Your Guide to a Great Summer: How to approach summer break like a boss
May is the season of total MAYhem for working moms of school-aged children everywhere—graduations, weddings, teacher thank you gifts, recitals, sports, and all the spirit-days and chauffeuring in between—all with the pressure to make this summer one to remember looming in the not-so-distant background.
Now that May is behind us, and June is underway use these tried-and-true tips to start your summer off right—ready to soak up the sun.
- Start with a brain dump of all your non-negotiables for the summer—this includes appointments, working hours, already planned vacations, and practices.
- Once you’ve created a skeleton outline on your calendar, you can backwards plan what your daily rhythms will look like and where you’ll need to call in some reinforcements.
- You may not know what your babysitter’s schedule will look like yet, but you will be able to determine how many hours you’ll need them for and in what capacity.
- Be sure that you leave DAILY white space on your calendar to give yourself (and your family) the capacity to say YES (or no) to unexpected summer fun.
- Once you’ve filled in the calendar and determined a rough outline for days of the week, it’s time to seek the input of your family.
- What are they most excited about this summer? How would they like their days to look?
- After you’ve heard their summer bucket list, do your best to honor their requests (within reason) and schedule them on the calendar.
- Your kids likely aren’t going to request a daily quiet time –but if you’ve already determined it necessary for you to H.A.G.S.— they’ll be more likely to respect that boundary if you can demonstrate making room for their wishes (like weekly visits to the pool).
Systems and Processes.
You’re already a powerhouse at the office, but rarely do we bring that same kind of intentionality into our homes (because we’ve left it all on the field, or because we’re too busy with the day-to-day). Get ahead of your summer before it gets the best of you by determining what worked (and didn’t work) last year.
- If it’s not broken, don’t overthink it. If it worked last year, keep the same system and process in place.
- Maybe you got tired of constantly washing water cups and you gave everyone in the household a water bottle and a designated place for it to ‘live’ on the counter, but you didn’t figure it out until the end of August.
- Thank your burnt-out self for coming with a solution and start it up again the day school gets out.
- Maybe you had some seriously broken systems (because there was no system) and by the end of week one your kids were glued to devices instead of running through the sprinkler.
- Brain-dump the daily frustrations and battles of last summer and what you can already anticipate being a source of stress this year.
- Then, with a fresh (un-summered) mind look at how you can solve the problem(s) through systems and processes.
- Don’t pick more than 5 problems to “fix” or your summer will quickly turn into you playing camp counselor in addition to all your other roles.
Take it Easy.
Determine, in advance, what you simply don’t have the margin for. Maybe it’s overthinking your summer wardrobe, maybe its grocery shopping, maybe it’s meal planning.
Whatever it is you don’t have margin for, identify it, decide once what your work around will be, and then take it easy.
- Summer wardrobe frustrations? Determine the outfit formula you love and purchase the necessary amount of pieces to no longer over think this aspect of your life.
- Grocery shopping or house-keeping that takes you away from lazy evenings at the neighborhood pool? Hire it out.
- Tapped out on meal planning? Go to your family’s beloved recipes, drop the necessity for sides, and repeat as often as needed. Add in an evening for planned take-out or breakfast for dinner.
The key? Once you’ve made your decision, stick to it, and let the expectations surrounding it go.
Don’t fall victim to the imposed mom-guilt when the circulating retort, “You only have them for 18 summers” reaches you—instead have a plan to give yourself (and your family) a summer to look forward to. It’s only a season, and one that will shift and look different each year.