WT 062: How Do I Survive and Thrive in the Summer?

Summer is a great season. Long days, pool time, beach trips, and laid back schedules, what’s not to love? But as a mom, summer can become overwhelming when you add up the loss of structure school provided, the kids being home every day for the next few months, summer school assignments, sleep overs, summer camps, you name it! This week, Karen shares her experience and wisdom for the question: How do I survive and thrive in the summer?

Question 1: Karen, what are some suggestions you can give to help me make it through summer. I run out of creative things to do with my kids all day within the first few days out of school. Any ideas or stories of what you did would be appreciated!

Karen’s Answer: Okay, I’m just going to get “real” and be transparent with all moms on this question.  I, personally, don’t think it’s our job to entertain our children all summer unless you’re a Cruise Director for a major Cruise Line or just love planning activities. You are putting too much pressure on yourself to be there personal summer camp director. But, I’m happy to offer some ideas we’ve used:

  • Pool

  • Library: For books or visiting to read together

  • Movie Theaters: Specifically on ½ off days

  • Dairy Queen: Who doesn’t love ice cream

  • Chick Fil A: Or any fast food restaurant with a play place

  • Tell your kids to go build a fort

  • VBS: Or any church functions

  • Summer Camps

Do what I did and lock the door at 9:30 in the morning and tell them they can’t come in until lunch.  Show them the hose for water, they will be fine! There were lots of days, repeat LOTS of days we did nothing and that was okay. Summer is a time that you should slow down. I let my kids stay up later in the summer watching movies with the family and then hopefully they slept in late. I liked that. :) And, you could always try googling ‘summer ideas’ or checking out Pinterest for more options.

Start off summer the way you want to finish. If you entertain them all day the first two weeks, that is what will be expected. I would set the expectations early on that it is not your job to entertain them.

Question 2:  Karen, I am a working mom and struggle with guilt more in the summer. My 9-year-old daughter has a sitter who stays with her while I’m at work, but she is always calling my cell phone during the day telling me that she was invited to a pool party that afternoon, or a sleepover on a weekday where I won’t be able to pick her up in the morning. Whether or not it’s true, my mom guilt tells me that she is missing out on the summer fun that her friends get to have. How do I work on this?

Karen’s Answer: This is a hard one! Even though you aren’t committing a sin like we always talk about with mommy guilt, I know you are thinking that your job is getting in the way of being there for your daughter. But here’s the deal, we all have to realize something’s got to give. I know that’s a difficult answer and no one wants to talk about it, but it is true. If you were a stay at home mom, something would have to give in that situation too. You wouldn’t have as much money to do the extra things; the budget would be tighter. There is a sacrifice either way you look at it.  Right now you’re in a season where you’re working, and your family has to make adjustments. You shouldn’t feel guilty for that.

If it is a BIG pool party or sleepover night, maybe make arrangements at work where you can get off early or go in late. This might help your daughter feel like you hear and understand her situation.

Keep filling your mind with the truth. You are doing the best you can! Maybe once or twice during the summer surprise your daughter with some time off to accommodate her desires.

Question 3: Karen, do you have any advice on getting kids to actually complete their summer reading? Is that something I should incentivize for them or something that should just be expected because it’s for school?

Karen’s Answer: Oh boy! I’m the worst one to answer this question because I was so BAD at it! I think it’s good to give them incentives, everyone needs and likes achieving a reward. It was all such a pain to me. I would take them all at the beginning of summer and load up with the required books. Then we would forget to read them, lose the books, and end up paying a fine at the library; it was a hot mess :).  Do I think it is important? Yes! Was I good at it? No way!

Be better than me! Get organized and set reminders for yourself to remind them.

Question 4: What are your top tips on taking a family of four on a family vacation this summer? My youngest just turned two and we are doing our first big family beach trip that I am hoping goes smoothly!

Karen’s Answer: Keep it simple. Keep it simple. Keep it simple. Last summer we took Evie (2 ½ yrs old) and Chapman (9 months old) to the beach with the family. I would try to stick with your normal schedule as much as possible. If your child normally takes a nap in the afternoon, give them a nap.  Eat at kid friendly places; this is not the time to go to a nice restaurant. Sleep is the key! If your children are getting enough rest, it can be a great time.

Don’t overstay your time at the beach each day.  If the kids are playing and it’s getting close to lunch or nap time, go ahead and start packing up before the meltdown begins. If you wait, the walk back to the house/condo/hotel is brutal. Then you are dealing with the sand clean up, tears, and exhaustion. Not a good combo!

Last summer we did an entire episode on family vacations, it was episode 14. You can scroll down further, find it in iTunes, or you can find it linked in today’s show notes here birdsonawiremoms.com/episode14/ .

Moms, we know your time is precious. Thank for spending it with us. We hope you feel encouraged, equipped and most importantly—the peace of God. If you want to have weekly encouragement emailed to you, visit birdsonawiremoms.com to sing up for free weekly tips of motherhood.

And remember, if you have a question about motherhood I want to hear it! Thanks moms!