In this post, my tips on getting organized for the summer!
Happy June friends! Long time, no updates, but things are happy and busy here at Casa de la Stoner. Last month the school year ended for my adored little ones and now I’m adjusting to a season of working from home with kids staring at me for ideas on what to do. Every year this feels like a tremendous change, this year being no different. Finding a way to balance housework, child-rearing, child-entertainment, and working in the cannabis industry can definitely be a challenge.
For me, it means shifting my work schedule a lot. Most of you know that a lot of my content is produced while getting high (videos, podcasts) and so I have always refrained from doing that kind of work while the kids are home. Even photography can be a challenge to do with kids around because I’m often shooting bongs or stoner products, stuff I’m not keen on glorifying in front of kids.
Normally, I film or record audio when the kids are safely at school or under the care of their dad, but during the summers I have to plan big bulk filming and recording for when I don’t have kids in the house. Keep in mind I also have step-kids who are home on the weekends, so my only substantial chunk of time that is kid-free occurs on Sunday nights (no good for filming or photography) and Mondays. So for the summer, Monday is my filming day.
For the rest of the days of the week my focus is on being a mom, and like many of you, figuring out how best to entertain, teach, and keep house with kids around is at the top of my priority list towards the end of the school year.
I battle the unknown with a plan, always have, and so sitting down to write a schedule for the entire summer is something I’ve done for as long as I’ve been a mom. I’ve found that approaching mom days without structure is the easiest way for me to do nothing (and subsequently let them do nothing) and a sure ticket to mom-guilt and depression. So doing things like writing a loose routine and planning outings and activities for each week is essential for my mental well-being, while obviously benefiting the kids.
My method is always the same. Sit down with a computer, calendar and a notebook, and start planning out the weeks. Here’s how I do it:
Tips for Planning a Great Summer
1. Count the Weeks
I like to start by writing out the dates of each week of summer break and documenting every member of the families schedule on said weeks. Because I share custody of my daughters with their very present and active father, and because I have step-kids with their own schedules, our summers can be a three-month nonstop scheduling nightmare. Some of our weeks involve just myself and my girls. Other weeks I have all four kids in the home. I also have a husband with a flexible work schedule, so I like to plan his some activities around the fact that there will be two adults rather than just me flying solo. There’s even a week at the end of the summer when the girls are on holiday with their dad and I have literally zero kids to be responsible for. You know I’m going to take advantage of that week with copious amounts of stoner seshing and organizing!
So anyway, before I start planning, I write down where everyone in our family will be for each week. This summer I’ve got 11 weeks, that means 11 opportunities for outings, day trips, and activities for the kids. Some weeks you might plan two or three activities, other weeks just one. The point is, my first step to summer planning is figuring out how many weeks we have free (11) and then moving on to the next step, making a list of at least 11 activities we’d like to do before the summer ends.
2. Research Options and make an Activity List
This is when I have like 20 tabs open on my browser. Here in Denver there are a multitude of options for getting out of the house. I check all the local museums, zoos, city pools, water parks, amusement parks, skating rinks, ice skating rinks, movie release dates, camp and class programs, and park schedules. I also am sure to include activities that aren’t necessarily big “outings”, but that need to happen or are fun to do in the summer. Things like back-to-school shopping, hair appointments, trips to the local library, purging and donating clothes that no longer fit, garage sales, movie nights at home and playdates. If we want to do it in the summer, it goes on the list.
3. Organize the Calendar by starting with Set Dates
Add the big, “set-in-stone” dates to your calendar first. Vacations, flights, out-of-town guests, camp, holidays and birthdays, appointments, and any events that occur on a set date.
4. Add a Weekly Day/Days for Routine Chores, Housework, and Errands
This summer I’m using Tuesdays as my shopping, errand, and laundry day. That means the girls will go grocery shopping with me, help choose their own snacks for the weeks, help me plan our family dinners, and are expected to clean their rooms and put away their clean laundry at the end of the day. On these types of days I also expect them to entertain themselves for the most part. No matter what kind of chores the kids have, I always have more, and so I need a good day where I know I can focus on getting stuff done for the house without kids requiring entertainment or making a huge mess.
5. Round out your Weekly Schedule with Items from the Activity List
Now that the calendar is starting to fill up with essential dates, it’s time to add the fun stuff. Many summer outings take up a large chunk of the day and a ton of energy. With your calendar and your activity list, start rounding out the flow of the weeks by adding in the items on your list. Consider things like budget, weather, and energy levels, and know that these activities are somewhat flexible, meaning if it’s too hot for the zoo on one day, you can always switch it to another day in the week.
6. Create a Quiet, Summer-Specific Schedule for Mornings or Afternoons
If you work from home like I do, creating small rituals that happen every day can be a lifesaver when it comes to getting work done. Many kids have summer reading goals, workbooks, or skills that need to be practiced daily during the summer. By creating a daily morning or afternoon routine which includes quiet independent time for the kids to practice their skills, do their chores, or just watch a movie, you can schedule in your own important work hours. If it’s in the morning, you can plan to wrap up work stuff by lunchtime, and then have the afternoon free for fun family stuff. The afternoon before dinner but after activities is also a good time to enforce quiet independent time.
7. Consider adding Low or No Cost Activities to Round Out the Weekly Flow
Family movie night, weekly trips to the local park, daily dog walking, and visiting the local library regularly are all great options. This year I’m adding a weekly visit to Sonic so we can sample all of their famous summer drinks and milkshakes. Cheap, close to home, and helps to beat the heat!
8. Set Expectations with the Family
Summer can feel like a big game of Keeping up with the Joneses. A lot of kids go on elaborate and expensive vacations over the summer. Be clear with your kids about what you expect from them and what they can expect from you this summer. I very much want to take my children everywhere and do all the things, but I can’t afford that and it’s irresponsible for me to allow my children to think that I can.
9. Inventory summer necessities early and plan your budget accordingly.
Before summer begins, check bathing suits, water shoes, sunscreen, bug spray, bubbles, chalk, bike tires, helmet fit, pool toys and other gear that gets regular use in the summer. I usually do this when I am putting away heavy coats and snow gear for storage.
Some Plans from our 11 Weeks of Summer!
Here are screenshots of my summer schedule and checklist. Today we’re finishing up week 1. You’ll notice that weeks occurring later in the summer are less planned out. I’ll be adjusting our activities and plans as we get closer to the dates, as I like to know the weeks weather before I finalize plans. (I make checklists like this in the app Notion, a great note-taking application that I use for all of my writing, both personal and work related.)
Being a “Stoner Mom” in the summer
A big issue for stoner parents during the summer is figuring out consumption. I tend to be the type that will just refrain from smoking pot if kids are anywhere nearby, even if it would do us all better for me to use it. As I’ve mentioned many times before, taking your meds isn’t always a simple thing for the mentally ill, and so I often find myself glumly going through the motions of adulting without taking the time to properly take my meds, not a good thing.
Last summer I had a nice schedule where I would wake and bake for a good 15 minutes on the back deck before getting into the days tasks, but since I went off antidepressants and replaced them with CBD therapy, I’m finding a daily stoner session to be less important to me. I think that this summer my daily consumption will stay quite low, and that I’ll mostly save smoke sessions for discreet hits while cooking dinner, and night sessions after the kids are in bed.
Occasionally, I do need to medicate during the day. If I’m having any anxiety or depression, or if I’m about to embark on a particularly stressful activity with the kids, sometimes I really do need to force myself to make the time to medicate. Rather than taking a smoke break, I use micro-dosing with either edibles or concentrate-filled vapor cartridges. Both methods are incredibly discreet, odorless, and can be done without children being the wiser.
Micro-dosing takes advantage of the medicinal effects of cannabis and THC, without the psychoactive effects (I’m never “stoned” when using low doses of THC). One of my absolute favorite tips is to always have 5mg or 10mg THC breath mints on hand. I can pop these anywhere for fast and discreet relief. There are a few brands of these types of low dose mint edibles on the market in legal states. My favorites are Lucky Edibles mints because they’re delicious, effective, and my friend who works for them gets them to me for free haha. If you are lucky enough to be in a legal state, I definitely recommend finding some low dose edibles for an easy way to medicate without modeling smoking or similar in front of children.
I hope some of these tips are helpful for my fellow responsible cannabis-using parents out there! If this summer is going to be anything like life in general, it’s going to go by fast and before we know it we’ll be dropping off kids on the first day of a new school year. Good luck on your cannabis journey, this summer and beyond!