Summer as a Stay at Home Mom
When you start toying with the idea of being a stay at home mom, everyone warns you about the never-ending laundry, the housework, the constant snacks and how your husband inevitably assumes you will take over all the responsibility in the home… But the secret that nobody warns you about is S. U. M. M. E. R!!!
Summer will make or break you. You are either the free spirited wild child mom who lives for the late nights and schedule free days… (please reveal yourself – I cannot relate). Or you are like the rest of us and its novel for a week and then the cries for mercy begin.
If you find yourself at a place in your life where you can pay for camps and sitters and vacations and outings…well then you are indeed very blessed.
When I first became a stay at home, and therefore lost my extra income, extras like camps weren’t an option for us. I had to create my own kind of summer camp. A schedule the kids and I could predict and plan around. I literally ran it like Camp Coleman, right down to the meal times. (Prior to that I would stand in the kitchen all day doling out snacks like an all-inclusive resort.)
My first summer as a stay at home mom my kids were 9,6 and 1. So we were in the thick of nap schedules for the littlest, lots of resounding “I’m bored” proclamations from the middle, and the oldest constantly wanting to use electronics. I had to factor all these things in when creating our daily schedule. Maybe you find yourself in a similar situation. If the kid’s ages are different than this but you land in my camp (the non-free bird mother), then here is my one-word advise to you to survive the summer with your sanity in tact: SCHEDULE.
I was able to plan for one field trip day a week. We would hit up a museum, water park, or any other place I found on groupon. The kids knew to expect this on a Friday.
Here is a sample of my (long ago) Summer Schedule:
7:30 Wake up / Breakfast / get ready for the day / reading or a math worksheet
9-10:30 Gym (because child care = sanity, even if I “stretch” in the corner for an hour)
10:45-11:30 Play with toys
12:00-1pm (or later – lets be real) Electronics while baby naps
Afternoon swim / park / splash pad / play date
5:30 Dinner (because I’d be so done…)
Obviously this would fluctuate and have some natural variables, but I would try to post the schedule on the refrigerator to help them manage their time and manage my sanity.
Looking back now, it’s hard to even remember the daily ins and outs of this season of life, but I do remember the adjustments were TOUGH, the days were long, and the baby schedule made it even trickier.
Even though I am in a very different phase of life now…more kids and my youngest child being 5, I still find routine to be king. I’m a planner, and if I don’t plan, my kids seem to eat 65 meals in a day and watch 14 hours of tv…it gets away from me quickly. Even now, I print out two large calendars for June and July and get to work filling out the weeks. Having a tangible schedule in front of me helps me stay sane and gives us all things to look forward to, whether its vacation days or football camp, it helps to see whats coming.
Moms of little ones, moms who are new to staying home, working moms who are scrambling for summer childcare that won’t cost more than a European Vacation – I see you all. It’s not easy, but it will be soon. And as soon as we get good and comfy, we will get to experience summer break when our college kids come home from school and seem to forget everything we ever taught them. (Stay tuned for next summer, when this will likely be my life).
Stay sane, and have fun!