Summer is upon us. After a winter that threatened to never end, the days are long, the weather is warm, and the pool is open.

If your family calendar looks anything like ours, it’s downright scary. We’re only four days into June and I’m already daunted. I could spend my entire day in the car shuttling kids around. I literally haven’t had time to go to the grocery store — but don’t worry, kids. I’ve got 45 minutes carved out tomorrow. If I could only find the desire to meal plan. Not. My. Thing. this week.

So how can we not only survive, but thrive this summer?
It’s something I’m really praying about, because if this is what the summer is going to look like, let me off this merry-go-round now. I don’t have all the answers, but here are a few ideas. I can’t wait to hear yours, too.

1. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do.
We’re in the middle of a home renovation project with another on its heels. While I have to recognize that this chaos is part of the process, I can’t wait until I get some things back out of my bedroom and in the bathroom where they belong. That’s how my days feel as well. Right now my girls are on opposite gymnastics schedules. One goes in the morning, the other in the afternoon. It means the next two months, I’ll make double trips to the gym, but in the fall they can go the same days. What is chaos today won’t be in a couple months.

2. Carefully look at your calendar and make choices.
Yes, the woman who just talked about going to the gym four times a day is making choices. Sometimes I don’t even believe it. The choice is that our girls are doing the same sport. In the long run, it will make life less chaotic. Another choice is that the little two are taking swim lessons. That means the first two weeks of June have one extra appointment a day. But long term it means that I can know my kids will be more comfortable and confident in the water — very important since we tend to spend a lot of our free time at our community pool. It also means I endured the little guy crying throughout the first lesson yesterday because he was tired and didn’t want to cooperate, so that he could be all smiles and have fun today.

2. Involve your kids in the process.
The older they are, the more they get to make choices about their summer goals and activities. So my oldest will likely take an online art class and possibly do a book club with a few girlfriends. My ten year-old — well, we’re still trying to figure out what his summer will involve beyond swimming and clash of clans. So we went to Barnes & Noble and picked up a couple books so that he’ll engage his brain. We also keep up with English and math over the summer. I try to exercise realism, but it’s important to keep some structure as we speed through summer.

Summer can be a crazy time. It can run away from us if we let it. I hope these tips keep your summer (and mine!) a little less stressful!

What would you add to these tips?