So I don’t know about you, but as a teacher, I am counting down my days until the summer. Sure, I love my job but I also love not having to set my alarm clock and not having to bring work home with me. Even with a job I enjoy, the summer off is enticing.
But, as with most things, once summer hits, it is not everything I dreamed it would be. Being stuck at home with my lovely children five days a week is not how I envisioned it. I somehow left out their arguing and their messes.
So as moms, how do we save our sanity during the summer? How do we stay patient with our children and all their energy for two months straight? Here are some things that have worked for me.
Develop a summer schedule or routine
I know one of the joys of summer is not having a routine and a set schedule, but I am a better person when I have a routine, and most of our children are too.
Begin by giving them a set bedtime. It can be later than during the school year and you may be more flexible, but not only will it still give you a few minutes of solitude in the evening, it will regulate their sleep schedule, which will regulate their moods and wake up time in the mornings. All of this will just keep things flowing smoothly.
But I also develop a schedule for the week. After they woke up, I gave them time to watch one show and eat breakfast and then we got busy with our schedule. We had a cleaning schedule where we cleaned one area of the house each day along with daily chores, like making their beds. We also had Bible study time where my son and I took turns reading through the book of Daniel and 1 Samuel (I tried to find books of the Bible I thought a boy would enjoy), and then we had our time outside.
I live in South Georgia so our time outside had to come before lunch or it would be unbearable. Going outside before lunch was great because we would stay outside until they grew tired, then we would come inside for lunch.
Everything on our schedule was usually finished by lunch or little after, which made our afternoons more flexible. But of course, if we decided to spend the day at the beach or go on a day trip, then we picked right back up where we left off and never missed a beat.
But the children knew what to expect each day and they were better behaved because of it.
Make sure you build in time for yourself
Within your daily routine, whether you are at home with the kids all day, everyday or you continue to work through the summer, you need to schedule some time for yourself. For me, this happened in two places.
I only need about 6 hours of sleep every night and if I get more than that, then I wake up at odd hours of the night – like writing my grocery list at 2:00 in the morning. So I have my husband wake me up around 6 every morning (with a hot cup of coffee in his hand – so much better than an alarm clock). That keeps me on a sufficient sleep schedule and also gives me about an hour every morning to spend in my quiet time, which is ironically a lot harder to work in during the summer.
But I also need time to work on my writing during the summer. I can’t sit and work with the kids around. The second I get the computer out, then my children need 100 different things from me. So I have built work time into our routine.
After lunch, I send my children in different areas. My youngest naps (AKA watches Netflix until she hopefully falls asleep) and my oldest reads 30 minutes and then has some time on his gaming system.
I can usually get close to two hours of writing time, which is one of my favorite times of the day.
It’s also nice to have a couple of hours of quiet in the house. Everyone feels better before we hit the afternoon fun where daddy comes home and who knows what we will get into then.
I love to begin each summer morning with coffee and Jesus. It helps me focus my heart on Him, instead of the day to day struggles of my family. (It helps me navigate tough situations and manage messy moments with a lot more grace!)
To help moms THRIVE this summer, take our FREE Summer Prayer Challenge for encouraging devotions, prayer prompts, and music playlists delivered right to your inbox!
I know I have just talked about building a routine and while it’s important, the summer is a time to let loose a little.
During the school year, most of our days are planned from the alarm clock in the morning to bedtime at night, and that includes weekends. So you do need a relaxed routine, something that keeps the normalcy of the day but allows for extra freedom too.
But it’s not just that. When I am home with my kids during the summer, guilty mom syndrome is always looming. Have my kids watched too much TV today? Have they been on the tablet too long? I haven’t done a super fun Pinterest craft with them…
We have come under the assumption that when we have our kids home during the summer that every day needs to look like summer camp. Well, first of all, I can’t afford that and second of all, children can learn to entertain themselves.
Stop comparing yourself to the made-for-Pinterest moms that makes everything look fun and easy. It’s okay if your kids watch a little more television today. It won’t kill them. It’s okay if your child didn’t read 10 books this summer. She will still do fine in school. It’s okay not to be acting camp counselor during the summer. They can entertain themselves.
Just relax. Cut yourself some slack. Let yourself be human and your kids be kids.
I know the summer can sometimes be just as stressful as the rest of the year, but for different reasons. Try these tips or do what works best for you, but don’t drive yourself crazy during the summer. Take care of your children and your family. Do your job, but take care of yourself too.
You can’t play your best game from the disabled list. Stay healthy and sane and set that example for your children as well.