I’ve been seeing a lot of jokes about mommy summer camp on my Instagram feed lately, and I can relate! Summer is glorious in so many ways, but it marks a big change in routines for all the moms with kids at home—and that includes me.
Thanks to the sun, those lovely littles wake up early and they stay up late! They’ve got boundless energy all day that they used to expend at school. Now they traipse in and stare at us: “What are we going to do today, Mommy?” As one friend put it, “I’ve been waiting all year just to NOT have an agenda!” Amen.
But I think deep down, both kids and moms crave routines in our lives to give us structure. Routines tell us when to work and when we can rest. They make down time feel better, because we’ve earned it.
I’ve noticed that when I take time for myself at a few key points each day, then I’m able to answer that question from my kids without feeling frustrated. I’m also able to help them create routines that give them what they need.
Here are 3 ways I make time for myself and my kids each day:
Step 1: Figure out what you and your kids need to feel good each day
For us it is exercise, time to work on a project, time to socialize, and time to read/learn something new. If we get to do these things every day, then we are happy campers.
Step 2: Decide how to sprinkle your feel-good things into each day, and look for those that meet your kids’ needs and yours at the same time
Here’s how I structure mine: Morning routine—Wake up earlier than my kids, have coffee, plan my day and do some writing. Getting up before my kids to do something just for me, is literally the key to feeling upbeat and happy vs. feeling drained and overwhelmed. When my kids wake-up, they want breakfast and attention right away, and I’m happy to give them these things because I’ve had my time first.
Mid-morning routine—Workout at my gym. This is a win-win because it has childcare my kids like! They get to see friends, play, do activities and I get a workout. After the gym, I take them to swimming lessons where I get to socialize and they learn to swim with friends and get exercise. Also, a win-win!
Afternoon—After all the morning activities, we have lunch, read together, and then I let them watch a show for an hour or so. Their screen time is my time to work on a project. It’s time we can depend on each day, and time we can look forward to in those busy moments.
The rest of the time is play time, an outing to the park, or whatever else they want to do until it’s time to make dinner.
Step 3: Protect your time
Of course there will be days when you aren’t able to do your feel-good routine. There will be days and times when you make an exception to do something else or sleep late, but try not to make that the norm. When I’m asked to set a playdate or make an appt. that falls during my morning workout or afternoon hour of down time, I usually say no. I try to schedule during the time I know we’ll be free, rested, and ready to play or have an outing. If my kids drag their feet about going to the gym or swimming, I don’t let them get out of it. These things are good for them, and good for me, too! Even as our schedule changes throughout the summer with morning camps, and vacations, I still notice the kids and I have a better day when we get in our routines. They just might take a different shape!
What are some routines that make you feel good in the summer? How do you build in time for you, and time for your kids? I’d love to hear your ideas! Wishing you a joyful summer with your kids.