We are on the final countdown till summer and I am matching my kids’ excitement with equal amounts of dread. I’m looking forward to some fun getaways with family, and of course my Girls Summer Camps (3 spots left!) but all those empty days on the calendar are sending me into a panic. How about you? Do you come to life in summer or do you wilt under the never-ending demands of vacation time with kids?
If you are like me and feeling daunted by summer, let’s make a plan to prioritize sanity and make sure Mom gets the most out of this summer, too.
Understanding WHY summer is hard is the first step. For me, a big reason is a lack of structure. I seem to be the lone J in a house full of P’s. In the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment, the ‘P” or Perceiving personality type loves to have open expanses of time with nothing on the calendar. Perceiving types (my husband and kids) love spontaneity and the opportunity to follow a whim. The ‘J’ or Judging personality type (me) loves structure and plans. My ESFJ personality type feels more relaxed when there are plans on the calendar. This stresses the rest of the family out. Whenever I put their preferences before mine for more than a day, I go a little bit insane. I can create a structure without anyone else knowing, but often I don’t. It’s more difficult for me to follow through with my plans in the summer, since no one will know if I flake, but I remind myself that I always feel better if I stick to my plans.
The second reason I go nuts is my lack of alone time. I am used to having the entire school day by myself to focus on my clients and work projects. I run errands and grocery shop by myself, I listen to my music and my podcasts. I get to think my own thoughts inside my own head…it’s heavenly! But then summer comes and the kid’s energies creep into me, replacing my own thoughts and feelings with theirs. With my spongy personality type, it’s important that I make time to be alone every day. Decide what your minimum baseline is and make sure you meet it every day. If you hear yourself say, “I’m fine, I don’t need it today”, do it anyway to maintain sanity.
– 45 minutes a day to eat lunch outside and read a magazine
– 2 hours of watching TV before bed.
– 20 minute bike ride
– 30 minute journaling and meditation
– 60 minute morning jog or workout
You can always take more but being consistent is a great gift to yourself and your kids. You teach people how to treat you. If you do it every day with clear, confident boundaries, your kids will it is non-negotiable and respect your time.
The third reason I enter the land of crazy is that I’m an extrovert and I like to have other people around me. My introverted kids love being home all day but I need more stimulation and companionship than just my family. I would love it if other Moms invited me to do things but usually it’s my desperation that leads me to do the coordinating. Sometimes, when I’m feeling yucky, I start assuming everyone else has plans and doesn’t want to see me. I am always glad when I get out of my own way and schedule social get togethers with friends.
Under stress, we regress, and usually end up being overly permissive or overly authoritative in our parenting. Whenever we aren’t parenting as well as we know we can, we feel even worse. Have a list of things to do if you start slipping into The Land of Crazy:
Unlimited media day, cereal for dinner, invite your friend over, go to a movie or children’s museum, put earphones on so the kids know you can’t hear them, set a timer and declare “drop everything and read” hour, have a project to work on like a jigsaw puzzle or putting photos in albums, make kids play outside for an hour, have a jar of activities they can choose from or a jar of chores, have kids make a movie to post on youtube for Grandma, go to the pool, whatever you think will work best so you get a break. Write it down so when you are spiraling down, you don’t have to try and be creative.
Problems arise when we ignore our personality type in order to please our kids. Moms deserve to enjoy summer just as much as everyone else. Take this personality assessment to learn more about yourself and create a summer that suits who you are.