Ask any mother you know and she will probably admit having somewhat of a love hate relationship with summer. While the care-free agenda of open schedules, less routine and more time together sounds ideal, it can also be a very overwhelming time. Trying to create a nostalgic experience of summer while maintaining work schedules can stir-up feelings of guilt. Balancing the needs of children in different developmental stages can leave any mother feeling like she is failing in more ways than she is succeeding. And let’s face it, even your children’s behaviors can be a trigger for frustration and low-stress tolerance. The thought of having to manage those behaviors all summer long seems daunting. If you are feeling more hate towards the summer months ahead than love. Try using these three ideas to help yourself feel more engaged and excited for the dog days of summer.
Respond Instead of React
Establish a mindset centered around responding instead of reacting. A powerful shift takes place when we think about responding to something instead of reacting to it. In this case, the emotional load of summer. Instead of reacting to the challenging aspects summertime creates. Think about how you can respond to them. Prepare ahead by thinking about your own unique stress-points. Time, energy, resources, and interest can be taken into consideration to make the shift from reacting to responding.
Have a Summer Theme
Create a plan for your summer based off what you want most from it. By working backwards from your end goal you can intentionally create opportunities to respond not react. Structuring the main events (or lack thereof) based off your end goals for summer decreases susceptibility to comparison and wasted energy spent chasing ‘it all.”
Use Being Scheduled Free to Your Advantage
Give your permission to do (or be) one thing at a time. Use the flexibility your open schedule summer creates in your favor. Maybe planning out your week based off weekly needs instead of daily ones. That way each day you can decide what is most important to do based off the resources you have. Focus on one role at a time creates a way to increase your productivity while feeling accomplished which is an important motivator for all of us.
There is so much about summer that is enjoyable and fun, especially here in Utah. It can be a time of adventure and trying new things. It can be a time to slow down and get respite from the busyness of the school year. By establishing a mindset of responding instead of reacting you can be prepared for whatever comes your way. Creating a plan for your summer opens opportunities to be intentional with your time and energy. Having directions gives you the ability to enjoy more fully what is important to you and not get as caught up in comparing what those around you are doing. Lastly by giving yourself permission to do one thing at a time allows you a chance to feel satisfied with the job you do. Using these three tools allows you to balance the positive and negative aspects of the emotional load summer creates.