I love being a stay-at-home mom, but I honestly get nervous when the school year is nearing the end. I love the structure that the school year brings to our family. I get overwhelmed when I think about how the daily flow of summer is up to me. I’ve had summers that were a disaster, but they also keep getting better because I’ve learned from my mistakes. This will be my fourth summer as a stay-at-home mom and I feel more confident that I have an overall good plan to make the summer as successful as possible. Here are my lessons learned about summer with my kids:
1.) I feel really good in June and by the time August comes around, I’m just tired. I now plan a camp in August for my kids to go to so that we can both get some space from each other. This helps us get to the finish line.
2.) Last summer I let their activities take over my schedule. I gave up working out in order to give them the best possible summer. I didn’t realize the repercussions of that until it was too late. Therefore, this summer I scheduled my workouts into my calendar first and then scheduled their activities around them. I know this will give me more energy to be a mom for them. Last summer I felt tired and crabby because I wasn’t working out. It drove me crazy!
3.) During the summer, I want my kids to experience an educational camp that offers something different than what they do in school. There are so many wonderful camps to choose from, so I pick at least one educational camp that they can be excited about. My hope is that they eventually be able to learn what they are passionate about through trying many different things.
4.) I’ve learned that even though I am a good mom, I still need space. I plan for a babysitter to come over once a week for four hours so that I can run errands and catch my breath. I try to be as present as possible with my kids, so this allows for that to continue to happen.
5.) My kids love electronics, so my husband and I have to set clear rules around when they can play. During the school year, they can play on one school night and on weekends. I change that rule during the summer. First of all, they can not play electronics until they make their bed, complete their chores, and spend time reading. They still will not get to play every day of the week, but in the summer, they will earn iPad time instead of just automatically getting to do it. It will depend on what we need to work on or what needs to be cleaned. However, the rules will be clear to them on how to achieve their reward.
6.) Every summer we take a road trip in July. This gives me a mid-point to look forward to and it mentally breaks up the summer for me.
7.) I’ve learned that it is so much fun to tackle a field trip with friends. If you plan to go to the zoo, take a hike, or explore downtown, it is so much fun to find friends to go with you. I love when I have another mom to hang out with as we handle the ups and downs of the day with our kids.
8.) The beauty of summer is the lack of routine. Even though I love routine, I also have days where we have nothing planned. It’s a fine balance of having things planned, but also keeping your schedule open. It creates downtime for the kids, but also creates unexpected opportunities that come up with friends. I used to be so nervous about being home with them all summer that I’d over plan to make sure everything was scheduled. I’ve learned to know that everything will be okay if we all just relax once in a while.
Not every summer is perfect, but I love ending the summer with nuggets of information that I’ve learned. Good luck to all of you momma’s who will be home with your kids this summer. I hope you find a balance that works for you and your family!