What about August?

July quickly swam by, in the extreme heat of this month all planned for was likely a challenge to fulfill.  Now we have August quickly approaching us.  August represents a putting away and a start for me.

As we are still enjoying our summer attire, the stores are presenting us with Fall Fashions.  We look with great anticipation at those cool colors, and some are already opening their wallets for these purchases.  Hold On!  Pause….

It is almost August, and there is five months to enjoy before the new year.  August has 31 days, five Saturdays, and five Sundays.  What can this mean for you?

Not only is fall fashion a concern, most children start back to school, and it is a great month to get some extra fun in,  some extra life maintenance work done too.

To help the children focus on the new school year, we might consider our children’s changing needs.  Maybe their tastes have changed, maybe the décor of two years ago feels a little silly for them now.  Of course I am not a big advocate of spending money unnecessarily.   It is not necessary to buy new furniture unless you feel that there is.  A deep clean and a coat of paint may be enough, yet, teddy bear comforters may be old hat for the fourth grader.   There are a few things that can and possibly should be done on one of these August weekends.

Talk to the child about their room, how do they feel about their room.  Although children can be big dreamers about things they would like, if we can accommodate without great expense of time and money why not. Yet,  laying the criteria out there is essential, you do not want open ended negotiations with children.  By giving children authority, it sets unrealistic expectations for them of what and how the real world will respond to their wants and desires.  We want them to be happy and it is important to let them be part of the decision making process.  Also, it takes a work plan, it means this is not being done for them, it is being done with them.

With an limitless criteria, a child could end up with a black bedroom, flashing lights, and glowing electronic gadgets providing most of the light.  A black bedroom can put your child in a state of gloom and doom.  If the child is already in the state of gloom and doom feeding into this is not responsible parenting.  When my son had his windows covered with heavy black drapes, and his room black and dark, it was truly considered his cave.  It did not take long to see he was now in a deep depression.  Not easy to pull a teenager out of that.  It is important to remember whom owns the house and pays the bills and is the responsible party before law.  A parent still makes the rules or sets the guidelines for an offered activity.

I would say to one of my boys, which color do you like and if it were a light color, what would you choose?  Our preferences do not matter.  It is good to check out the psychology of color, like pale blue can put some in a blue sad mood.  There is what I call “institution blue” or green which in the 70’s and 80’s  was a common color used in some hospitals, prisons, schools, institutions, for the purpose of keeping people calm.  Of course if you have a manic child you may choose for them to put the color in their room, but by having silver accents and silver picture frames it can keep it optimistic.  A red throw pillow can keep it inspiring.  If painting a room is something you are considering, take said child to hardware store and have them pick out a strip that shows the color they like with a couple compatible colors on the strip so if you decide to buy a comforter and new curtains, using the strip as your guide may prove effective.

If your life is already overwhelmed and complicated, then I would not broach the subject with the children, I would just say, Saturday we are moving all the furniture to the middle of the room, and while your sheets and curtains are in the wash, we are going to wash your windows, woodwork, walls, and furniture.  Then, if possible we will rearrange your room, take out some pieces that are no longer age appropriate, and reassess what your needs are so we can keep our eyes open for some special deals out there.  This teaches children to take part in clean up efforts that the world is not going to do this for them.  A three year old can wash base boards. Cleaning together is a great opportunity to ask them how they feel about their new school year.  What are they looking forward to?  What are they worried about?  What are they excited about learning?  Is it Math and Science?  How about a trip to the Zoo?  Is it a teenager going to take a home ec and sewing class?  Do you have a machine you can pull out of the basement and let them practice on it?  Cleaning together is a great opportunity to find out what weighs their hearts down and what is going on in their young worlds.  Their lives are more serious than ours were.

August is a great time to find summer comforters on sale, a famous weekend with great sales is coming up.  There is no better décor than a clean one.  If the budget is already stressed because of school expenses, than the clean up and organization is a great start.  Never forget, a yard sale is a great way to clear out some household congestion, and attain a few dollars to help with some of these needs.  You can always mention to family members and friends what some needs are.  You would be surprised how family likes to pitch in and help for a true need.  They may have something you could use.  Once, friends of mine Rochelle and her Aunt, neither having children of their own, were very loving to my children.  They came over and took a look at the boys bedrooms.  I will never forget how they surprised my three young sons and I.  They purchased all this great top of the line character bedding, sheets, comforters, curtains, and new pillows.  Wow, this was such a boost to my boys and it was a boost for me too a single mom seeing my children be loved like that.  My friends were very thoughtful and generous.  When I looked at all we were throwing away I was so shocked at how drab and worn out it all was.  Life was so stressed and complicated, how did one of their needs go by me unnoticed.  I was so happy that they exercised such love and care.  The boys started the new school year beaming.

We still have five months to get in shape before the new year.  Why not start walking today?  Or doing bicep curls with four pound weights every other day with a few squats.  Any physical activity done regularly is beneficial.  I meet people all the time that are in shape, they do not dream about getting in shape.  They work out now, and it is part of their life.  I appreciate the good examples, keep it up!

Right now, I am not even going to expound on the Runners World magazine cover.  You look at it and you will see why I am very pleased.  I feel like going out and getting a copy.  I will be expounding on it this week.

Why shouldn’t you just run out and buy new fall clothes?  First, start going through the clothes you have.  Do they still fit you?  Are they the same fit as last year, tighter, looser, why would that matter?  If the clothes are tighter, start walking now so you can fit in them in eight weeks or so.  Then you can celebrate with a small addition to your wardrobe.  If your clothes are looser and you needed to lose those inches or pounds, then Good Job!  And only you know your budget.  As we do laundry we need to look at items as we fold them, how do they fit, what condition are they in, will they truly be suitable for next year?  Why mindlessly stick back in the drawers.  Repair, replace or just toss.  By setting a dept store bag in the laundry room it is easy to put a couple items in for local donations.

We also want to keep in mind our budget, there are always more expenses as the winter rolls in. Higher power bills and heating costs will be here quick.  We want to keep the room in our budget because as there is planned activities in the winter season, there is always the unexpected expenses.   Our heating system, if we did not get it serviced then if it should have a problem, do we have the money to get it fixed.  Our car, getting it serviced.  We may want to invest in those new tires we have been needing, Winter is hard on our cars.  Our home may need some winterizing.  Weather strips are not the only things to check, we may need new filters for our hv/ac system, we may need to caulk windows, etc.  Do a general checklist of household maintenance you want to achieve before the end of September.  Start looking for the wood for your fireplace, you may need it.

The budget is something to seriously consider, how did the last year affect you the beginning of this year?  Are there debts you are only now paying down?  Talk to family about the expectations, maybe the needs and wants are a little extreme when compared to the household financial demands.  Can some of these things be saved up for?  It is great to finish the year in better condition than when it started.

If we give in to every media manufactured need and want, then our children or mates can develop a materially generated greed that is unrealistic.  This can put stress on their relationships as they grow into adults.  Whom has the right to expect such things from another?  Love and happiness are free.  Time spent together is the most valuable of gifts.

August, August, how busy you are.  Thank you for the extra weekend that I can spend doing something productive with my loved ones.  August is not the end, it is still a byway which I can use to get a few things refreshed to make the next few months easier.  August, known for it’s heat and some consider it the end to a favored season.  I appreciate August as an opportunity to still enjoy summers heat, and enjoy times at local zoos and museums.