“You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are then, that you’ll be in a Slump. And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.” A few days ago Kate asked me to read Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. Un-slumping resonated with me because we’ve been in a bit of a slump this week.
Monday I had a long-but-productive day at the office and was happily looking forward to the next few days of spending time with my kids and doing all the summertime things. Instead we have been cooped up at home while every afternoon has featured not a soft, occasional rain, but a torrential downpour.
Thankfully my mom came to the rescue and had Jackson and Kate take turns sleeping over at her house. But those of us left behind quickly became in a slump. Summer is supposed to be full of sunshine with the occasional brief shower (emphasis on very brief). I love the sound of rain, but after a few days of being cooped up inside all of us were becoming a little crazy.
“Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.” I still remember when Jackson and Kate were very small and we lived in a tiny house (less than 1100 square feet). Long days of rain and begin stuck inside resulted in everyone being cranky. I would desperately try to think of fun things for them to do. Often I ended up grumpy and snappish. I’ve only been a mom for seven years, but here are a few things I’ve learned to do when we are in a slump:
Play hide and seek. This can go on for a long time as the kids take turns seeking. I play it with them and they love trying to find me.
Have an impromptu family dance party. The kids were still so full of energy one night that immediately after dinner I played the Trolls soundtrack and they danced in the kitchen while I cleaned up dinner. It was loud, but it helped them burn energy and was fun.
Play in the rain. Again: good for burning energy. Thanks to my husband, I’ve learned to roll with life a little more. One afternoon we were outside when it began pouring. I told them to go play and the kids were thrilled. They ran around splashing and screaming. The slide on their playfort became a water slide and I loved seeing how excited they were as they slid down time after time. When we finished playing, the wet clothes were thrown in the wash and they were all tired and ready to sit quietly and watch Trolls (for the hundredth time).
Go to the library and read magazines and books. Just getting out of the house feels like a relief. We love visiting our local library and I was surprised when my kids were able to sit and quietly look at books for a few minutes. They are growing and sometimes I forget that we are shifting into a different stage. They are not all babies and toddlers. Kate even enjoyed American Girl magazine.
Coloring and painting. I am not a super creative arts and crafts girl. But allowing them to sit at the kitchen table and color and paint to their hearts content makes them happy and I love seeing their creativity.
Happy music helps. Enjoying some happy, fun music improves the overall mood of the house. Find your jam and “turn it up – a lot!”
Cookies help too. We have made great strides in having a healthier diet. But sometimes you need to bake cookies and enjoy a little treat.
When all else fails, let them make a huge mess. I am a recovering control freak but I still don’t like having toys strewn all over the house. So I let the kids make a mess but limit it to a couple rooms. A few days ago I told them to keep the toys in the playroom and bedroom. The floor was piled high with All The Stuff since it is apparently fun to dump all your toys on the floor and then play with only one or two of them. But at least they were busy having fun and the mess wasn’t everywhere.
Next week the weather will improve and we will enjoy our regular summertime activities. But, for now, I am thankful for the lessons learned as we have become un-slumped.
What do you do when your family is in a slump? I’d love to hear your ideas!