10 Effective Summer Break Tips for Work-at-Home Moms
Being a work-at-home mom during summer break can be a beast. The kids are home, arguing and bothering you about the most mundane things. The sun is shining outside and you're so tempted to ditch your laptop and go soak up some rays. Finding and paying for childcare can be a budget killer and you feel guilty you aren't spending more time with your kids.
Every year you vow this summer will be different, but it always turns out the same. What can you do? Here are some tips for making it through — with your sanity intact and your to-do list accomplished.
Decide when you will work and when you will play — then stick to it. Easier said than done, right? Following through is a skill you can master with practice. Remember, when you stick to your plan and get the work done when you say you’ll do it, you can enjoy the rest of your day without the unfinished task in the back of your mind.
I plan my entire upcoming week on Sunday, including meals, appointments, and specific work tasks. It’s been a game-changer.
2Ask for Help
Whether you ask family or hire a sitter, enlisting someone to help with the kids can make all the difference. They can keep the kids entertained so you can laser-focus on finishing your tasks, freeing up space for quality time with the kids later. If money is tight and you don’t have family available, you might try nanny sharing. This involves two families sharing the cost of a nanny who alternates between both homes. A nanny share arrangement may also involve the kids from both families spending time together, so make sure there are clear expectations regarding your arrangement.
3Enroll the Kids in Summer Camps Near You
Day camps or sleepover camps can be a lifesaver for keeping the kids active, engaged, and cared for while you get things done. You’d be surprised by the variety of camps available for every kind of interest you can imagine. Art camp, theater camp, science camp, sports camp, church camp, and more.
4Take Time Off
If you own your business or have a flexible schedule, consider scaling back during the summer and ramping up during the school year. If you work for someone else, consider reserving most of your PTO or time off for summer vacation so you can spend more time with the kids.
5Leverage Screen Time
Ok, I may get some flack for this from the advocates of no screen time, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I give my kids screens when I really need to focus or get on calls and then we have scheduled park and swim time after.
Screen time privileges are a major motivator for my kids to do their chores. In fact, they’ll do anything I say to get their screen time. Which leads me to the next tip.
My kids get a list of chores they have to finish before they can play video games or watch TV. Chores could include:
- Emptying and loading the dishwasher
- Folding laundry
- Practicing piano or other instruments
- Yard work
- Cleaning toilets
- Cleaning out garbage cans
- Washing windows
- Washing the car
- Disinfecting door knobs
Sign the kids up for a reading challenge or summer reading program at your local library. Set a timer for quiet reading while you focus on work. You can even bring your laptop to the library and work while they participate in the kids library activities. Our library has rewards for reading and the kids love it. You can even come up with extra rewards for a certain amount of books read.
Some schools offer summer classes. Contact your local school district to see what they offer.
9Take Time for Yourself
Summer is fun and I love having my kids around more, but mom burnout is real. When I need some alone time, I’ve learned to take it by scheduling it in. Soaking in the tub, going for a walk by myself, reading a novel out on the patio, or going out to lunch alone are some of my favorite things to do. Choose something that restores your sanity so you can be present the rest of the day.
10Let Perfection Go
Try to accept that, sometimes,the house will be messy, meals will consist of crackers, cheese and popsicles, and that water from sprinklers or pools may get all over the floor. And you know, what? None of it matters. Let it go. You can clean it up later (or make the kids do it, ha!). You also don’t have to feel guilty for not being able to fit in all the activities. Do the best you can and know you’re an amazing woman rocking her multiple roles.
The Bottom Line
You can do this. Get creative to find solutions that work best for your family and then get out there and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts. And if you need more suggestions on how to balance work life while the kids are home during the summer, check out these tips for moms.