Someone once told me, “You have 18 summers with your kids and they’re gone.” I work outside the home and that was a gut punch because it’s true on some levels. Summer as a working mom is harder because your kids aren’t in school. It’s precious time to have fun with your kids while they still want to hang out with you.
So, how does a working mom have some summer fun without quitting her job every ten months?
5 Tips for Working Moms
1. Get a grip on the guilt
To start, I actually hate the term “working mom.” All moms have something in common – we are moms. We’re caretakers of tiny humans who want the best for them all while not losing ourselves in the process. Many times, that comes with guilt. Figure out how to let that go. If you take one thing away from this article to have more fun this summer: stop worrying about whether you’re doing it “right” and focus on being present in the moment.
2. It’s not the hours you put in, it’s what you put into the hours
That saying has stuck with me since it was on the back of a volleyball shirt my freshmen year of high school. The time I spend with my kids is focused on quality, not quantity. Intentionally putting my phone down when I walk in the door and leaving it on the counter until they go to bed is a big piece of our time together after work. Yes, I do glance at it to make sure there’s nothing urgent, but I try to refrain from the mindless scroll.
3. The little things
What do you remember about summer? That carefree feeling of no school and adventures ahead probably came from the little things. Spending a weekend at grandma’s, sharing popsicles with the neighbor kids, and swimming with your friends.
As an extremely scheduled person during the workday, those skills come in handy at home. Planning simple things like pool nights, backyard water-balloon fights, and trips to explore local donut shops are easy ways to put the fun in summer. But, I’ve found I do need to be purposeful with that or we end up just doing random stuff at home.
4. Vacation time
I am very intentional with my vacation time and use as much as I can during the summer. I don’t necessarily take weeks off but would rather use it for afternoons off here and there. That gives our family the time to just hang out together or sneak away to one of Iowa’s beaches for a long weekend.
5. You’re not losing money, you’re gaining memories.
Many times, working moms have a lens on daycare and camps that they’re paying for it so the kids need to go. I take the approach that I am paying for a service to be available to me when I need it. Skipping a few days here and there to make memories with my kids is totally worth it – I’m gaining that, not “losing” money.