Summer is in full swing; the Fourth of July is just around the corner; soccer, lacrosse, and baseball schedules are making your head spin. Your kids complain of boredom, but never seem to tire of watching TV or playing Xbox...Whether you work outside of the home, or stay home with your kids, moms often feel that it is exceedingly difficult to carve out the space necessary to care for themselves during the summer months. Attempting to figure out creative, cost-effective strategies to meet our children's physical, emotional, and relational needs can be exhausting and leaves little time for moms to focus on their own needs.
But there's hope yet! The time is now to make your Fourth of July "freedom resolution" by practicing the following four essential self-care tools. that will allow you to maximize your fun, minimize your stress, and let the sun shine in for the remainder of summer:
1. Develop and adhere to a realistic schedule.
Find a balance between overscheduling and underscheduling. If you are at home with your kids, make sure you create some structure to your day. Engage in activities that put you in contact with other moms:
- Go to parks, neighborhood pools or lakes, where kids will find other kids to play with and you can connect with other moms.
- Find camps to enroll your kids in (some neighborhood park camps are FREE!), so you can grab a few hours a day to yourself and know your kids will be happy and engaged.
- If you work, make sure you have some down time, some "you time," after work, even if it is in the evening after your kids go to sleep. Sit out on your deck and have a glass of wine with a neighbor friend.
- Take an evening stroll around the block.
- Whether you work or stay home, if your kids are in sports, I have one essential word for you: carpool. Do not go about all that driving alone! Make friends with other parents on your child's team and discuss a rotating driving schedule whenever possible.
And if I am stuck sitting in the car for over an hour driving to a game, I have been known to take a few (or several) laps around the soccer or baseball field during my child's game to clear my head and move my body.
2. Ignite summer lovin'!
Make time for you and your partner to connect amidst the chaos. Enlist grandma, auntie, cousin, or neighbor, or a babysitter to watch the kids and get out of the house with your partner.
Mix things up:
- Go to a drive-in diner or movie.
- Play putt putt golf.
- Pack a picnic lunch or dinner.
- Go for a walk or hike.
You may have to miss Joey's soccer game to make that happen, but your relationship with your partner needs time and attention to keep sizzling during the summer (and every other season, as well). And it's good for your soccer player to understand that parents need their time together, and that they'll be at the next game (holding hands and smiling contently).
3. Connect with your inner child.
Allow yourself to feel the joy associated with the "lazy days of summer." Even though a mother's responsibilities do not lessen in the summer--in fact, they often increase--make sure to seize opportunities for fun and joy. Go outside and play! Depending on your climate, take advantage of the outdoors as often as possible. As a Minnesotan, our summer months are few and far between; therefore, they're sacred!
There is not better way for you and your family to have fun together get some exercise, and connect with nature than to take walks, bike rides, or hikes. Go swimming, play tag, kickball, or soccer. Give yourself a little more wiggle room on bedtimes and rigid schedules. Allow your kids to play outside a little longer in the evening so you can enjoy more moments of quiet in the house (alone or with your partner). Enjoy the deliciousness of summer eats by savoring the taste of juicy watermelon or your favorite ice cream flavor on a hot, sunny day.
4. Secure your boundaries and release yourself from guilt.
Take time each morning to map out how you will recharge yourself during the day. A walk around the block during your lunch break, giving yourself permission to say "no" to your child when she wants you to swim with her, but you really need time to sit in a nearby chair and chat with a friend, read a book, or relax by yourself for a few peaceful moments while watching her splash around. Remind yourself that meeting your needs this summer is equally as important as meeting your children's needs.
So, moms, as we approach our country's holiday of freedom, remember to claim your right to happiness, freedom, and independence this Fourth of July! Stay true to yourself and be intentional caring for yourself each day so you will be better able to find joy in your family and freedom in the magic of summer.
Extra, Extra: Special Fourth of July Giveaway!
As a way to celebrate freedom this Fourth of July, I would love to offer you a free copy of my book. All I ask is that you take a moment to find gratitude for all the ways that you are free. And even though many mothers admit to sometimes feeling "trapped" within the confines of motherhood--I certainly have felt that way at times--please head over to my Facebook page and leave a comment where you see this post. Write about what you do regularly that makes you feel free. For me, I find freedom in writing, taking nature walks, and spending time with friends.
- Giveaway of my book, The Self-Care Solution: A Modern Mother's Must-Have Guide to Health and Well-Being
- Head over to my Facebook page and like it.
- Then find this post.
- Comment (even one word will do!) on what makes you feel free to enter in the giveaway.
I'll pick TWO winners on July 5th! See you over on Facebook!