Here are a few suggestions for finding time and rhythm within the summer stress!
1. Time for yourself.
However you do this, DON’T FEEL GUILTY! You are taking care of everyone now. Just when you think you can’t tote the kids to one more place—chauffeur duties increase! Carve out time from the family schedule—an appointed time, just for you.
Choose the time of day that works best—morning, afternoon, evening. Take this time in a chunk, or in small “chewable” chunks. I take 10-20 minutes in the morning to exercise, 30 minutes in the afternoon to read and rest, then an hour at night to read and rest again, with some additional time after that to connect with my husband. Linda Eyre, author of A Joyful Mother (and mother of nine!), shares that she schedules one hour on Sundays just to herself.
As for play date fun, I schedule lunch or breakfast with girlfriends on Tuesdays, as this is my day out during the week anyway. Schedule at least one day each month to go out with friends, make this a non-negotiable. If evenings don’t work, do breakfast. One Saturday morning a month your husband can hang with the children and then encourage him to golf the next Saturday and you’ll win a great support!
2. Time with each child.
Summer is a great time for one-on-one bonding—that’s a tough think to have during the school year. We do “dates” with our children—each week my husband and I take turns going out with one child; we just start from oldest and work down to the youngest. With this system, the children get each of us, at least every few months. Use everyday chores or everyday life to spend time together, too. We do an evening routine where my husband reads scriptures and has prayer with our boys, while I do that with our girls. Other nights, my two youngest readers cuddle up with me and spend some alone reading time. It doesn’t take long–15 minutes– but it works. Use small pockets of time to just connect with one child. For example, my son forgot his bike at the ballpark so my husband dropped the other kids home and then went back with just one son so they could chat on the way.
3. Time with your hubby.
In between games and children’s events, couple-time can get squeezed out. Do some form of “Our Time,” as in a weekly date. Our four-year-old is just barely happy that we go out on a weekly date—but each week that she would cry, we would assure her of our love AND STILL GO OUT (of course, bringing home a dessert for her surely helped the transition!)! We need this time to hold hands, laugh, and watch a great summer movie without having to run out and change a diaper. And be creative—I have a speaking assignment in St. George this month, so we scheduled a sitter so my husband and I can do a “weekender” together. Four hours of drive time makes for great chat and connection, never mind sleeping in, and no midnight wake ups!
Be creative but be vigilant in spending chunks of quality time for yourself, your children and your husband, and summer will truly be fun!
Connie Sokol is a regular Studio 5 contributor and an at-home mother of six. She is also a national presenter, internet radio host of “LIFEChange Live!” and regular columnist for Deseret News and Utah Valley Magazine. She is the former radio host of “Ask a Woman” for Bonneville Communications and TV host for “Standing Up”. Mrs. Sokol also currently teaches LIFEChange classes at Utah Valley State College.
With her left toe she is the author of Are You Ready for a LIFEChange? and Life is Too Short for One Hair Color, as well as numerous talk tapes, and is president of LIFEChange, an online life coaching program helping women create and live a balanced and beautiful life.
Surpassing her passion for LIFEChange, Mrs. Sokol marinates in time spent with her family and eating decadent treats.
For more information about the LIFEChange program visit www.lifechangeprogram.com.