A Working Mom’s Guide to Summer


Summer vacation for working moms isn’t the blissful ideal we all imagined. Today we’re talking about how one full time working mom to four kids copes with summer vacation expectations versus realty.

summerSummer as a kid, you wait all school year for it. Sleeping in, trips to the pool, freedom to do what you want when you want.

Reality as working moms, summer is not really that different than the rest of the year and sometimes, especially as a mom, summer is more stressful – entertaining bored kids, navigating long days in the heat, coordinating different schedules, and creating new, temporary routines.

As a working mom, you want to give your kids all the joys that summer vacation has to offer, but due to the nature of the corporate workday, that isn’t always possible to deliver in a traditional way. (Here’s our full summer camps guide, if you’re looking for our team’s best recommendations for local day camps.)

But that doesn’t mean summer has to be all work and no play…build a plan for these months that gives you and your kids a summer to look forward to while you keep that mama hustle going.

Here are a few ideas to get you going:

Plan some reason-free time off

Seems obvious, but I know for me, taking time off when I don’t have a specific reason seldom happens. I also know if I don’t have the time blocked off on my calendar in advance, it is much harder to take off last minute because I am not planning for the time away.

Whether you pick a few days or one day, having time for a “vacation” day will give you a chance to use it as you need it. Maybe it is a fun surprise for the kids, maybe you stay home and catch up on laundry, either way no one has ever said “I wish I didn’t take that time off.” 

Here’s a few tips for taking the time off work, if you need more encouragement.

Don’t over-schedule the weekends

This point doesn’t only apply to summer…I tend to do this year round.

Trying to make up for the time I am not doing fun/exciting things with my kids during the weekdays, I fill our weekends with plans – back to back parties, extra time in the pool, seeing a new movie, going to some local event.

Then all of a sudden it is Sunday night, we’re all exhausted and now I am stressed about making it through another busy week.

Plans are great, but your kids’ lives will be more enriched with one out of the house activity and lots of quality time at home vs. a constant stream of entertainment. Embrace the quality over quantity mantra this summer. Contributor Cara said it best in this post, Home is Where We’ll Be.

Soak up the sunlit evening hours

The time that spans the end of the workday and bedtime seems to go by in an instant – traffic, dinner, baths, bedtime routines.

Could you double up on duties one night to create some time on another? Do some dinner meal prep on the weekend, skip a day for bath night, save your lunch hour for the end of the day and sneak out early to avoid some peak time traffic.

Then use it to enjoy the evening – the weather should be a little cooler than the peak of the day, right? Go for a night swim, walk to get ice cream, play a game. Nothing too crazy, just some quality time that feels like summer. (Here’s our full Arizona summer bucket list full of easy to implement activities for busy moms.)

At the end of the day, just keep things simple and enjoy your summer, mamas!


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