5 Tips for Staying Sane This Summer as a Mom

Rachel CruzeBy Rachel Cruze5 Minutes

Moms, I know it can feel like when your kids get a break during summer vacation, your responsibilities shift into high gear. As a mom of three little ones myself, I absolutely love summer, but I’ve also seen firsthand that the “break” can quickly turn into doing more, not less—more playdates, more camps, and more activities to fill the time. Throw in a family trip on top of that (and all the planning, packing, and wrangling that goes with it), and you’ve got a recipe for a summer that’s way more stressful than it’s supposed to be.

I think we can all agree that nothing is fun when mom is stressed, and you should get a chance to relax too. So here are my tips for staying sane over the summer break so you and your family can get the most fun and joy out of the season!

1. Embrace tech-free activities

Listen, we all need to sit our kids down in front of a screen sometimes so we can have a moment of peace. I get it. But while every child’s different, I’ve seriously noticed that my kids are so much calmer and better behaved when they have less screen time. I’m not saying to make them quit cold turkey, but set some summer tech boundaries and focus on fun non-tech activities and see how much of a difference it makes. There are so many simple, budget-friendly activities out there this time of year: water play (pool, sprinklers, or water balloons), bubbles, camping in the backyard or living room, summer reading at the library, nature hikes, indoor or outdoor picnics, crafts, and free events in the community.

Plus, with less temptation to keep the screen time going late into the night, both you and your kids can prioritize sleep (which really makes a big impact on everyone’s moods and overall health).

2. Resist the comparison traps

Speaking of limiting tech, this is a great time to scale back on comparing your life to everyone else’s highlight reel. Remember, your summer doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. It’s okay to do a chill, affordable vacation (or staycation) instead of an elaborate trip to Disney. It’s okay to send your kids to a free art camp at the library instead of the fancy overnight camp their friends are going to. You can enjoy being together as a family and make memories that your kids will have forever without spending a lot or feeling bad if it doesn’t look like a Pinterest board.

3. Put rest on your calendar

I usually find that if I don’t schedule something, it doesn’t happen—and that goes for rest too. The busier you get, the more likely you are to put off resting and tell yourself it’s something you don’t need. Be proactive about scheduling (like actually put it into your calendar) a date night, lunch with a friend, or time to yourself. That way you can do everything you need to do ahead of time, like get a babysitter or family member to help out, to make sure it actually happens.

Also, resist the urge to do something “productive” every time there’s a lull while your kids are playing or napping, and give yourself a second to recharge instead. The vacuuming can wait.

4. Let your kids be bored

Seriously. Sometimes, as moms, we put so much pressure on ourselves to never let our kids be bored. We try to jump in and give them a solution the second they start whining. But it’s okay if they’re bored every once in a while. When their days aren’t packed with activities, they have a lot more space for creativity. That’s not to say you shouldn’t ever plan anything fun, but the next time your kids come to you complaining about being bored, encourage them to look at what they have around them and see what they can come up with.

5. Give them a job

It’s a classic mom move. Your kids are saying they don’t have anything to do? Give them some chores. Age-appropriate jobs help kids learn about earning a commission (not allowance), managing money, and the power of giving, saving, and spending wisely. They can save up for the stuff they really want, and it will help you out in the process.