploring and being tourists in our own city.  We always go to a few attractions that are new to us.  (This is especially fun because I am teaching them something new, and they are none the wiser!!!)  We visited libraries, pioneer village, zoos and similar attractions.  But all in the name of fun, and on our schedule.  We usually start out with a bang.  We have a (huge) list of things we want to do, all good intentions, but we somehow lose steam as our relaxing mode kicks in.

This brings us to the last week of summer, or binge week.  This is the week where we (the kids and I) go with our guts and do all the things leftover from our vacation list.  It is their week to really say goodbye to summer and come to grips with the upcoming school year.  Although they are excited to return to school, meet new teachers and reconnect with friends, they are not quite ready to bid farewell to the lazy days of summer.

This has become more or less a lazy type of tradition, but nonetheless, our tradition.  The only way to move on from something is to give closure.  This is our closure.

Binge week events:  Family movie nights with homemade popcorn, watermelon on the back porch (with coffee for me!!), days spent in our pyjamas, visits to local pools and playgrounds, long walks or bike rides, more coffee, very little cleaning, minimal cooking.  Some may say it’s a good time to re-create the school year routine, and to that I say HA!  It’s no fun going to bed early, and rising early.  We have 10 months ahead to do that.  We make sure the last week of summer is our most memorable.  My husband often works less over summer, but especially this week for that super quality time with family.

We are a family of many rules (maybe too many) during the school year, but summer is sacred.  Keep it fun.