Guest Post by Lori Verni-Fogarsi
“The Joyous and Dreadful Dog Days of Summer”
The problem? You do all of this and when you look at the clock, it’s still only 11:00 am! Already exhausted, we say to ourselves, Man, what am I supposed to do with them the rest of the day?
Yes, there are many joyous aspects about summer, not the least of which is having time to play with our kids. Yet for many moms it can feel overwhelming to have to entertain the children every moment with no time for our other responsibilities. Or, heaven forbid, our Selves! For me, there’s the additional aspect of needing at least a few hours a day to get my work done in my home office.
My answer? Finding balance. Also (unpopularly) known as setting limits, delegating tasks, and drawing the line. This occurred to me about four summers ago, when I was writing my novel, “Momnesia,” which is about a mom finding balance between her family and her Self. Coincidence? Probably not.
For example, rather than making every single day jam-packed with entertaining the children as if I were a circus act, I’ve decided that I am entitled to enjoy my summers too. Because the truth is, we moms are no fun when we’re exhausted, resentful, and have more mosquito bites than our body’s toxicity level can withstand.
Here are a few of the ways that I strive to maintain balance during our summer months:
- We either go to the pool before lunch or after, but not at a time that requires me to bring the lunch with us.
- I use coupons, buy in bulk, and still consider it a splurge, but we use the oh-so-easy spray sunscreen instead of lotion. It makes an actual difference in my life.
- Each child has household chores to do every single day. This may be as simple as emptying all the little wastebaskets, or more advanced like pulling weeds, but either way it teaches them to be productive members of the family, builds confidence, and takes some of the load off my plate. And no, I don’t feel guilty… remember when they used to go to school all day?
- Multitask kid and adult activities, such as inviting some of your friends over in the evening and setting the kids loose in the yard with glow sticks, firefly jars, and other things that don’t require your personal involvement.
- Just say no. I’m not talking about drugs (although obviously we say no to them too). I’m talking Twister. Or Candyland. Or whatever game it is that you’ve already played a million times. Repeat after me: “No, thank you. Mommy is going to relax right now.”
- Save screen time for the time of day you’d like to have free. By not allowing it all the time, it’s special instead of boring.
- Create an emergency stash of quiet activities like crafts, puzzles, and origami. Keep them hidden and pull them out when needed.
- Kids not cooperating? Remember, the idea is to get your children doing some things independently. Set parameters such as “After you’ve done your summer workbook pages on your own, we’ll eat lunch, then go in the sprinkler.” Be consistent! If they don’t do it without your policing, don’t put on the sprinkler! It will only take a few days before they learn that they have “summer jobs” to do in order to earn their fun activities. (No, it is not cruel to have them do something productive a few hours each day. Remember when they went to school all day? They can play and relax the other 21 hours of the day!)
- Get a babysitter occasionally. Even if only for a few hours so you can run some errands, meet a friend for lunch, or have a slice of pizza with your husband.
- Don’t just pray… trade! Instead of wishing both of your kids would get invited to a play date on the same day and time, arrange it! Offer to watch a friend’s kids for an afternoon or an overnight, and ask them to do the same!
I hope you’ve enjoyed some of my summer “balancing methods” and I’ll bet you can think of some of your own! Feel free to share them in the comment section below!
Lori Verni-Fogarsi is the author of the hot new novel, "Momnesia". She has been a freelance writer, columnist, journalist, and seminar speaker for 15+ years, and has authored one nonfiction book, "Everything You Need to Know About House Training Puppies and Adult Dogs," which has been widely acclaimed in its genre. Lori is a happily married mom of two, stepmom of two more, and has two cats, both rotten. She invites you to learn more at www.LoriTheAuthor.com and join her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/