The weather has finally picked up, and summer feels like it’s here at last. The last fun-packed half term is in full swing, and the six-week school summer holidays are on the horizon.
No more clock-watching and hurrying the kids up to get dressed and brush their teeth.
No more homework.
No more racing to get to pick up on time.
Just lazy mornings and lots of fun in the sun (fingers crossed!)
Oh yeah. But there’s a job to do or a business to run! If you’re already starting to dread the school summer holiday juggle, you’re not alone.
The mum guilt is real! If you stay at home with your children, you feel guilty you’re not earning enough money to provide them with the amazing experiences everyone else seems to be having.
If you work full-time, you feel guilty you’re not spending enough time with them.
If you work part-time or run your own business, you feel you’re not doing a great job at parenting OR work! It’s a lose-lose situation.
BUT have you ever stopped to think about where the mum guilt is coming from? It’s simply the expectations we’re setting for ourselves and then thinking we’re falling well short of our mental high bar. It’s time to stop!
Screen time is inevitable. The house will be messy, the kids will argue, and they will eat you out of house and home!
But, with a few survival strategies, you CAN endure the school summer holidays. I promise! Here are 10 top tips for you…
1. Get real!
None of us are perfect. We’re all simply doing the best we can with the resources we have. When you stop trying to do everything perfectly and just do everything as well as you can, it takes a whole heap of pressure off.
But look at what everyone else is getting up to on Facebook and Insta, I hear you say. Yes, but don’t compare yourself to the carefully curated snippet you see of someone else’s life. You don’t see the piles of washing, the meltdowns or the mum locking herself in the loo to get two minutes of peace!
You don’t have to pack your summer with wall-to-wall activities. It’s about quality time and making memories, but also knowing your limits and being ok with that!
2. Get organised
Think of all the ways you can be a little bit more organised this summer:
- Put a load of washing in the machine once the kids have gone to bed, ready to switch on first thing (or put it on a timer if your washer has one!)
- Put cereals, bowls and spoons out on the dining table, so the kids can help with their own breakfast when they get up.
- Make some sandwiches ready for lunch the next day.
- Kids seem to eat so many snacks during the holidays, don’t they?! Use online delivery or click-and-collect services to take the hassle out of your weekly shop.
- Aim to get up before the kids and spend 10 minutes answering emails. Obviously, making calls at this time won’t go down well with your clients or co-workers but decide what calls need to be made and plan some time in your day to get these done.
- Draw up a rota of tasks that will need doing. For example, cleaning for 10-15 minutes a day will put a huge dent in the chores that still need doing.
- Create a box of quiet time activities – magazines, jigsaws, colouring books etc., for when it all gets a bit much, and you need 10 minutes peace and a cuppa.
- Are your kids book worms? If so, is your local library running a summer reading challenge for them to take part in which will not only keep them busy, but hopefully quiet too?!
3. Buddy up!
Chances are your friends will be in EXACTLY the same position as you and pulling their hair out trying to work out how to manage everything.
Arrange days where you swap your kids. Not only do the kids get to spend quality time with their besties, but you also know that for set days in the holidays, YOU can have some uninterrupted time to tackle your workload.
4. Call in the calvary
Do your kids have aunts, uncles or grandparents who are dying to take them out for the day?
Call upon family members who have been there, done that and bought the over-priced t-shirt. The kids will love exploring and making memories with relatives, and you can pat yourself on the back for making your kids happy and the in-laws as well! Win-win.
5. Tire them out
Kids are like puppies. Give them lots of exercise first thing, and they should be a lot calmer in the afternoon! I think we’re all starting to feel the squeeze on our family budgets but getting exercise doesn’t have to cost the earth.
Head to your local park or nature reserve, take them swimming or go on a bike ride. Then once they’ve used lots of that endless energy they seem to have (I wish they’d give us some!), head home for a family film or quiet reading in their bedrooms, whilst you catch up on a bit of work.
6. Fill up their attention buckets
Kids have attention buckets… fill them up regularly, and you should notice a reduction in constant interruptions, nagging, and whining! Leaving you to hopefully get on with plenty of productive tasks.
Get out a board game, play catch or get the kids helping with some housework. Why not stick on some tunes and dust, weed the garden, or wash the windows/car? Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can be the more memorable!
7. Find activities where you can catch up on a bit of work
Soft play and trampoline parks are like marmite; you either love them or hate them! Sure, they’re noisy and hot, but they’re also a perfect activity for tiring your children out whilst you sit and answer a few emails!
8. Holiday clubs
They can be expensive but using them for the odd day or one day a week can really take the pressure off the looming break. Again, your kids will love catching up with classmates and doing so many fun activities. They definitely won’t be bored!
9. Don’t be a martyr
It’s easy to take lots on and then feel cross that nobody else is helping out, and it’s all fallen on you YET AGAIN. Be mindful of what you say yes to and whether you have the capacity to deliver it over the next few months.
Make sure you’re approaching the summer holidays as a team. Your children’s other parent should also be doing their fair share, taking days off if possible and pulling their weight with keeping on top of the house and food shopping.
10. Remember to factor in some self-care EVERY SINGLE day; you’ll need it!
It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Go for a walk around the neighbourhood, read your book for 20 mins or take a bath. You’ll spend a lot of time attending to the needs of others, so it’s important you recognise you also have needs. If not, you’re going to find yourself sliding towards burnout pretty darn quickly.
I hope these tips have helped – you CAN do this! I wish you the best of luck and hope you all have fantastic school summer holidays with your little people.