Summer is one of my favorite seasons, but one that comes with a unique set of challenges.

Our easy, not overly packed school year rhythm is gone and we’re in full-fledged summertime chaos fun mode. Cleaning schedules and meal prep are on their own holiday and pool time, movie marathons, and pizza have settled in as our long-term guests.  Everyone is home, the house is noisy, messy, and in many ways, it’s beautiful; it’s time I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Life and work don’t slow down just because the mercury rises. The demands of home never end and the work to-do list is bottomless. Which is why, and this is advice I’m giving myself as I type, it’s crucial, nay, essential, that you take time for yourself in the midst of the wonderful summer madness.

Just this afternoon, my gorgeous husband took our 22-month-old daughter for playtime elsewhere to give me time and space to recharge. As soon as they walked out the door, that godawful mom guilt reared up and I began feeling bad for needing time alone. The mom guilt is real, y’all.

But it’s difficult to be present and attentive if you’re stressed, frazzled, and one spilled sippy cup away from a meltdown. I’m at my best for myself and my family when I’m conscientiously making and taking time (even if it’s just 20 minutes) to decompress and reconnect with me.

Nicole E at Houston Moms Blog has more:

 The kids have already been out for summer more than a MONTH!  It is hard to believe and I find myself tempted to feel guilty about the whole lotta nothing we have been doing… just me?! I sure hope not, and assuming you too *might* be wondering if it’s okay to stay up late, sleep in late, have more than one jammie day in a row, I am here to give you permission to relax.  Let’s talk this through…

But they’re having too much screen time.

Most of us have some rules around screen time.  In my house, the kids {not me!} have to do some chores, read and play in other ways before they can have screens but it still ends up more than I would like.  However, when I think back on my summer holidays, I watched daytime TV for hours!  I did other things too, like my brief hobby of chicken embroidery, but still :: hours.  It was the same for all my friends, and guess what?  That’s what we loved about summer.  The relaxation of the rules!  So set up some guidelines and then stop worrying about it.  Heck, join them if you can!

I should have booked more camps.

There are plenty of affordable VBS options – some families spend the summer doing the VBS tour – and there are many excellent camp options but most camps come with a price tag that adds up after one week or with multiple children.  Only one of my three kids is doing a week-long away camp {it was his birthday gift months ago} and it was expensive.  My other kids were not keen on going to camp this year which turned out to be a good thing because we simply could not afford it.  Luckily I am able to be home with them during the day, though I recognize some working parents have no choice but to fill the summer with camps. Whether a need or a want, camps can offer different experiences and opportunities for our kids to learn and grow but they are not a requirement for raising healthy humans!  So if you booked one, none or few, relax! It’s enough!

They’re going to forget everything they learned in school.

We have zero choice in the length of the summer break and I’m going to go ahead and assume that the school powers-that-be are aware of the potential for the “summer slide” and have a plan to ameliorate that in the fall.  Here’s the thing :: we are all in the same boat so relax and focus on a few things you can do to beat the summer learning loss::

  • Read read read!  Go the library, thrift some books, download Audible or get audiobooks from the library – my kids LOVE signing out books with Hoopla and love the option of listening to books.  It all counts and reading for fun instead of as a school requirement is something everyone should experience.
  • Practice math in practical ways.  Get them to help with the shopping, get them involved in baking, talk about temperature and distance and speed limits {!} while traveling, download math game apps, play with puzzles, blocks and tangrams.  Or give them five bucks and let them budget their way through the dollar store!  It doesn’t have to be summer school to be beneficial.
  • Take advantage of local learning opportunities.  Go to the museums, parks, historical sites and talk about them!  Encourage your kids to explore some of their interests over the summer and see where it leads!  School is important and necessary but cultivating a lifelong interest in learning happens outside the classroom too.

Nicole’s post is spot on and worth reading in its entirety.

So forget about the schedule, screen time, everything-mom anxiety, try to embrace the complete chaos of summer, and relax and enjoy this season with your family. The school year and its predictability will be here soon enough and you’ll find yourself daydreaming, wishing for the simplicity of summer.

If you’re looking for something to do, Motherhood Center offers yoga classes, mom support groups, and a full array of massages. Any of which are the perfect way to let off a little steam and pamper yourself.