Summer Break Was Breaking Me

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Summer break is supposed to be fun, relaxing and filled with memories that will last a lifetime. It’s a welcomed break from the routine and redundancy of the normal school year. I had big plans for my time with my child this summer. I decided not to sign him up for anything and to wing it so that we could have the ultimate summer bonding experience. Actually, if I’m being honest, I just missed all the deadlines for all the prestigious summer camps and I felt a huge amount of mommy guilt enrolling him when I am not working much. I had visions of donut dates, playgrounds, and countless outings to the pool. We would go on nature hikes, picnics and take day trips to majestic locations.

I would own this summer.

It would be a summer that would go down in the books.

Until I woke up and realized that neither or us were going to survive the summer unless I got my shit together and found him some activities that didn’t just involve him and I, for both of our sanity.

Here is my Summer Slacker Guide for the mom just trying to survive. 

Find some cheap camps ASAP– I had no idea how many inexpensive activities and camps existed until I was stuck alone in the house with my preschooler for two weeks and was pushed to my breaking point. It’s amazing how such an experience will make you dig deep and be resourceful. I ended up finding weekly vacation bible school camps, gymnastic camps and camps at local libraries and children’s museums that you can enroll in last minute. Even if they are full there are waiting lists and I have learned that you have a good chance of getting in. Many families face unexpected travel or end up wanting to keep their kids home and forfeit their spot. To be clear, I don’t know any of these moms who forfeit their kid’s spot to spend quality time at home with them but trust me, they are out there.

Call on your mom friends– Chances are that your overachieving friends already have their summer all planned out with childcare and family vacations to fabulous destinations but if you scroll through your phone hard enough you can find some friends who are in the same boat as you and they will want to hang ALL THE TIME. Remember there is safety and numbers and a so-so friend may become your best friend by the end of the summer. Playmates for your children are important but a drinking buddy for mom is equally important. They may also be willing to watch your kids for a couple hours while you get some work done if you are willing to return the favor. A trade system can be a mom’s lifeline during the long days of the summer.

Grandparents, grandparents, grandparents-If there was ever a time to get the grandparents involved in your child’s life, it’s over the summer.  Encourage sleepovers and regular outings if they are in the same city. If they live far away, invite them in town for a visit or suggest your child come stay with them for a week. Remember to be subtle and always make them think it was their idea; you never want them to think you are using them for childcare. That would be so uncool. I realize that calling on the grandparents isn’t an option for everyone and that an extended stay from your parents or in-laws is not always ideal but we are in survival mode. Take the help that you are offered; this is no time to be a hero.

Join a gym– I wish that I could say that I’m here to promote a healthy lifestyle and working out but really I’m here to point out the hidden gem that is called “free child care” at the gym. If you have not tapped into this resource you are really missing out. Sometimes I drop my child off at the daycare and go relax in the lounge area with a big cup of coffee and my laptop. I have even been known to bring a change of clothes and my favorite beauty products and take a long, uninterrupted shower in the ladies locker room just because I can.

Get a routine– This one is hard for me because I hate being a slave to standing plans but a routine makes the days go faster and keeps your child active. Active child equals earlier bedtime and more free time and peace and quiet for momma at night.  I suggest doing a little “loose” schedule every Sunday night for your upcoming week (yes, I am now THAT mom).  Just seeing the activities that we have planned on paper gives me hope that I will make it through the week. It’s the little things.

Schedule some me time after hours– I’m always a huge advocate of me time. We all need it but the trick is to take it before you reach your breaking point. Once you are pushed to the point where you really lose your shit, you will need a whole week of “me time” to recover. Even if it’s just a trip target alone after your husband gets off work, a pedicure with a girlfriend or a glass of wine at a neighborhood bar, it’s essential. We all know that if momma ain’t happy, nobody is happy. I know that after a nice break from the kids I wake up the next day refreshed and usually have more patience and a new perspective, even if it is temporary.

I wouldn’t have survived thus far this summer break without tapping into all these resources. I don’t like to admit defeat but sometimes you need to know when you are in over your head. Sending my son to various camps and scheduling play dates has proven to be a lifesaver for both of us. Even if it’s only for two hours here and there, it has helped me to be a better mom. It’s not too late to get a plan together if you are drowning like I was. It’s ok to know your limits and to act accordingly. You don’t need to be super mom; you just need to keep everyone alive and healthy until the end of the summer.

Ok just alive.

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