The summer holidays are well underway, the kids are home, the sun cream is being slathered on, and the sticky ice lolly fingers are everywhere. It’s a lovely time with the kids, sharing holidays, making memories, and the whole family is ready for an afternoon nap. While the fun starts, for parents - so does the stress! With responsibilities still needing to be met, trying to get work done, keeping the kids entertained and content, and the dog still needing to be walked. So, keep reading to find some tips on finding a moment of peace for you amongst the chaos of the summer holidays!
While schools are out, we might be looking forward to some much needed rest and recuperation - not to mention, a break from the school run. But kids are kids, plans and hopes don’t always go smoothly. Sibling snaps, teenage mood swings, temper tantrums, backseat bickering - it all goes on and who’s surprised when we’re all at home together.
We might not be surprised, but we might have been hoping for a more peaceful time, smiling faces, laughing together, always having a nice time - the dream. However, it's just not realistic, and accepting this can take some of that pressure we put on ourselves to have a lovely, lovely time, off.
Finding time for you
Even while it’s all fun and games, and everyone’s having a good time, it can be a stressful time for us parents. When we’re looking after everyone else, being the entertainment, the cleaner, the chef and sun cream applicator, it leaves us very little time for us to relax and re-energise - so it’s important to try to find even a slither of time for you.
Our energy levels, patience, and moods deplete while we’re taking care of our kids, houses, pets, jobs, the laundry and the kitchen menu. So finding time for ourselves can help us to replenish these so we can keep going even after the mid-afternoon nap.
If you’re reading this thinking, ‘there’s no time’ or ‘my kids won’t leave me alone’, we wouldn’t blame you, at all! But fear not, we’ve got some crafty ideas for a moment alone (that doesn’t include hiding in the bathroom or pretending to go for a really long poo).
Do something you enjoy
Whether it’s an early morning before the kids are up, or a late evening when they’re all tucked up in bed, maybe you’ll even get the chance to escape for the afternoon. Spend some time doing something you enjoy: drinking hot tea or coffee, attempting a crossword or sudoku, journaling for a bit or squeezing in some exercise.
Enlist your support
Finding time for ourselves is really tricky when we’ve got kids, so using our support systems and asking for help is important. Pack the kids of to the grandparents for a few days (just clear it with them first), do a child-swap with another parent-friend (your’s go to them for a day, their’s come to you for a day), find an activity camp or club to entertain the kids in the day.
Plan a home spa day
Spa days are a great way to relax, but organising one isn’t always an option. Give it a go at home and get the kids involved, use a washing up bowl for a foot soak, supply cucumber slices for a cooling eye mask, make some refreshing lemonade to quench your thirst, or even lounge in the kids paddling pool. Of course, it won’t quite be the real thing but that bit of self-care and convincing the kids to stay quiet might be the break you were looking for - especially if you can’t escape them!
Make the most of distractions
A bit of screen time while the kids are off taking over the playground, playing happily together, watching a movie, whatever they’re doing that’s got them quiet (ish) and not needing you or clinging to you… make your move! Whether you use it to lay down for 10 minutes, read a couple of pages of the book that’s been on your bedside table for months, or catch up on some house work or emails.
There’s not a great deal of time to spare in the summer holidays, so do what you can and what works for your family. Even if it’s only half an hour one morning a week let yourself rest and relax without feeling guilty, worrying about what needs doing, thinking about those dirty dishes piling up or chasing work demands.
Summer lovin’: The parental guilt of not making the most of summer is enough for many of us to fill every second with memory-making fun. It’s exhausting though, so go easy on yourself when moods swing, tears erupt and the day-trip plans go straight down the drain before you’ve finished breakfast. And take that time for you so you can enjoy them too - it’s your summer as well after all.