Summer break, is that you? As mothers, we busy ourselves with preparing the family for a fun summer, but we often leave ourselves out. We make sure the family vacation is planned, the summer camp schedule is put in place, and all the summer bucket list activities are ready to be checked off. Yes, summer screams fun, but those warm months of sunshine and joy don’t just happen, we make them happen. Don’t get me wrong, I am probably looking forward to the break just as much, if not more than the children. There is something about slower mornings, and the option for a more relaxed schedule, if we choose, that just brings me joy.
I, however, cannot ignore the fact that during the summer months the many hats I wear as a mother feels amplified. That is why I take the time out to make sure I am setting myself up for a successful stress-free break. Here are a few things I do throughout the season to ensure I won’t lose my sh*t… I mean, to ensure we all have a fun summer break.
Meditate and hydrate. I am going into every situation with this summer mantra repeating in the back of my head, including mothering while on break. Motherhood is like a workout for your mind, body, and soul. The best thing you can do for yourself is to stay hydrated and breathe! No, seriously there are so many benefits to meditating. Making time for meaningful concentration can help with stress, anxiety, and depression which in return will leave you feeling renewed and ready for whatever those long summer days throw your way. I personally include meditation in my morning routine but don’t hesitate to get it in whenever you can or need to. You can even have the kids join you for a nice calming moment together.
Create pockets of joy. It is easy to say take a break. Go out with friends. Get away. But in reality, that isn’t always an option. I cannot exactly plan my mommy meltdown around the availability of a sitter. That is when creating pockets of joy for yourself throughout the day comes into play. Pockets of joy are little moments of happiness that come from the small things in life. For example, being able to shower uninterrupted or enjoying a cup of coffee while it is actually still warm. Oh, and my favorite: eating your favorite snack all by yourself without having to share! Dream big kids… it can be done. All of these small things that may not seem like a big deal can make a huge difference in your mood throughout the day.
Schedule time for yourself. While I may not be able to schedule my mommy meltdowns, I can be proactive and schedule some alone time. Keeping a schedule has always been key to staying organized in my motherhood. Raising three children who attend three different schools with three different schedules can get chaotic quickly. While scheduling your family’s activities and appointments, don’t hesitate to pencil in some alone time for yourself. This is a great way to have everyone on the same page. The family knows exactly when you will not be available so they can plan accordingly. If your children are anything like mine, they sometimes forget there is a whole other parent in the household. A parent who is quite capable of figuring out meals, helping with assignments, and getting juice. Seeing mom is off duty reminds them to redirect that energy in dad’s direction. It also helps to keep my husband and me on the same page so he knows what he needs to do I can actually enjoy my time alone. Scheduling time alone doesn’t have to necessarily have its own spot on the family calendar. It can simply be a gentle reminder to take a moment for yourself throughout the day. Leave the laundry for later, and use nap time as an opportunity to do something for yourself.
Get out of the house. Now, this one right here is what really resets and recharges my battery: getting away. No, not a getaway, even though if the option presents itself, go for that, too. But I mean remove yourself from the home without your little broke bestie by your side. Yes, I said it. I know it is not an easy task. I know it may take planning, but I’m telling you there is nothing like physically getting up and getting away. What’s the saying? Distance makes the heart grow fonder. There is nothing like getting out for the day or night and then coming home refreshed to your beautiful children. You will have a renewed appreciation for their sticky hugs and millions of questions. You can plan a date night with your significant other. You can go to brunch with your girls. Or you can even take yourself out for a quiet lunch alone. The options are endless. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing when you are not with your children, I suggest you plan to do it at least once a month. If you can do it weekly or even biweekly, all the better.
Get together with your mom friends, kids included. If you follow me on Instagram at @thatdopemom then you know I actually enjoy exploring the city with my children. They’re pretty dope kids. Sometimes I want to hang out with my children, but I also want adult interaction. Moments like these are the perfect opportunities to get together with your mom friends. They are down to do the kid-friendly activities you’re interested in for the day. They know how to keep the conversation flowing even when the littles are doing cartwheels screaming, “Mommy, look at this!” and you don’t have to feel guilty for having your tiny squad tag along because they have one of their own.
So, before we are knee-deep in summer chaos, look in the mirror and repeat after me: “Mama gotta have a life, too.” All jokes aside I know for a lot of mothers, mom guilt is real. Putting yourself first seems selfish and can be really hard to do. Yes, we all know our children are only little for a short period of time. Yes, we should enjoy these moments and make memories, but remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup. Not only do your children deserve a happy, healthy mom, but you deserve to be happy and healthy. Take the break.
What do you do to keep yourself sane during the summer months?