Woke up, got dressed, read the Bible, did devotions, prayed, drank water, brewed tea, made breakfast for the kids, got in a load of laundry, cleaned up the kitchen from the night before, packed bags for swim team, filled water bottles… and that was all before the kids even got out of bed.
I thought summer was supposed to be relaxing?
Two days into summer break last year, I realized I needed to make a change. After all, summer shouldn’t simply be a break for the kids, it should be a time of refreshment for us moms too.
The dilemma emerges when we try to simultaneously be both camp counselor and mom, especially for those of us who work outside the home as well.
So what’s a mom to do? Check out my mom’s summer survival guide. I have nine tips for ensuring a refreshing summer for both moms and kids alike:
Start Your Day Right
During my small group recently, many of us confessed that we spent more time in Bible resources than we do in the Bible itself. Commit this summer to reaching first for God’s Word instead of checking social media on your iPhone when you wake up.
Map Your Day
What is it that you hope to accomplish today? Who do you hope to see? On the flip side, what would you regret not doing by the end of the day? Create a mind map of what you want to do before you go to bed, even if it’s simply finishing that book you couldn’t put down last night.
Communicate Summer Goals
If we’re lucky, we get to spend 18 summers with each of our kids. Only 18! And for some of us, we’ve already lived more than half of those with them. So how will this summer stand out from previous summers? Tonight at dinner, go around the table and ask what it is everyone hopes to get to do before summer is through.
Set Realistic Expectations
While goals are good, they are worthless without a plan to accomplish them. You may want to organize all your photos, but if you haven’t even finished the baby’s album (and your baby is now 18), you may have to be a little more realistic with what can get done in these short, summer months.
Remember the Routine
A break in routine is good, but throwing the routine in the toilet completely doesn’t help anyone. I’m all for later bedtimes, a little more TV time and less-rounded meals, but don’t abandon the things both you and your kids need to thrive, like getting enough sleep and keeping your house running smoothly. Remember, consistency breeds sanity.
Enlist Help from Others
Whether it’s a playdate to take some of the pressure off of planning a day of fun on your own, or asking friends with skills different from yours to spend a few hours teaching your teen, don’t be afraid to enlist help from others. If you agree to take your friends’ kids for a day, she can return the favor next week, giving you some much deserved time alone.
Learn Something New
Speaking of teaching… Summer is a great time for both you and your kids to work on projects and learn a new skill. Even though it’s summer, our minds still need to be challenged and stimulated. While learning a sport or craft as a family can be fun, I challenge you to ask yourself what it is you’ve always wanted to try as well.
Plan an Escape
Summer should be about making memories, both as a family and in your own life. I once heard it said that a family should have nightly “check-ins” to hear about each other’s days, weekly outings to try something new and monthly adventures to escape together. Why not try it? Even taking one day a month to plan a getaway (solo or with friends) can do wonders for refreshing the mind, body and soul.
Appreciate What You Have, Where You Are
Finally, one of the biggest joy-stealers and time-robbers is believing the lie that what we have and where we currently are isn’t enough. Instead of wasting time agonizing about how much more you could do if you had more money, more land, a bigger house, more vacation time, or fill-in-the-blank, pause each day to appreciate not only what you have, but the love that surrounds you.
A beautiful resource that’s helped me do exactly that is Pressing Pause, written by my friends Ruth Schwenk & Karen Ehman. After reading from my Bible first thing in the morning, it’s refreshing to be able to turn to one of the 100 devotions written by moms like me, for moms like me who want to begin the day with both scripture and encouragement.
These devotions not only remind me I’m not alone in my parenting, but more importantly, they remind me who I am as a daughter of God. In just a few minutes a day, I can draw on God’s power, ingest His Word and learn practical ways to love and serve more like Jesus. Essentially, I can press pause on the world and find calm in the chaos.
So how will you handle your summer? More importantly, how will you start tomorrow? Before you know it, this summer too will pass you by. What do you want to be known for by the end of it? I pray this guide will help you not only find the time you need, but create the summer of your dreams.
What are your plans for summer? Are you including time for yourself? Join the conversation on the blog! We want to hear from you!