Passionate About Cincinnati
and the Moms Who Live Here

The Do’s and Don’ts of Summer Vacation

Congratulations! You made it to another summer vacation! If you are a mom, you probably fall into one of three categories when it comes to mixing parenthood and summer:

  1. You are new to the mom scene, and still in the new baby haze, thinking, “What month is it??”
  2. You are a working mom thinking, “How am I going to juggle the already precarious balance of childcare-work-life now that school is out??”
  3. You are a stay-at-home-mom who is thinking, “How am I going to keep everyone from going insane with the kids home 24/7 during summer vacation??”

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with some Do’s and Don’ts for enjoying your summer vacation as a mother of kids.

Museums are top on our list during summer vacation. We recently enjoyed the butterfly exhibit at Krohn Conservatory!

Do Make a Plan for Summer Vacation

I am a planner, I am not going to lie. My love is for to-do lists and maps and clear directions. Also, I think that kids thrive on more structure, rather than less. Even if you aren’t a die-hard planner, it’s helpful to come up with some guidelines for the summer. For example, in our family:

  • Every morning we do chores, then one hour of reading, writing, piano and math (in a fun way) to keep those skills learned in the school year from sliding over the summer, followed by free-play.
  • Every afternoon we have a two hour block for resting and TV-watching (and computer-time for this work-at-home mom), followed by a planned excursion:
    • Mondays & Thursdays we have a list of parks, museums, and playgrounds we are rotating through and checking out.
    • Tuesdays are Library Day.
    • Wednesdays are Pool Day.
    • Fridays are Park Day.
  • I have a Pinterest Board FILLED with ideas for bored kids to pull out and make a suggestion for those times when all else fails and the boredom just cannot be beat.

Don’t Follow the Plan

Yes. You read that right. I have a plan and I don’t intend to follow it.

Religiously anyway.

I view my summer plan/schedule as the safety net beneath us to keep us from going totally feral over the summer {been there, done that, and it’s not pretty}. Part of the fun of summer is spontaneity and relaxation, and so we keep ourselves flexible and open to changing plans for playdates, or pajama and movie days, plain laziness, and even the good kind of boredom {more on that in a minute}.

The key here, though, is trying to keep the rhythm as much as possible. It is also in noticing when the flexibility is starting to turn south, and having “the plan” as your reset button to keep everyone going and avoiding the spiral downward.

We enjoyed a family weekend trip to Lake Erie.

Do Take Time to Rest

Summer is about rest and relaxation. It’s a reset for kids from schoolwork and a super rigid schedule. So embrace it. Sometimes that even means letting the kids be bored. Healthy boredom gives little brains a break from the constant stimulation and structure so that they have time to find creativity and enjoyment in the simple things in life.

Don’t Expect Summer to Be a Vacation

On the flip side, though, summer vacation as a mom just isn’t what it was like back when you were a kid. Now that you are in charge, there is no such thing as a complete and total break when the kids are around. I think recognizing that not every moment is going to be fun and carefree is helpful to keeping perspective as a parent. Be sure to find ways to fill your own cup, so that you do get some of the downtime too. It’s important.

Sometimes summer vacation means family-fun at home, baking cookies!

Don’t Feel Guilty

When the sh** hits the fan, don’t feel guilty. It’s going to. The kids are going to meltdown, you are going to lose your cool {it is summer after-all}. Despite your best effort, it’s not all going to feel carefree and awesome. The good news is, this too shall pass.

Do Make the Memories

We only get 18 summers with each of our children. That’s not a lot at the end of the day. Think about the ways that you and your family can enjoy this time and season together. Some ways to do this are:

  • Scheduled vacations or stay-cations.
  • Create a Summer Bucket List as a family {or take our Summer Bucket List Challenge!}
  • Carve out a day or night or two a week, even if you still work full-time. Get outdoors, go to the pool, stay up late to catch fireflies.
  • Brainstorm unique family traditions that you can do each summer.

What about you?

How do you enjoy summer vacations as a mom? What are some of your survival do’s and don’ts?

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