As a working parent, you know the feeling. School’s out, summer’s in, and what that spells for many working parents is—sheer panic! On one hand the end of the school year may mean less morning craziness, less homework and school events, and more family time by the pool or on vacation.
On the other hand, it also means that you still have to get out the door by 7:30am, your workload is still crazy, and on top of everything else, you have to figure out childcare options while you’re at work. Which also means more planning, more money, and more headaches, not to mention the parent guilt of not spending the entire summer with the kids.
As a working mom, I struggle with this every single summer. From figuring out camp options for the kids, to coming up with a calendar of fun activities, and keeping up with work, the summer months can be quite stressful. For all the working parents out there, here are 7 tips to make your summer a little easier and a lot more sane:
Dial down the activities
We tend to overbook ourselves, especially in the summer. Yes, it’s important to keep the kids busy, active and connected. However, there’s a point at which this can seriously overdone. Boredom has been proven to help kids’ imagination flourish, in addition to simply letting kids be kids! It’s ok to let kids play outside, learn social rules and develop without their parents monitoring their every move. Besides, not having as many activities to shuffle them to and fro may give you a serious break too.
Take some time off
In between camp activities, vacations, and keeping up with your summer schedule, consider taking some time off to do nothing! It may just be a matter of clearing up one day a week, or extend your week-end to three days instead of four. Not only will this give you something to look forward to, but it will also provide a much-needed break.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the kids’ camps and activities during the summer. Yet you shouldn’t forget about your needs as a working parent as well. So in between planning activities for the kids, consider planning some social time for you as well. Whether it’s a barbecue with friends, an hour at the gym, or just an evening out for drinks with friends, make sure to connect with grown-ups and keep it social!
Keep up with your personal routine
Along with staying connected with your friends and other grown-ups, make sure to keep up with your personal health and wellness routine. Whatever it is that re-energizes and pumps you up, keep up with it! Whether it’s your favorite kickboxing class, your monthly massage, or your morning run, make some time to care for yourself. Wake up early, stay late, or use your lunch hour to spend time doing those things that make you a better parent!
Get some help
Keeping up with all the summer activities will require you to get some help, unless you want to feel constantly exhausted and out of sorts. Don’t hesitate to ask for the help you need, whether it’s ordering in one (or a few) nights, getting a babysitter, or hiring a cleaning service.
Remember that summers are to enjoyed, so don’t bury yourself under a ton of obligations and activities! You must take care of yourself in order to be the best working parent you can be! So make space for your personal routine, make adjustments as needed, and don’t forget that your children are looking to you as their role model!
Enjoy your summer!
Bio: Solange Lopes is an author, blogger and CPA. She writes about career and lifestyle topics for women at work in her blog The Corporate Sister (www.thecorporatesister.com). She’s also the author of Girl, Take Back Your Career: 7 Steps to Reclaiming Your Power at Work.