I wrote this over a year ago, but still being a work from home mama this is still so relevant.
Summer has been here for two weeks. TWO weeks. As a mom with three kids in varying ages, things can get a little stressful keeping them busy and not refereeing fights. My son is always bored, then he’s hungry, and then he is bored again. My two girls are already so catty with each other at the toddler and preschooler ages. They want to change clothing, destroy every toy in the house (because having one toy out at a time is just not enough) and then just like clock work will follow suit with their brother’s boredom and become whiny. So what do you do?
I find myself always telling someone to stop that or be quiet. Working from home has blessings but it also has curses. There is no alone time to decompress. Your sanity is in jeopardy. Your kids that take naps just won’t and the child that doesn’t just won’t keep quiet or still long enough to allow it to happen anyway.
Summer break takes some getting used to when it comes to having the kids in the house ALL THE TIME. I have felt frazzled and been at my wits end. I have wanted to banish them to their rooms. I hope that using some of these tactics will help you keep some hair on your head this summer.
First off is to adjust what you expect from your kids. You can’t be let down or frustrated if you didn’t expect it in the first place. Even though the light hours are longer, this doesn’t mean that you have to work on more things. It means you have more time to get things done that you wanted to in the first place. As for the kids, their schedules will be thrown off because they will want to stay up late because it is still light out. This would not be a problem if they slept in too, but with the light of the day comes the awakening of little eyes.
The rules for summer WILL be different whether you want them to be or not. Get the family together and decide what the rules are and who will be doing what to help out. The house can stay relatively clean when the kids are in school, but when they are not the mess can be made more quickly. The other thing that can get out of hand is “boredom eating”. We are all guilty, but making sure the kids know that meals and snack times are when they will eat can help reduce some headaches with the “I’m hungry!” problem.
Schedules can work to your advantage. I do warn you though not to sign up for too much or get yourself too busy. This can defeat the purpose of helping with stress! We normally do some YMCA Swim Lessons or go to the park for free play. My son goes to summer school (as our choice), so that he has interaction with other children and is keeping his skills in use that he learned during the school year. My son is out half days Monday through Thursday and then on Friday has the whole day at home. This is when we get creative together.
It’s good for the kids to be let loose. I’m better saying this than actually doing it. I get some OCD from my Dad and so the chaos that goes on around me sometimes sends me over the edge. Toys are everywhere! I have had to let my kids do what they want as long as they pick it up afterwards. My stress level has actually gone down by not making them “Stop that!” or “Be quiet!” all the time. Let them run, laugh and play. As long as they are not putting themselves in danger, they are just blowing off energy. They may even pass out and take a nap of you’re lucky.
Take a grownups break. Find that time that your family members or friends would help out with the kids and do nothing or go out. Relax and live a little! I get the break when my parents take my two oldest on vacation. I typically still have the smallest one but there is no one here to make her angry, so it’s a win! My husband and I can also get some alone time when she goes to sleep. Don’t forget about your significant other either!
Quiet time is still necessary. You need this time to decompress. It’s absolutely necessary. I get mine if I can manage to get a movie on and the littlest asleep. If not, I wait until my hubs is home and we have eaten dinner and the kids are in the bath to unwind.
And lastly, be flexible! Some households swear on a schedule and others don’t use one at all. No matter what your choice, make sure that you are flexible with it because life does happen. Things can change in an instant and you just have to go with the flow to keep the stress away.
What is your best tip to take back your summer and actually be able to relax with kids at home?