The holidays are just around the corner, and for me this year, this means 6 weeks with the 3 little monkeys. I’m grateful for the opportunity, seriously. When I used to work at my previous company, having to think about childcare, activities and getting them to places while I wasn’t even there was a job in itself! The amount of planning and organising required to go through the summer holidays when you work takes up a lot of mental space. And it can be stressful! But 6 weeks in close proximity with 3 lively boys wanting to make the most of their summer will also have its not-so-idyllic moments. So whether you have to cope with holidays as a busy mum working away from home or perhaps as a business owner working from home, here are 3 things that you should do (for your sanity) before the school holidays.
Stop and check in with yourself
Ok, unless you’re driving or are in the middle of crossing the road, honestly, STOP. Stop yourself in your tracks for a second. And take a deep breath. How are you feeling about the holidays? Are you genuinely just over the moon? Are you looking forward to the down time and slower pace? Or have you packed your days with tight schedules and activities? Do you find that your children respond better when they keep busy or do they need the time to just be? Does too much or too little to do affect their behaviour? And how does this all affect you?
It’s super-important that you take your personality and your mental and emotional state into consideration when you plan the next few weeks ahead. If you’re a highly energetic extroverted mum with similar-personality children, you’ll probably be outdoors running around every day and feel amazing for it. But if you, and/or your children don’t thrive on that as much, you need to plan accordingly.
So stop yourself in your tracks and take some time to be true to yourself. Be realistic. Don’t overdo it if you’ve been feeling stressed and overwhelmed as it is. Can you think of ways to have a better balance? How do you want to feel during these holidays? What kind of things make you feel that way? And how can you achieve more of that? For example, I like to have days where we don’t need to rush from one place to the next and can spend good chunks of time getting to a place whenever we get there. And leaving whenever we get there. I like no rush and no structure, sometimes. Which leads me nicely to my next point…
Slow down and make your life a little simpler
My advice? Take it easy, strip down, and declutter. And no, I’m not going to be spending my days while my boys are at home going through cupboards and drawers of stuff (aaargh the dreaded admin drawer!!!) I’ve done a fair share of that in the last few months, and I promise I’ll pick up again when they’re back at school. But do declutter your life from the things that don’t need to be there. You’re not doing yourself or your family any favours by doing things that no one wants to do.
So have a look at your plans again. Can you make little tweaks? Cross something out? Go at a pace that will be good for you? If you have to, schedule in pauses and break in your days or your weeks, even. Block time out as ‘down time’, and ask your children to choose from a quiet activity at home maybe? (Ok, I’m joking. Sorry, that’s not going to happen. Unless you believe in unicorns. In which case your children will be totally quiet when you ask them to).
Plan for some time just for yourself
I get it. If you’re working, you’ll want to spend every non-working available minute with your children. If you’re not working (or can choose/afford not to be working), and you’re with your children for most of the summer, well, it’ll be lovely. But if you’re anything like me, there will be times when you’re tired of playing referee (or umpire, as it’s the case for me at the moment). And of picking toys up from the floor. Or clothes. Or ask them a million times to do it themselves. And to please stop hitting their brother. “Can’t you see he’s crying?!”
And we are all great mums, but we need a break from time to time. So if you can, plan something in before it all gets on top of you, and you feel like closing the door behind you and running out (of course you’d never do that! I know!) It doesn’t have to be something big – it doesn’t have to be anything expensive or that takes 3 days either. (Although, given the chance…)
So just pick something small – something that you can do at home when the children are in bed. Or something that you can do locally. It could be something as easy as carrying on with your weekly exercising routine or making a plan to catch up with a friend if you can get childcare sorted for a bit. Whatever it is, try and scatter a few of these things in over the holidays, and if you need some inspiration, pop your email address below, and you’ll receive 30 different ideas for things that you can do for yourself to recharge and re-energise in small but less obvious ways.
And if it doesn’t work…
Well, if despite all this intentional planning, by the end of the summer you feel like you’ve barely survived the holidays and need some time out for yourself, hang in there until Sunday the 1st of October, and join us for an afternoon spent talking about YOU. Yes, you! You’ll get the chance to take some time out for yourself, meet other like-minded women, relax and think about wellness and self-care in a new way. If anything, you’ll be sure to walk away with some practical and effective tools to make you survive the Christmas holidays! More information will follow via our newsletter, so make sure to sign up if you want to be kept up-to-date with the details of the event.
What tips can you share with fellow mums for stress-free, balanced, and fun summer holidays?