It’s that time of year – summer is here! Schools are out, the weather is amazing, and think of all the free time!
Summers are the best. Except for when they’re not.
The truth is, I love free time, vacation, and spending time with my kids. But I do not enjoy feeling like I’m failing in an area. Often if I’m focusing on my work, I feel like I’m failing with my family. If I’m spending time playing UNO and swimming, I feel like I’m failing at work.
What’s a busy mom to do?
Here are 5 tips that allow me to have fun, and still get my job done.
Tip #1: Find a gym (or something similar) with childcare.
Last summer we started a family membership to a gym near us that allowed childcare for 2 hours. You could get in a quick workout, and then head to the cafe and get some work done! (Or just spend the whole time at the cafe – no judgement here!)
This allowed me focused time to get some daily work done, and the kids had a blast. They got to play with other kids and even take sports classes during that time.
And, even though it’s kind of a pricey gym overall, it ended up being less than $5 per day. For 3 kids’ childcare for 2 hours per day, you can’t beat that price!
Tip #2: Put clocks in the kids’ rooms and set an “out of bed” time for the mornings.
Of course, every kid is different – so this tip would depend on their habits and tendencies. One of my children is an early riser. If he hears anything going on in the house, there MUST be something exciting to do! And he is UP.
I like to get up early in the morning, when the house is quiet and get work things done. However, that’s tricky if I have a side-kick right beside me.
I have found it helpful to put a clock in his room and tell him that he can’t come out until 7am. He’s free to get up and play with legos or quiet toys in his room. But he can’t come downstairs in the summer until 7am.
Boundaries are helpful. That way he knows the routine, and I know how much time I have. I can get up early and get things done before the day even starts.
Extra tip: If your kids aren’t old enough to tell time yet, you can get these handy clocks. They turn green at a time of your choosing.
You can explain to the child that they can get up once the clock is green.
Tip #3: Camps, obviously!
This tip isn’t very earth-shattering, but a well-timed camp during the summer can help with everyone’s sanity.
Plan for all the kids to go to camp 1 week. This can even be a day camp (think soccer camp, basketball camp, etc.)
But then, don’t just relax all week – though that may be tempting! Make a plan for what you are going to accomplish. Batch that work, write posts like crazy, see if you can get through a month or more of work in one week!
Tip #4: Nap time (or quiet time) for everyone.
Oh, I could sing songs about how much I love nap time! For the littles – this time is already pretty well carved out in the day.
However, all kids could do well to have a daily quiet time. Set an hour in the afternoon where everyone goes to their room, or a quiet place, and does something on their own.
My kids always sign up for the summer reading program at our local library, where they get prizes for how many pages they read. Quiet time is a great time for them to get those pages in!
Once the routine is established, and all kids know what’s expected, this can be a great hour for you to get some focus.
Tip #5: Give yourself some GRACE.
It may be that you need to lower the expectations of what you’ll accomplish during the summer. And that’s okay!
Paring down your to-do list, and enjoying another s’more over the summer campfire is just fine.
Maybe this means you only post 1 blog per week during the summer instead of 3. Perhaps you only post 3 times per week on social media instead of every day.
It’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up. Better for YOU to actively decide that you are going to pare down, than to set big goals and find yourself falling behind because of summer schedule.
The work will be there once school starts again!
These are 5 of the biggest things that have given me work sanity and success during those summer months. What would you add to the list?