Now that Memorial Day weekend is behind us, the “unofficial” start of summer has begun. I’m dreaming about 80 days (give or take) with my kids that involve slow, easy mornings, afternoons by the pool, and evenings in the backyard with a glass of wine enjoying the sounds of my new water feature we just installed (ahh, the relaxation). We’re heading into a few months with a very different rhythm in our household. And probably in yours, too.
Of course this isn’t how my summer is going to unfold. My life will look pretty similar to the way it does for the rest of the year – I’ll be working just like normal. Whether I’m interviewing a new podcast guest or on the road for a speaking event, my work doesn’t really care what season it is. But my kids, on the other hand, will be in summer mode right from morning till night.
As a working mom, this slow season can create some dissonance, and maybe even some resentment if you’re not careful. So here are three summer strategies that really work for me. Hopefully they will work for you, too.
Consider moving to summer hours in your household
During the school year, my household gets up early and goes to bed early. But summer hours might look like a later bedtime for my kids, which also means a later wake up time. Shifting the entire rhythm of your household forward by an hour, maybe even two, will allow you to really lean into those longer, more relaxing evenings that I know we all crave during the summer months.
Create an “apprenticeship” for your kids
When I ask my clients “why aren’t you getting more done at home?,” it’s almost always because the kids don’t know how to help out. Summer is the perfect time to give them their own “internship” or “apprenticeship” in your house. Positioning it this way is a lot more exciting than telling them they have new chores, right? But it’s the same concept. Do your kids know how to iron or do a load of laundry? Do they know how to cook a simple meal? Think through age-appropriate skills for your kids and put them in training. Let them build new skills alongside you or your summer childcare provider.
Schedule fun for everyone
If we’re scheduling work as part of this summer rhythm, we also need to schedule in some fun. The emphasis here is on the word schedule. What is on your family’s summer bucket list? In my house, we let everyone pick the most important things they want to do over summer break. It could be three, it could be 10, it doesn’t matter as long as everybody in the household gets a voice (including you, by the way). Whether it’s going to the amusement park or camping in the backyard, schedule them into the calendar and stick to the plan.
Of course you can say yes to lots of other things that aren’t scheduled, like going out for ice cream in the evening when they’re already in their pajamas or getting supplies for the 500th lemonade stand of the summer.
All of these strategies help you focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t. If you shift your focus, you’ll be able to be a lot more present for this fun season with your family. Because working mama, you also deserve to have a great summer.