Summertime! Barbecues, long days, and sunshine, right? What you may have forgotten to factor in is how stir crazy your kids will get and, quite frankly, how much your skin may begin to crawl! You’re armed with ten ways to keep your kids busy, but how do you maintain your own sanity? Here's how I'm coping:
1. Maintain your own friendships, including setting aside a girls' night. For me, this is the ultimate savior, as it’s like free therapy... with wine. Nothing makes you feel better about yourself than knowing your friends’ kids are driving them crazy, too!
2. Wear the kids out. Take them to the park. The beach. The whatever. Just let them run, run, run. You will reap the benefits later when their eyelids get heavy and it’s barely even 8 o’clock.
3. Let the kids entertain themselves. This may seem like it’s contradicting number two, but it’s not. Remember when we were kids and our parents took us to theme parks every other day? Yeah, me neither. They didn't! Allow your kids to find their own entertainment. You’ll be surprised how resourceful they can be with a worm and a bucket of water.
4. Get a babysitter. Many SAHMs and even WAHMs don’t feel like it’s okay to call for help every once in awhile. I finally let this guilt go and now, when I’m bogged down with my to-do list, I drop my kids off at my babysitter’s house. Even a few hours away will pay you back in spades.
5. Delegate tasks to your significant other! Make sure he realizes that summer, while fun, can be stressful for you, too. Be open with him and perhaps he’ll surprise by coming home early more often to help with the crew.
6. Read a book. So many of us put this on the back burner after our kids are born, but there’s nothing better than getting lost in a page turner. Goodreads is a great app if you need suggestions.
7. Exercise. I know, I know, who has the time, right? But your body and your mind will thank you later. It’s such a great stress-reliever, and studies have shown that even light exercise will help you sleep better. Looking for someone to get you motivated? Try Meetup.com!
8. Set a playdate. Just the term has a bit of a negative connotation but when you find “the one,” it’s an entirely different ball game. “What’s ‘the one,’” you ask? “The one” is that mom who you get along with great and your kids get along with her kids great and there is no drama. The end.
9. Let yourself off the hook. This one is particularly hard for mothers. We love to wallow in guilt. It’s in our DNA. The cold, hard truth of the matter is we’re not going to be perfect parents every day. We’re just not. So on that day when you've talked on your cell phone too much or yelled too often or were just generally disengaged, give yourself a pass. Tomorrow will be better.
10. Pamper yourself! Bubble bath with a good book and a glass of wine, anyone? No one deserves it more than us mothers. Better yet, get a massage or book that spa day. Many of us can’t afford them, but there are plenty of deal sites offering them for half off these days — think LivingSocial, Groupon, and Bloomspot.
What do you do to stay sane during the summertime? Sound off below!