Summer is the hardest season for a work at home mom. Can I get an amen? My children thrive on routine, and school gives them that definite routine, the same thing in the same order each day.
During summer, when they are not in that consistent school routine, they don’t know what to do with themselves. This is when it starts to get crazy around here. And although I love my state, it is so hot and humid here that it limits the time that they can spend outside. This means less dedicated time for mom to work.
Start your day off right.
I find that if I don’t get up before my children do, I instantly feel behind and can never catch up. This is summer time though. Everybody wants to sleep in. So do I.
You have to remember one thing though. You have a non-traditional work environment. If you were working for 8 hours outside of your home, you wouldn’t have children to take care of while trying to do your job. Since your situation is unique, your routines and schedule have to be unique too.
Make your routines and your schedule work for you.
Getting up just an hour earlier will give you time to get some work done without interruptions OR get a jump on your day by unloading the dishwasher, starting a load of laundry, drinking a cup of coffee in the quiet, etc.
It’s also really important that you dress for the day that you want to have. Get up and put some real clothes on. Do something with your hair, even if it’s a messy bun, and put some makeup on. My makeup routine takes about 5 minutes. You can read all about the makeup that I use here.
Now, I’m going to tell you what’s going to happen when you start this. Your kids are going to know that you’re getting up early to be productive. They’re going to wake up, even if they’re late sleepers. It’s like they can smell you. They are scared they’re going to miss out of something fun. Don’t ask me why, but it happens.
So what do you do when this happens? You can redirect them to their rooms and make them stay until a time you set, like 7 a.m. You can also train them with an alarm clock that changes colors when it’s ok to get up. It’s your choice what they do. Maybe they have to get back in bed or maybe they can play with toys quietly.
Do not get discouraged. The first week or two might be completely unproductive. It may just be that you get up early just to put your kids back in bed. That’s OK. It’s a training exercise for both of you, and it will get better.
Start your kids’ day off right.
It’s important that they have a consistent morning routine. You get to choose what that looks like.
It should probably include some basic things like getting up, getting dressed, making their bed (if you have littles they might need help). By this point everyone is ready to walk out the door in something other than pajamas should the need arise.
A good breakfast is also important. Get their bellies full and they will have a much better attitude for the day.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated. Ours is usually oatmeal, yogurt and fruit or eggs. Occasionally I will cook something ahead of time to reheat in the mornings.
Spend some time on a cleaning task.
I highly recommend that you have a cleaning schedule. This is going to make your life so much easier!
You won’t have to wonder when you’re cleaning the bathrooms or mopping the floor because you’ll be doing it on the same day every week.
Get your kids involved with age appropriate chores. Yes, it’s easier just to do it yourself.
The time to get them involved is now. You don’t want them going off to college without learning how to do basic cleaning tasks or how to do laundry. Yes, this happens in real life.
Chores also help children feel like they are part of a team, and it teaches responsibility.
I explain it to my children this way: “It’s not fair to expect me to pick up after 5 people. If you can contribute to the mess, you can contribute to the cleaning.”
If you’re is cluttered, it is going to be really hard to implement a cleaning schedule.
Before you get to that point, do these 4 tasks only:
- make your bed
- get dressed and put some makeup on
- keep the dishes washed/ dishwasher loaded
- do a load of laundry
And, declutter. Set your timer for 15 minutes and get to work. You’ll be surprised at how much you can get done in 15 minutes. Do this at least once a day, but more if you can. This is a concept that I learned from Pam & Peggy of Sidetracked Home Executives, and it works!
There is a newer version of their system, and it was created by Marla Cilley. I encourage you to check it out because it works!
I also love to use ecloth. You just wet them with water, no cleaners required. It’s great for kids to use to help, no more worrying about harmful chemicals or smells.
Spend some time focused time with your kids.
Our morning goes so much smoother if, after breakfast and chores, we sit down at the table and do something together. We have implemented a homeschool concept called the morning basket. Side note here, but homeschooling techniques and resources can be great tools to help retain learning and keep the kiddos busy.
So a morning basket is just a collection of things, usually kept in a basket, that is done before the start of a homeschool day. I don’t homeschool my children, but I was homeschooled and I see the value in parent-led learning.
The basket contains books and activities that are done in a group setting. I usually give my kids something to play with while they are listening. This could be PlayDoh, Legos, blocks, etc. They concentrate better when they have busy hands.
You can include anything that you want. I usually have a Bible story book, a fairly tale or other fictional story anthology, and a historical novel. Later, usually during nap time for my 4 year old, my other two children will do a few workbook pages.
We base or morning basket time based on everybody’s preferences. We have a home library that we pick from, and if we get tired of that, we can go to the library and find something there. Many of our books have been gifts, or they’ve been purchased from garage sales.
The focused attention creates a special bond with your kiddos. Plus, you’re giving them attention, and that makes it easier to explain that you’re going to do the morning basket time with them, and then they’re going to go play and you’re going to work. Both of you get something valuable out of your morning.
Have fun inside and outside.
Take some time to enjoy the fresh air outside and enjoy being together. All work and no play won’t make anyone happy.
There are lots of activities that you can do out the yard and work on your phone or laptop while your kiddos are playing. This doesn’t have to be anything expensive. You can turn on the sprinklers and let them run through it.
Kids love simple activities like creating things with craft supplies, digging in the dirt, eating popsicles, etc. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated to be fun!