For kids, summer vacation is amazing – long days, no school, no homework, few if any responsibilities, playing all day, sleeping in until noon and hanging out until late at night. For parents on the other hand, summer can be far from easy.
Summer vacation means more “work” for parents than the rest of the year. Although you probably booked summer camps in February, there is still a lot to be done. Your schedule can be changing week to week, which may increase everyone’s anxiety levels. If your kids are in day camps, then you might be coordinating rides or chauffeuring them more than usual. If they are not in camps you may be scheduling activities with friends. Your exercise schedule and ability to focus on work can get thrown out of whack. You may find that your pantry and refrigerator are emptier than usual. You might be packing for vacation, coordinating care for your home and pets while you are away, unpacking from trips, all of which takes a toll on your sanity! Your usual home routine goes out the window and it becomes even harder than usual to keep your house organized.
What is a parent to do??
So, when do parents get to recharge their batteries? Moms and dads need a bit of summer vacation too! It’s not easy, especially when your children are younger and vacations can feel less than restful.
- Limit the number of camps and activities. Try to avoid long camp commutes or double booking yourself. Keep the days as stress-free as possible. Book a treat (facial anyone??) for yourself while the kiddos are busy.
- Travel with another family and trade off parent’s night out. This way at you’ll get a kiddo free dinner at least once during your trip. Bring a teenage babysitter along with you on vacation, they can help you mind the children while you sneak away for a nap.
- Send the kids to sleepaway camp, take time off work and plan something you and your spouse liked to do before you had kids (if you can remember that far back!)
- Plan a mom’s getaway weekend. Grab a girlfriend or two, take off for a weekend of nothing but reading books, napping and dining out.
- Plan a dad’s getaway. Golf? Fishing? Mountain biking? Dad knows what he finds restorative.
- If the grandparents are able and willing, ship the kids off for a day or two and take some much-needed R&R at home. No projects, just relaxing!
It takes planning and a little creativity, maybe calling in some favors, but parents deserve and should have a break too.