Let’s make it okay for moms to rely on others for help, so moms everywhere will feel more comfortable doing so.
Summer is here, school is out—and for many of us, our daily schedules have gone right out the door. Every parent knows that planning out a kid’s summer schedule is no easy feat. Media coverage abounds on the challenges and expenses of arranging summer programs.
There are many ways to balance the shuffle, contingent on everyone’s individual needs, but there is one universal answer—we need to ask for help.
Let’s normalize this NOT meaning that you’re a bad mom for farming out some of your kids’ needs. In fact, it makes you a BETTER mom. You’re recognizing that you just can’t do it all.
No one can do it all.
Being a working parent is hard, and if you work from home with kids in the next room, it’s overwhelming. How can one balance summer vacation with necessary work meetings and deadlines?! In a perfect world, we align work and school days. I’ve been a strong advocate of this idea for a while now, but that remains a solution for the school year. When school is out of session, we can only manage by calling in our best helpers.
This summer, I signed my kids up for camps, and we’ve scheduled parent-free travel during which they’ll visit grandparents. We’ve also scheduled plenty of family fun. It’s a combination of work and play that prioritizes family experiences, but also makes sure that we as parents can maintain our work responsibilities.
Worried about mom guilt? Literally every mother I know experiences it, but it stems from wanting what is best for your children.
I’ll be honest with you, though. I’m not sure we can completely eliminate mom guilt. We love our kids too much, right? But we CAN minimize the effects we feel when it kicks in. The solution? You guessed it—we ask for help.
If you’re not one to typically ask for help, or if you’re unsure of the areas where you SHOULD be asking for help, consider these five recommendations:
1) If you need to make time for exercise, rely on your co-parent or the childcare room at the gym to keep an eye on the kiddos for an hour.
2) Encourage quality time with grandparents and other family members. Most societies value extended family. It helps to have this type of village.
3) Help your kids build friendships, and do the same with the parents of those friends so you can take turns hosting playdates. This is fun for the kids, and beneficial for the parents.
4) Cultivate a list of reliable sitters. Consider camp counselors, friends’ older siblings, your coworker’s kids. There are several different ways to put trustworthy and reliable sitters on speed dial.
5) Netflix, YouTube, Disney+…there is nothing wrong with using these platforms as kid care on occasion! A structured approach, such as setting time limits and parental controls, is a smart way to go about this. If it makes you feel guilty, balance it with outdoor play when you’re free to engage again. We LOVE the1000 Hours Outside™ challenge for this very reason!
Bottom line, there are ebbs and flows to life. If your job has a busy season, or if you know you’ll be home with your kids for an extended period of time, believe that it’s absolutely okay to lean on others during that time. Also, you really don’t have to keep your children entertained around the clock. They can be very capable of entertaining themselves!
What truly matters is that your kids are happy.
So ask for help. I promise it’s okay.