Sunday, July 19, 2009

Avoiding Mommy Meltdown During the Summer Months


NOTE FROM SUSAN: As much as we look forward to summer and having a more relaxed schedule, it can also get to be a bit “too much” if you’re home with the children all day. Perhaps some of your summer activities have lost their appeal, and the kids are starting to squabble. You may be getting frustrated at the lack of time to yourself to get things done or even just relax. My children attend part-time summer camp, which helps me greatly in being able to work and enjoy some “me time.” But if that’s not an option for your family, author Jill Savage has some valuable advice on how to cope with “mommy meltdown” during the summer.

Avoiding Mommy Meltdown During the Summer Months
By Jill Savage

It happens to me every summer. I talk with moms about it, and I think about it throughout the spring as I anticipate the transition from the school year to the summer. And yet, I hit July and find myself facing the emotions of mommy meltdown.

Why do I find myself feeling drained and exhausted during the best season of the year? It’s because I do kids 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And if I don’t arrange for a break or find some time for myself, no one is going to give it to me.

Don’t get me wrong—I love my job. I wouldn’t want to do anything but motherhood. Yet I’m ineffective if I don’t learn how to find resources that encourage me along the way.

Moms need to recharge their batteries. They need fresh vision, new ideas, and encouragement for the journey of motherhood. Knowing where to find those resources is the first place to begin taking care of yourself. Once you know what is available, the next step is maximizing the resources to meet your needs.

During the school year, most communities have quite a few moms groups one can choose to attend. However, during the summer those groups often take a break and we have to find encouragement in other ways. What’s available to you right now? Check out some of these resources:

Summer Structure—If you have school age children, your time to yourself is built into the day while the children attend school. However, during the summer everyone is home for every meal and looking to you to be the “Director of Summer Activities.” Several years ago I discovered that some regular structure in our day built in a break for all of us. Each afternoon we take one hour of “room time.” This is their time to read, listen to music, or play in their bedroom. It’s time for me to read a book, phone a friend, or complete a job without interruption.

Internet—Moms need support from other moms. They need a place to find new ideas. They need encouragement. The internet can be a wonderful place to meet all of those needs. There are hundreds of websites to help moms do their job well. Need encouragement in staying home? Check out www.hearts-at-home.org or www.homebodies.org. Need help with home organization and general housekeeping? You won’t want to miss www.flylady.net! How about marriage? Take a peek at www.marriagepartnership.com. If you don’t have the Internet at home, you can find access to the web at the local libraries.

Books—Visit the library or local bookstore and pick up a book to encourage you in your mothering. If you haven’t read Professionalizing Motherhood or My Heart’s at Home, pick it up at your local bookstore.

Other Moms—One of the best resources available is other mothers. Ask a neighbor or friend to trade “days off” with you. Offer to watch her children one day a week in exchange for watching your children one day a week. The kids have someone to play with and the moms have some time off! It’s win-win for everyone!

Elisa Morgan writes in her book What Every Mom Needs, “We have to learn to help ourselves. We have to learn to ask. Directly, by using words. No one can read your mind. No one is going to waltz in, recognize your predicament, and save you.”

You and I have an abundance of resources available to us; we simply need to maximize the opportunities. Rather than recovering from mommy meltdown, we can learn to avoid it all together!

What are some strategies you have put in place to take care of yourself in the midst of taking care of your family?

Jill Savage is wife to Mark and mom to Anne, Evan, Erica, Kolya, and Austin. She is also the founder and Executive Director of Hearts at Home and the author of 6 books including Real Moms…Real Jesus. You can connect with her on her blog at www.jillsavage.org.

Copyright Hearts at Home 2008, used with permission. For more information about Hearts at Home: 309-828-MOMS or www.hearts-at-home.org



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3 comments:

  1. The book "The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal" by Renee Trudeau is a twelve chapter book that focuses on extreme self care. It has loads of suggestions, journaling exercises and stories to inspire moms. If you visit Renee's website http://www.reneetrudeau.com, you can see a sample chapter, and you can look to see if there is a Personal Renewal Group, a group coaching experience for moms. This can really help with avoiding the mommy meltdown!

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  2. I feel like I am already in the midst of Mommy Meltdown as I try to balance it all. I really appreciate this post which I am so grateful I saw through Twitter!

    Summer is hard because the kiddos want to have fun, stimulation, and the days seem endless. But I try to keep in mind how precious this time can be if I put myself in the "present" with my children and remember to make time everyday for myself (reading, writing, exercising).

    Never thought of the the phrase, Mommy Meltdown, and I might just have to use it in proper context next time it comes up!

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  3. Great article!

    We are not quite a month into our summer vacation and, despite the fact that we maintain a schedule and try to do one activity each day, whether it be a trip to the park or swimming pool, my kids are getting antsy. My 4-year-old doesn't understand 'summer vacation,' and she keeps asking about going back to preschool.

    I also work from home, so trying to spend time with the family AND get my work done is not always easy. I would love to be able to relax during the summer, but it's often the last thing I actually do.

    Wonderful tips, though. Thanks for sharing!

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