As someone with young kids, I used to dread the coming of summer, when the daily routines that we worked so hard to build were kicked out the window by fighting siblings and hungry teens (why are they always hungry?!)
The executive function demanded in the planning of day trips and the chaos of later bedtimes didn't help either. And the mess! So much never-ending mess! It made my brain hurt!
After my first israeli summer, I started googling "advice for surviving summer as a mom" and found lots of suggestions like these:
Get up an hour before your kids and meditate/pray/strategize your day (OK for me that’s like 5am)
Batch cook meals (oh the planning involved in that!)
Create a summer schedule for the kids that includes chore time, summer school work and constructive free time (yeah, that will go down well).
If you work for I'm home, take your laptop to the park, pool, beach (where’s the quality kid time in that one?)
I felt overwhelmed and exhausted just thinking about it. I realized that something’s gotta give...
The good news is that, at this stage of my life, with only one kid left under the age of 16, I'm able to tell you: IT GETS BETTER!
Every year, summer got better for me, and I want give you the shortcut of the journey I went on. So here is the biggest lesson I learned from my 20 years of Israeli summers:
I realized I can’t have my cake and eat it too. Ooh, did someone say cake? Eggs(protein), flour (carbs) and sugar (isn’t sugar cane a vegetable?) so that’s a healthy breakfast for the kids right there! But seriously, ask yourself:
If I'm saying yes to a good family summer, what am I going to say no to?
Answer these questions:
What can you postpone until after the summer (and chaggim?)
What can you simplify?
What can you let go of?
I took inspiration from the book "The Coaching Habit" for the above questions.
The author goes into further detail:
What projects do you need to abandon or postpone?
What meetings will you no longer attend?
What resources do you need to divert to the Yes (a great summer)?
What expectations do you need to manage?
What relationships will you [put on hold]?
What habits do you need to break [or temporarily change]?
What old stories or dated ambitions do you need to update?
What beliefs [and expectations] about yourself do you need to [temporarily] let go of?
For me it’s like this: If I want my family to have a great summer (my yes), I will postpone launching a new work project. I will let go of household standards (which are already low, but not the priority right now!) And I will simplify meals so that not every meal has to be perfectly healthy and balanced. Not forever, but for these eight weeks.
What about you? Where will you let go, simplify or postpone? Let me know in the comments and I can help you think it through.
Wishing you all a wonderful and safe summer.
Resources: Stanier, Michael Bungay. The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever (p. 166). Box of Crayons Press.