By Katie Bailey, MA, LPC
The most important point to remember about being a mom with your kids home all summer – it’s okay to need a break. It’s okay to not get everything done all the time. You do not need a Pinterest worthy activity scheduled for your kids at all times. Taking care of your own mental health benefits your children too. Summer time sanity requires you use your year-round coping skills, but also some extra ideas too.
1. Schedule a babysitter to come regularly. Even one morning a week. Having a regular time when you know you can get errands done, take a shower, go for a run, or just be alone can really help manage any stress, depression or anxiety. If you can’t afford a regular babysitter, try to trade play dates with a friend. Chances are she will want a break from her kids too!
2. Make a summer fun list. Get the kids to help you make a list of free, easy activities they can do by themselves at home. Have all the supplies in a box. Then when you hear “I’m bored”, point them to the list and the box!
3. Let your kids play without you. These days it seems like parents feel the need to engage their kids at all times. Kids need unstructured time alone or with other kids to develop creativity and social skills. Even if the kids argue, try not to intervene right away. Kids need practice to develop their own conflict resolution skills.
4. Order your groceries online and have them delivered. Few things are more stressful than taking all your kids to the grocery store! Almost every store has online ordering these days. It’s worth the fee to save you the stress.
5. Exercise. Go for a run, an exercise class, swim, bike ride, whatever you enjoy. Research shows over and over again how exercise is an excellent stress reducer. It also helps manage anxiety and depression. Get moving!
6. Sleep well. Many people, women especially, don’t sleep well. Whether you can’t fall asleep for a long time, or you wake up in the middle of the night, work on your sleep hygiene. Our bodies need sleep to help our brains function well. When our brain is happy, we will manage our emotions better, handle stress better, and lower our anxiety.
7. Date night. Go out with your husband minus your kids. Have fun and enjoy each other. This time together is priceless. You will be investing not only in your own mental well-being, but also your marriage. What is more important than that?
If you are feeling overwhelmed, struggling with depression or want anxiety counseling, please call me for a free phone consultation. We shouldn’t feel guilty when we need a break from our kids, and we shouldn’t feel guilty when we need a little outside help. You don’t have to live life overwhelmed.