For me, summer means having stepkids at home (who otherwise live in a different state). Making the shift from a kid-free zone to full-on parenting with spatial adjustments is not necessarily easy, but we love the challenge, the revival, and the boisterous daily nudge that comes along with it. We're wondering if there are any other part-time parents out there, and would love to hear how you adjust. Read some of our tips below:
1. While it's much easier now than in past years because we have more space, my stepkids used to share a second bedroom that tripled as my office and laundry room (in our two bedroom apartment). Ouch! Not easy for anyone. We dealt with this by thinking of the several weeks as one big slumber party. While not every night is a party and there are still bedtime rules, reminding yourself how flexible kids can be might just make you feel more flexible, too.
With separate rooms for the two kids now, I prepare by cleaning up and personalizing the rooms so they don't feel like guests (when not here, their rooms are our frequently-used guest rooms).
2. Before they're arrival, I return to the mindset of establishing ground rules. Part-time kids should have chores, responsibilities and goals too. I gear myself up to make sure their visit doesn't feel like a "visit" but rather an extension of their other home.
3. We also try to get the kids into some sort of structured summer activities. Coming to a place where they have few friends means we need to find ways for them to be with other kids their age -- at least a bit. Some day camps are just a week or two long (art camps, jewelry design, digital video, sailing, etc.). Just because you may be a part-time parent doesn't mean you have to feel like you need to be the one entertaining 24/7.
We know there are many more ideas out there...Please share your experiences with us!