I confess that I am writing this article at the eleventh hour in order to get it in on time. Ahh that felt good. I love good therapy 😉 ! I have had the words “SMB article DUE” staring back at me all week long on my day planner and yet never got around to completing the task. Why? Because my schedule changed this week and I was out of sync with my tasks and responsibilities. What was the change? My oldest is done with school and while he only went two mornings a week, having him home completely threw me for a loop that I was not expecting! I didn’t plan for this change because I incorrectly assumed that it wouldn’t be that big of a change in my schedule. He is home most of the time with me anyway, what could those extra 4 hours on Tuesday and Thursday morning really do for me? Apparently, A lot.
I have come to find out that I was wrong in this assumption as evidenced by my inability to plan ahead with this article, the multiple loads of laundry that need to be done as well as the ironing, the unchanged sheets, the dust bunnies in the corners of my wood floors and the lack of menu planning that occurred in my home this week.
So lesson learned and opportunity to share with you what I believe to be the top three important sanity savers for the summer season. (Try saying that 5 times fast!)
Have a schedule! Sure summer brings lovely thoughts of long leisurely days without a care in the world but when you are a Mama that just isn’t realistic. Your kiddos don’t know they are supposed to sleep later and be relaxed all day long! I have found that while I love the idea of staying at home all day and letting the kids play barefoot in the backyard while I meticulously cross off tasks on my to-do list it just isn’t going to happen. We still need a schedule, even if we don’t have some of our regularly scheduled activities. So I suggest at least starting the day off with a structured routine to get you going on the right foot. Wake up at the same time; eat breakfast in the same place (kitchen counter, table) and establish the same getting ready routine as if you were going somewhere. At least that way if you become more relaxed as the day goes on the day has started the same for the little people in your family and those little people LOVE a good structured start to their day.
Make a plan. I would suggest making a list of things you want to do this summer with your kids AS WELL AS the things you NEED to get done (see aforementioned list of household chores that were not accomplished this week…) and referring to this list as the summer goes on when you are wondering what you are going to do with yourself on the days when you are feeling less than fabulous in your cruise-director-Mommy role. If you don’t have the energy to plan something for the day all you have to do is refer to your list and voila, you have a list of choices of what you can go do with your little friends! You could even make the list part of a fun activity where you place options on small pieces of paper and let the kids pick each week something that you are going to do together!
Get outside of yourself. I am not talking just in the physical sense here. While that might be a good rule to live by, I am referring to getting outside of your comfort zone. Summer is for playing, and getting dirty, and getting wet in the hose or pool, and having Popsicle juice run down your arms, and sticky marshmallow treats stuck to the sides of your face and NOT for being clean or cute or perfectly put together to the point that you don’t want to get sweaty or dirty or sticky. Of course every day can’t be a magical summer fantasy but, more often than is comfortable for you, think outside of yourself and really play and engage with your children this summer. Maybe you need to change your clothes. For me, I know that I am really going to play well when my hair is in a ponytail and that simple adjustment helps me engage better with my boys. Try to create moments that cause you to forget about the house or job or to-do list and just be all there with your kiddos. That, more than anything else, will be what makes for a magical summer. Being all there in the moment will help you keep your sanity when the un-glamorous demands of life want to snatch it away.
Tracy Carson is a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor, a wife to her Prince Charming whom she has been married to for 8 years and a Mom of two precious boys, 3 and 1. Tracy has a passion for helping women feel beautiful inside and out and works hard in her faith based counseling practice, Professional Counseling Associates, to encourage her clients to feel the freedom to be comfortable in their own skin. She specializes in the treatment of eating disorders and counts it a privilege to come alongside of women as they overcome the stress that can come with new life transitions. You can contact her at tracy (at) scottsdalemomsblog (dot) com or find her on the web at www.pcaaz.com