One thing I look forward to all school year is summer. But five minutes into it, I’m ready for school to start back. I long for the structure and honestly – my sanity. Something about the relentless heat and lack of schedule sends my kids into a terrifying tornado of antsy, restless, wrestling (ok, fighting) boys and cat-clawing girls who were best friends last week.
My custom-created list with 293 Fun Summer Activities stares at me from the floor where some kid knocked it off and spilled orange juice on it. I knew homemade chalk paint on Grandma and Papa’s driveway was iffy, but these camo-clothed ninjas kicking over bowls of Cheerios was not on my fun list. Too late, I glanced up at the mountain of dirty dishes filling the sink. Apparently, summer means eating 24/7 and forgetting the maid quit the day I gave birth.
All I can think is this mama needs a break. And cooler weather.
So while my kids are dreaming of samurai swords and destruction, I’m dreaming of an Alaskan cruise. Unfortunately, that’s not in my immediate future.
Parenting is hard. It doesn’t even matter the season, it’s just plain hard. While we work to create an awesome, memorable childhood for our kiddos, sometimes we just need a break from our little darlings.
Years ago, my husband and I sat down and realized there’s no way we can raise these kids on exhaustion. At the end of the day, they got our leftovers. Our leftover energy. Our leftover creativity. Our leftover everything. We determined to stop living that way and proactively schedule rests for us too so the kids could get our best instead.
In 10 years of parenting, I’ve learned a few secrets to surviving summer with your sanity intact.
Take a break.
Here are a few of my favorite things.
- Antoinette’s Bath House bath bombs — I’m partial to these when I have an evening to soak in the tub with a good book.
- Lily’s Chocolate — oh girl, this can do wonders and this kind fits the healthy bill.
Hire a sitter.
For a mom of six, this is expensive but necessary, so if the funds aren’t there, we swap breaks with friends. Watch their kids one day so she can get a break and the next week, she can watch yours so you get a break. You can also check out local sitter groups.
Go for a run.
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress, boost energy, and improve overall health.
Go to the store. Alone.
Sometimes it’s nice to grab a gallon of milk without the kids hanging from the cart or pulling pop-tarts from the shelf. The last time I took kids to the store, it ended in a disaster, so I vowed to shop solo in the future.
Schedule a pedicure.
Florida is a fiery furnace during the summer so take an hour to let someone else pamper your sandal-clad feet.
Read a book.
Make it a fun book and save those self-improvement books for later.
Plan a hot date night with your man.
Not only are mom breaks important, but you need time alone with your spouse too.
I’m a stickler for schedules (even on my fun list) but I’ve learned, especially in the summer, to watch my kids for cues. Sometimes all they need is a sprinkler in the backyard instead of the two-hour trip to the nearest water park.
Do that fun thing.
Pick a few things off the 293 Fun Summer Activities list and do them. Just avoid nap times, and pack extra snacks and water because food and drink make everything better.
Whatever you do to take a break this summer, do it often, do it for you, and do it for your family.
When mama’s happy and rested, everyone is happy and rested. Whatever you do this summer, make sure you schedule time in for yourself. We’ll be better moms for it. ❤
We’d love to hear from you! When you have free time, how do you spend it? What’s your favorite way to relax? Share below!
About the Author
Amanda Wells is the proud wife of her smokin’ hot third-generation farmer husband and they have taken Psalm 127:5 literally –raising their quiverful of six kids on the farm. She loves baking, reading, writing, and arithmetic (kidding!). Amanda writes about faith, homeschooling on the farm, and family life at farmwyfe.com.