Getting rid of the “shoulds” is so important these days. There are a lot of “shoulds” in parenting and most times these self-imposed expectations can lead to unrealistic thinking and feelings of guilt which lead to the dread and the low mood that is often experienced by moms. I have a question for you. Why should you love summertime with your kids? Ask yourself this question: “does it say something about me as a mom if I don’t love summertime with my kids?”. If you find yourself answering with negative descriptions as a mom, I now want you to ask yourself “what evidence do I have to support that I am ….?”. Challenging the beliefs will help rid you of unwarranted criticism and own your strengths as a mom.
Now, let’s address why you dread summertime. Let’s be honest, summer is an exhausting time for most parents and many would join you in dreading it’s arrival. Whether you work outside of the home and are trying to plan fun activities for your child to experience in your absence, or you work inside the home and will be planning and engaging all day long with your child, the toll that summertime takes on your emotional well being can actually surprise you. Where you once imagined smiling, sun-kissed faces, endless laughter, and excitement at every planned activity, you are now managing sun burns, crying, and refusals to go anywhere. Your carefully organized and dream filled days are crumbling at your feet and you’re left feeling defeated, exhausted, and dreading the remaining days until school resumes. As you’ve experienced, dreading can lead to low mood, or “summertime blues,” so how can you feel better and find enjoyment during this time?
Here are some helpful ideas:
- Get rid of the “shoulds” and figure out what works best for your particular situation.
- Regularly check in and give yourself permission to let go of self-judgement.
- If you work outside of the house, try planning summer activities with your partner or your mom friends.
- Let the kids be involved in the planning to take some of the pressure off of you. Have your older kids research camps or things to do within their interests, or have your littles pick ideas that you created from a hat and velcro them to a summer calendar.
- Plan “quite time” and try to be as consistent as possible. This allows mom and kids to rest, regroup, and re-energize for the second half of the day.
- Make time for you! Do one small thing each day that fills you up and take one break per week away from the kids for an extended period of time to do something that makes you happy.
- Utilize organized camps, daycare centers, or even other moms to protect your “me” time