I think one of the biggest issues that Moms have in the summer when they are trying to spend more time playing with their kids, is managing everything else that needs to get done like cooking, cleaning, shopping, and exercising. And if you are a work-from-home Mom like me, trying to string together some quiet hours to tackle work-related tasks and projects is no small feat. Not to mention finding the time to do the things that you enjoy during the summer like gardening, reading, and hiking.
So how are you going to “do it all”? Well, mostly- you're not. Something's gotta give. Schedules have to flex from the routines that we are used to following during the school year. I've been working on my own plans for staying organized this summer and wanted to share them here with you. Here are my tips on how to stay organized this summer so you can spend time with your kids, stay on top of your work, and find some time to yourself.
Re-think your daily routine
During the school year I get up by 5:30am so that I can check my email, shower and be ready for the day before I head downstairs to help the kids get ready for school. Then I spend the next two hours getting kids up and out the door and dealing with household tasks like starting the laundry and unloading the dishwasher, so my “work day” usually starts at 8:30am. But during the summer I need to change up that routine- because mornings are the only time of day that my house is quiet which means it is the perfect time for me to focus on work!
So my plan is to get up at the same time- but immediately head into my home office and work until 9:30am. Then I'll hop in the shower and get ready for the day. My kids will be instructed that my time is off-limits until 9:30am (just pretend I am sleeping!) and they are free to get their own breakfast if they are up before then.
The rest of the daytime hours are dedicated to hanging with my kids, finding some time to exercise (hopefully with them!) and tackling household tasks once in a while too. But after dinner it's back to my home office to work for another hour or two.
Get your kids more involved with chores
As my kids get older their ability to help out more around the house increases as well. During the school year I ask them to help with dinner prep and clean up, picking up after themselves and a few other chores here and there. But during the summer when they have more time on their hands, they will work with me to tackle all of the household chores- from laundry to cleaning the house.
However, don't think we'll be using any fancy chore charts with reward systems here- I will assign tasks on the fly based on what I need done, and I will work alongside of them as we do it. For example- I'll clean the bathrooms while they vacuum and dust the adjoining rooms. This means no one gets away with putting off what I asked them to do because they are working while I am working!
Don't forget to menu plan!
Unless you want to hear the constant chorus of “Mom- what's for dinner?” every day while you rack your brain trying to think of something quick and easy to make- I highly encourage you to get into the habit of menu planning. Your summer dinners should be simple and easy (I love to prepare cool salads served with something grilled!). If you take 10 minutes to plan your meals out for the entire week, your grocery shopping will go faster and you'll never have to think on your feet at dinnertime!
Figure out when you are going to carve out time for yourself
Pencil it in on your calendar if needed- but this is important! And keep in mind that time for yourself doesn't necessarily mean time alone. Hiking or biking with the kids for exercise counts as “me time” too. I also plan to give myself at least 30 minutes of time to read at night before bed all summer long… something I rarely make time for during the school year. I already have my book picks loaded onto my Kindle!
Limit your “to do” list
Yes, I always have a detailed and long-running to do list, and I am sure you do too. So take some time to figure out which projects are going to be placed on the “back burner” for now, until the kids are back in school. And give yourself permission to completely forget about them until September. (ahhh…..)
How are you going to stay organized this summer?