There was a time when Ella sang, “Summertime and the livin’ is easy,” and I believed her. Growing up in the 80’s summer was always about watching movies at the outdoor movie theatre, playing outside late into the night, and of course popsicles, lots and lots of them. And then I became a mom and my priorities shifted. To be honest summer didn’t change for me in the first few years of motherhood. I was working full-time, and if there was vacation, Yay! Otherwise there was always day care! And then I had my second little pumpkin, we moved to Toronto and I decided to work from home. That’s when reality hit me like a ton of bricks: moms hate summer.
Ella wasn’t singing about me anymore when she said livin’ was easy. Don’t be taken in by the marketing hype surrounding summer holidays—one thing they are not is easy! At least not for moms.
I am a fairly low key sort of a mom—my life isn’t Pinterest-worthy. The lunches I pack are mostly jazzed-up leftovers, the play dates over at my house are not as closely managed as they perhaps should be, my kids walk to the local playground on their own. But come summertime all bets are off.
“Mom, can you call X’s mom and ask her for a play date?”
“Mom, can we have some lemonade?”
And so on, at least 1800 times before lunchtime.
That brings me to self-care and how important it is during the summer because if you don’t make the time for yourself, let me tell you, you’re screwed!
So I am managing my own peace and happiness in the coming months . I have a plan and yes, writing about it makes it seem real and attainable!
Give yourself a time out.
Whether it’s a quick 10 minutes to sip your coffee in the morning or a late-evening grocery run, make sure you take your time. I know I will. You may not be able to make it to the nail salon for the next couple of months but an 8 pm run to the store “because we are out of milk”—you can make that work.
Pretend you’re old.
I’m 41 and I can always keep up with my kids (except perhaps when my youngest is clambering up chain link fences. That’s in the domain of teen moms.) But this summer, I am going to be hard of hearing. That’s how easy it is when the kids are bickering and it’s only 9:30 am. I can’t even hear them. And the lemonade request from before will also go unheard. The kids may eventually even be encouraged to make their own drink.
Get outside as much as possible.
Somehow the kids fight less when they are outside even if it’s just in the backyard—I don’t know if it’s the green trees and nature that surrounds us, or perhaps just the heat draining their overabundance of sassy energy, whatever the reason, I will take it.
Yes, it does, and no, there shouldn’t be any. Go easy on food-related rules because you just have to. Breakfast for dinner? That’s an old favourite. S’mores for breakfast? As long as there is enough fruit on that plate to sink the Titanic, knock yourself out. A meal made entirely of side dishes? Yes, please. Mashed potatoes and peas, rice and salad, and if you’re lucky there’ll be leftover BBQ from last night. Why not?
Just take a breather from being super mom this summer and enjoy it. Summer break isn’t just for the kids, it’s your time off too. For SAHMs the boundaries between work and family get really blurry and for WAWMs (work-at-work-moms) family time is precious, but give the mommy-guilt a break and make sure you take the time you need to hang on to your sanity.
You know you’re gonna need it come September…