“Summah summah summah time.”
Admit it. You just sang that line.
Ah, summer is coming really soon and while the thought of sun tans, pool days and lounging on the beach is enough to take all your stress away, the thought of your “it took me 7 months to get this schedule into place” routine being through into turmoil brings all the stress back.
Whether you stay at home with your kiddos, work outside the home, own a business or have the summers off thanks to a teaching job (we applaud your hard work!), summertime can throw a real wrench in our routines. It is hard to stay productive when you have children at home who insist on being entertained and ya know, having meals made for them.
And then, just when we get a handle on the summer routine, it’s back to school season and once again, time to start over again.
So how do you stay productive during the summer and not fall victim to the summertime blues?
Create boundaries: A really important aspect of parenting in general is to create boundaries. This means letting your children, your partner, your neighbors, your family, whomever what will and will not be acceptable. For the purposes of summer, this can mean setting up quiet times, proper bedtimes, wake up times, work times, etc. Summer can easily become a free-for-all of activities with no set limits or boundaries which causes stress for kids and adults. Before summer even begins, set up some boundaries and stick to them.
Set expectations: Now expectations are a slippery slope. You don’t want to set them so high and unrealistic that you feel let down when they don’t happen (like, my kids will have pristinely picked up rooms for the entire 8 weeks they are home) but setting up expectations for your home, your kids and your schedule allows everyone to know where they stand. Do you expect a certain level of chores to be completed each day before play time starts? Do you expect your older children to get a job? Do you expect to spend a certain amount of time outside? (weather pending, of course) These expectations are pretty important if you want to keep from pulling your hair out by mid-July. Most of the disappointments we face in life come from not fully communicating what we expect of a situation or communicating what we need from others.
Allow for flexibility: Listen, as structured as we all may want to be, kids are kids and life is life. The overarching mantra for motherhood should just be “Stay flexible or die.” Things come up, both as an emergency or a chance to have fun you weren’t expecting. A last minute BBQ invite, a beautiful day when you were expecting rain, or an unwelcome stomach bug. Whether it is a happy occasion or not, being flexible will make it a whole lot easier to enjoy the time you have this summer. Don’t become so strict the little pop-ups create havoc.
Wanna get 27 hours out of a 24 hour day? Download my free "Maximize your Mom Time" video and learn how to earn back your minutes and hours, mama.
Give your kids more responsibility: During the year, kids have chores. During the summer, if you ask me (which, uh, you’re on my blog), kids should have more. If there are more people home to make messes, more people should contribute. Keep your productivity sanity by dishing out more chores and responsibilities. Especially if you are working outside the home, create chore routines that must be accomplished while they are home alone so that you don’t come home to a sink full of dishes each day. This goes hand in hand with setting clear expectations.
Utilize your rainy days: Rather than seeing rainy days as a reason to cry because you’re all cooped up in the house, use them as days to finish indoor projects, chores or fun activities. I try to use the rainy days during the summer to be super productive in areas I don’t want to give my attention to when it is nice out. Maybe that is throwing in a few extra loads of laundry, scrapbooking, decluttering closets, cleaning the refrigerator or diving into your meal plan. Or, perhaps it is finishing up those lingering house projects. Don’t let rainy days ruin your productivity. Use them as a reason to be more productive.
Have some freakin’ fun: Summer was meant to be enjoyed and productivity and schedules don't have to be all about getting the most done, but rather making the most out of the time you are given. So, get out there. Lay in the sun. Play in the mud puddles. Slide and swing and skip and jump with your kids. The rest can wait.
Now that you know how to stay productive during the summer, what about the *gasp* cleaning?! House cleaning is usually a nagging chore for most moms, which is why I created the Everything and the Kitchen Sink cleaning list. Sign up to receive your free house cleaning list, broken down by room. Print it out, keep it in a binder, hang it on the wall (it's colorful and pretty) and use it to create your cleaning schedule or just as a useful guide for #allthethings that need to be cleaned in your home. Own your schedule so it doesn't own you.