Summer. The internet tells me I will have only 18 of them with each of my children and that makes me ache because most of the time I want summer to end. I am counting down the days like kids count down to Christmas. NOT because I don’t want to be with my kids, but because it is SO MUCH time with them. There is no middle ground: school time when they have structure and time away and then suddenly everyone everywhere all the time forever. And it’s so hot. And Rob is gone SO much. To help me and to help you (if you’re like me), I created these 10 Summer Attitude Hacks. Let’s do this.
10 Summer Attitude Hacks for Moms
1. Keep perspective.
Remember that you have 18 summers. Remember that 18 summers is not a LOT of summers, but a few. (Because when your kids are really little like mine, 18 summers can sound like a TON OF SUMMERS.) Thing of the long-term and the long-run.
2. Let it go.
Housework. Expectations. Rules. Whatever! Remind yourself that summer is a lazy time. An unstructured time. Be flexible. Be loosey goosey even if it hurts your little planning heart sometimes. If it helps to sing the song from Frozen, do that. But when you start to get all bunched and stressed, remember that it’s summer and just let it go.
3. It’s only hair.
Sawyer asked for a mohawk this summer and Linc wanted to shave his head. Neither was the choice we wanted, but Rob and I have talked a lot of appearance things and decided that we would never be shocked, even if we HATED what our kids wanted and that we would remember it’s only hair. Whether it applies to hair cuts or some other superficial thing that your kids want that you hate, if it isn’t a big deal, don’t make it one. IT’S ONLY HAIR. (And yes, we let Saw have a very subtle mohawk.)
4. Dirt washes off.
Two days ago I sent the three older kids out to play. Thirty minutes later, they knocked on the back door and I opened it to find them covered in mud. Literally. Mud in their hair. Mud on their clothes and in their pockets and smeared on their bodies. I had to take a deep breath not to scream. Then I thought: it’s only dirt. I stripped everyone down to nothing, turned on the hose, and that was that. Dirt washes off. Summer, more than any other time, is a great time to remember this.
5. The dishes will wait.
I hate leaving dirty dishes in the sink. I am not a particularly organized or neat-freak person, but I do hate messes. They stress me out. During summer, I have less time to myself. I can choose at night to either do the dishes OR spend some time blogging or reading or doing social media stuff online. (Or binge-watching Netflix.) Summer is a great time to leave the dishes and take a breather at night. (Unless doing the dishes is your breather, in which case, do the dishes.) Have the kids help in the morning with dishes or whatever it is that is stressing you out.
6. Rules are still okay.
I think that humans work best within structured freedom. Anarchy doesn’t work. Neither does tyranny. But freedom within some boundaries helps us to soar. A lot of my attitude hacks are about letting go, but it’s okay to hold tightly to some structure and rules as well. We still put our kids to bed at 7pm during the summer, barring swim meet or something else. Why? Because they NEED SLEEP. They get up at the same time every morning, so why not put them to bed earlier? By the time they get done with a rough and tumble summer day, they are ready to crash. Find your few rules that keep your sanity and KEEP them.
7. Make memories.
Think back to your summer childhood. What do you remember? This will be different from person to person, but I think that remembering the things that stand out will help give you perspective. I have amazing memories of camp and also of the times I had to babysit my brother and we played miniature golf every day and became semi-pro. Think of your memories and realize that this is your time to make memories for your kids. Let them held make a bucket list and then check everything off.
8. Know that you can’t possibly enjoy every moment.
I hate the guilt that comes from reading posts from moms who talk like they have arrived. Does anyone ever ARRIVE? Or is it more like finding a happy place of balance for a brief moment until it is washed away with the next big struggle? You will absolutely NOT treasure every moment of summer. Honestly? I feel like it’s a win if I treasure a few moments because I get so wearied. Release yourself from the guilt and enjoy what you can. Don’t feel guilty about what you DIDN’T enjoy, but take each day as it comes, looking for moments to savor.
9. Don’t forget to laugh.
I am so busy trying to hold it together in the summer with Rob gone that I turn into Grouchy Mom and lose all sight of Fun Mom. The summer doesn’t have to just be about your kids having fun. YOU should have fun. This might meaning turning off the part of your brain that wants to scrub the kitchen counters or have more me-time, but find what it takes to let you LAUGH.
10. Find the magic.
When I thought about summer memories, I thought of magic. I thought of fireflies and scary stories around campfires and late nights and day trips. Summer is long and hot but it has a quality of magic about it. Find THAT. This may directly relate to #7, but you should think of the magic quality that summer holds and think best about how you can persevere that for you and for your kids.
Y’all. Summer is hard. I hope you don’t take this as a to-do list, but as a Helpful Reminders list. If #3 doesn’t work for you, maybe #5 will on a given day and then on another day, #9 gets you through. Let this be a help. Stop feeling the pressure of needing to savor every moment of those 18 summers you have with your kids. When we don’t feel pressured, we are more freed up to enjoy. ENJOY. Be cool. Laugh. Don’t feel guilty. Did you hear me? DON’T FEEL GUILTY. You’re doing great!
Need pregnancy hacks? I got those too.
How about boredom busters from the dollar store? BOOM.