I have always been under the impression that by early August, mothers everywhere were counting the days until school would begin.  I pictured women happily crossing the days off their calendar, looking forward to the peace and quiet that Labor Day would bring.

Before I had children, I remember my mother-in-law remarking that when her children were young, she was always sorry to see summer go – she loved the time with her boys.  But still, I assumed that my mother-in-law had a unique view and that most mothers were tapping their foot, synchronizing their watches and lacing up their running shoes to see who could sprint to the schoolyard first.

Now I am a mother, and I find that I too begin to feel wistful as August draws to a close.  I love the relaxed days and the lack of daily lunch making and homework.  I enjoy the absence of after-school activities and the break from in-school volunteering.  I love being with my kids.

Is it crazy in the house with them home?  You betcha!

Do they watch too much T.V.?  I admit it, they do.

Do I feel like a short order cook at times?  Oh, yes.

But, on the other hand, my kids have rediscovered the swings in our backyard and the toys in their bedrooms.  They’ve also figured out that not only does their frequent cry;  “I’m bored” have solutions but, they have the power to find those solutions, on their own.

I have begun to look at both sides of this coin with two goals in mind.  I want to savor the time that is left and take a look at why I am not looking forward to the school year.  What are the ways in which I am creating a hectic environment?

ACTION STEPS:  If you are like me  – sad to see summer go – squeeze every minute out of these last days with your kids and see if you can take some of the stress out of the school year too.

1.  Just say yes, when you can.  If your children ask you to stop what you are doing to play a game or watch them do a card trick, just say yes.

2.  Surprise the kids with a fun activity.  Can you stop everything and take them for ice cream this afternoon?  Or, take them to the movies?

3.  Take some time to look at your fall schedule.  Before you start signing everyone up for music, dance and sports, think about slowing down.  Maybe the kids can each do one less activity?  Would that create more time for all of you?

4.  Try to leave at least one weekend day free twice a month.  This will give you much needed breaks from the busy weeks.

5.  Don’t jump into volunteer commitments the first day of school.  There will still be plenty of things to do in October, November, December and on it goes…

6.  Tell your kids how much you enjoy spending time with them.  They enjoy spending time with you too.