Here we are on the 3rd of 3 posts in this series: “A Mama’s Guide to a Fit Summer.” If you missed posts 1 and 2 on exercise and healthy eating, be sure to check them out!
“Space”, both mental and physical, is something hard to come by during the summer! If you are accustomed to having some time to yourself while your kids are in school, then the transition to summer might be difficult! I realize this post might be the most controversial of the 3 in this series. When I talk about having some “space”, it comes with mixed emotions. Some moms think it an absolutely selfish thing.
“You did choose to have these kids, right? You know that with that comes them being with you most if not all the time, right? And most importantly–your number 1 job is being a mom, right?”
Well, sort of.
I guess I’m in the mentality that being a mom IS a priority in my life–and obviously a huge one, but it’s not the ONLY priority in my life. My identity is in Christ and I was made in God’s image, which means my life is multi-faceted. I reflect Him in many different ways–not just as a mom. It means that I’m a friend, a business owner, a ministry leader, a wife, and more. These roles all play a part in my life and I don’t think I have to drop them all because I’m a mom!
With that said, my children are my responsibility! They need me to not only lay the foundation in their life, but to guide, direct, and encourage them in the ways they go. They are my biggest and best legacy. My children are still small (ages 8 and 6) so physically, they need me. Socially, they need me. Pretty much–in every way they need me. And that can be exhausting, especially during the summer!
Enjoying my annual birthday drink at Starbucks! They got a little treat, too!
I understand. Many of you are not overwhelmed by this–or if you are, it’s not a large challenge. For me, it can really exhaust me –not just physically but mentally. What I’ve found over the past few years is that I am a much more introverted person than I ever thought. Am I outgoing? Yes. Am I shy? No. Do I love people? Absolutely. But I’ve found this MUST be tempered by a lot of quiet, alone time.
It’s been an interesting revelation to me–and explains a lot of my behavior in previous years. I didn’t really have a name to put on it until the past year. But because of this, I am able to now understand and explain why I have some of the challenges I do in regards to being a mom, wife, or friend.
So with this said, take these things into consideration with this post:
1) your personality
As I said, some of you don’t even get what I mean. You love being with people–kids or adults–all the time. Noise doesn’t bother you, or you can block it out easily. I am not one of those people 🙂
2) your resources
I am going to mention some things below that just may not work for you because you don’t have access to them. But you may have access to something I don’t. Work with your resources
3) your goals/responsibilities
I also am a part-time stay at home working mom, which means I have to create even more space to get my work done. Some of you work all year long and the summer is a time for you to totally break free from that. We are each different and that’s ok!
So here are some of my best ways to make space (mental and physical) during the summer!
1) Take advantage of early mornings
I mentioned in the first post of this series that waking up early is a great way to get your workouts in. It’s also a great time to focus and center for the day. This year, I have re-engineered my day so that I wake up at 5:30am. That gives me 90 minutes of time to do what I need to do before the kids wake. Is it always easy? No, but my days go much better when I wake up before them. It really sets the tone. I still do this in the summer, although my wake-up is now between 6 and 6:30.
2) Hire sitters (or barter/swap services)
This is definitely more feasible for someone who has money to spare in this area. Before I was working, it was hard to justify a sitter just so I could have some “me” time, however, it was something I did about 1x a month. If you can’t hire, maybe find someone you can barter or swap services with. Also, don’t forget about the swap! I discussed this in my first post with exercise—find another mama who could use some time out and switch those playdates! If you have a family member in town who is willing to watch the kids, ask if there is a morning once a week where you can drop them off. My grandma lives close to me and is WONDERFUL about this! It is a win-win-win situation!!!
3) Do something every day that fills your tank
For me, it’s a workout. (Do you know why? Because it’s 60 minutes of ALONE time! LOL!) I also LOVE to clean my house and/or cook while listening to podcasts. I love it. I do this while the kids are in the backyard or at the neighbors. It really re-centers me. Maybe you love to knit, or read a book, or garden. Do something that fills you up.
4) Institute a quiet or nap time.
I have to admit-this hasn’t been something I’ve been great at with my kids. (They usually fight me on it unless I let them have a device or TV which, to me, defeats the purpose!) But it’s something I have been doing this summer. Set the timer and tell everyone to do something quietly. Read, sleep, draw….and that includes you mom!
5) Get your house in order before you go to bed.
In my opinion, there’s nothing worse than waking up with a messy kitchen and no clue what is going on for the day. If I happen to not get to this during the school year, it’s ok because I can play catch up as soon as they get off to school, but with them home in the summer, as soon as those little feet hit the floor, the mess increases! “Closing up shop” is crucial before I go to bed. A light cleaning of the house and a GENERAL idea of what’s going on the next day helps me rest easy and start the day with a clear mind. That creates a mental RELIEF that goes far beyond any time away from the family.
6) Speak Up
I have recently become a little more vocal about my need for some time. Instead of becoming passive-aggressive when my hubby comes home, I just tell him that I need about 30-60 min to myself if it’s been a rough day. I have a few girlfriends who I share this with too. Sometimes it just feels good to know I’m not alone and to have them cheer me on. Don’t go blabbing all over Facebook, or constantly complain–that’s just word vomit. But also don’t keep your struggle inside.
7) Get over yourself
“Well that’s kind of harsh, Clare!” Yeah, kind of! But I have to tell myself that often! My life isn’t about me. I am here to serve others! So while I need to take care of myself, I also need to realize it isn’t always going to work how I want it to. I literally have to shake off whatever is bothering me, say a quick prayer, and realign my focus. Does that come naturally? No way, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it. This is why it is CRUCIAL for me to stay in the WORD and PRAYER EVERY SINGLE MORNING! It also doesn’t hurt to have some touch points either through a preaching podcast, worship music, or a Godly conversation with a friend! I can confidently say that those things help me to get over myself. 🙂
If you feel overwhelmed by these suggestions, just choose one to try and implement this week! You don’t have to do all of these, only do something that might lighten your load! So I’m totally curious. Do you struggle with this at all? I talk to many friends and honestly, not everyone does! How do you create space in your day? Please leave your thoughts below!
Thank you for being a part of this series! I hope the tips were helpful in giving you some new ideas and a fresh outlook on the summer. And most importantly, I want you to know that you aren’t alone in the summer transition! You are doing a great job, mama!
Oh. My. Goodness. You have described me and how I feel exactly! I feel like I could have written this….I am a SAHM and with summer have just been trying to process some of these very things. It is reassuring and the Holy Spirit confirmed that I am on track with these. I have just started getting up earlier to get my workouts in and have time to center myself each morning with coffee and time in the Word. Great, timely post.
Thank you for this post Claire…it was extremely helpful for me! I will be referring to it often!!! I am an introvert also, love people, but I get totally drained without down time. I work part-time outside of the home and I actually woke up at 5:30 am today (just started this today) so I could get things done before the kids woke up! Thank you so much for the awesome ideas 🙂
I just love your posts! I saw it in my email this morning and couldn’t wait to drop off my kids at school and come home to read it. They still have a little bit of school left because we are from Canada. I am so looking forward to summer and your tips are awesome! God bless you Clare and your family!
Great series! I have recently started listening to podcasts and I was wondering what your faves are.
I really enjoyed this series! Thanks so much. Even though my son is just in preschool, it has been an adjustment not having that time to work that I was accustomed to when he was gone. And like you said…the constant messes being made are always fun 🙂 This week has been really rough, but reading through these posts helped to clarify some thoughts I’d been having. Hope you have a great summer with your kids!
so very true, it has been go go go since the kids got out of school. My eating and exercising have suffered and it has really made me moody. Trying very hard to get back on track today. People also assume I am a wide eyed extrovert, but without down time and alone time – I actually start to feel physically and mentally depressed. Feeling better today and just reading your post was very encouraging!!! And I adore my kids and love hanging with them.
Thanks for the great post! 🙂 This was a blessing to read. I was wondering what time you would suggest going to bed in order to get up at 5:30 am. I have recently felt prompted to get up early, but my only time with my husband happens after 8 or 8:30 usually. Thanks for any suggestions and thanks again for this great post! 🙂
Hey Shelby! Everyone will differ on how much sleep they need so I wouldn’t want to say what time you need to hit the sack! I usually wake around then and aim for between 10 and 11pm. Some days I need a small cat nap early afternoon. I try and look at the week as a whole and make sure that overall, I got 7-8 hrs per night but again, that will differ for everyone!