My Blog-At-Home-Mom Summer Sanity Strategies
Updated: Sep 7, 2021
Happy summer everyone! I guess our summer technically started about 10 days ago but for me, the end of the school year feels like the official kick-off to the season. I have to admit (with just a smidge of mom-guilt), I wasn't necessarily looking forward to the end of the school year this year. My daughter has really enjoyed online learning and now that school's out, it'll be up to me to figure out what to do with the kids all day, while my husband is working and while trying to keep the momentum going with this blog.
Blogging has been a great creative outlet for me so far, and at only a few months in, I'm not ready to put it on the back burner! On the other hand, without schoolwork and virtual meetings, I will need to keep the kids occupied. And of course, I want to make some great summer memories with my family and not spend too much of the summer behind a screen.
So, I've come up with some Summer Sanity Strategies. I'll be putting these to the test as a mom-blogging guinea pig, and sharing what I learn as I go. If any of you have suggestions to add, I'm all ears. Please drop them in the comments below!
Although designed with blogging in mind, I believe the Summer Sanity Strategies in this post will lend themselves to other activities too, like working from home or spending time on a passion project - anything that you may want to accomplish or make progress on this summer.
So, here are my Blog-At-Home-Mom Summer Sanity Strategies:
1. Stick with the routine (aka "If it ain't broke...")
Since starting this blog just a few months ago, the kids (Kate, 6 & Andrew, 4) and I have gotten into a pretty good routine. I've been spending some time on the blog most weekday mornings while they talked and read with my mom via Zoom, then attended Kate's virtual SK class meeting. Though he hasn't started school yet, Andrew has enjoyed tagging along for most of Kate's meetings, or happily playing on his own. During my blog time, the kids have learned that I'm not available to play with them, or help them with projects, or fetch them things, or make snacks, etc. Honestly, it's been great to have a clear reason not to be at their beck and call 24/7 and they have adapted to this new expectation incredibly well!
This bit of separation and time to focus on something I'm passionate about has also been rejuvenating for me as a stay-at-home parent. When we reconnect after this independent time, I can jump in with a grateful heart, open arms, and a readiness to put my "mom" hat back on.
Since this routine has been going well, I'd like to continue blogging in the mornings. Without school meetings, we'll have to come up with other things the kids can do and I expect some trial-and-error. I plan on having all kinds of independent work/play materials ready for them, including new library books, easily accessible craft materials, and age-appropriate workbooks. I will also let them go online for brief periods to play educational games or watch short videos. And let's be real, some TV time will be allowed as well. (As I'm writing this, the kids are watching half of a movie after an active morning at the park and splash pad, where the top photos were taken...which brings me to #2.)
2. "It depends on the weather."*
Getting outside (almost) every day has been a key mental health strategy for as long as I can remember, but especially since having kids, and even more so during the pandemic. (You can read more about that in a previous post: The Roots of My Sustainability Journey) Since I have the flexibility to plan my day according to the weather, I will absolutely be taking advantage of that! So although I plan on blogging mainly in the mornings, if the afternoon is calling for thunderstorms or scorching heat, we'll get outside while we can and I'll postpone my blogging time to the afternoon or evening.
*For sentimental reasons, I must add that apparently my grandpa (Poppa Spike), who passed away in November 2020, used to say "it depends on the weather" all the time, much to his kids' chagrin, rather than giving them a straight answer. Ever since my mom told me this, I can't use the phrase "it depends on the weather" without hearing it in his voice, accompanied by a hearty chuckle.
3. "Summer Shorts"
I want to maintain the consistency of one blog post per week, but I also want to honour the summer season for what it is: a time to enjoy the warm weather with family and friends. To avoid spending too much time blogging, I plan on keeping my posts shorter during the summer, and I'm affectionately nicknaming this strategy "summer shorts". The length of my "shorts" will vary, but I'm hoping to stay within a 1-to-2-minute-read max. This post does not meet the criteria, but it was mostly written before the summer holidays started. Keeping posts shorter, I'm also hoping to write several posts some weeks, and no posts on other weeks, like when we go camping. After all, Ontario summers don't last long so we need to soak up the sun while we can!
Here are some ways the "summer shorts" concept could be applied to other activities:
doing shorter workouts during the hot summer weather
breaking projects into smaller chunks that can be done in an hour or less
creating smaller or less time-intensive works of art, like short films, short stories, or sketches instead of movies, novels, and masterpieces
So, what do you think? I bet many of you have helpful advice to share, especially if you have been working from home with kids! Please do comment below with your summer sanity strategies, or contribute to the conversation on social media. Cheers to making the most of summer!