RM Note: It’s Day 4 and Momnesia Week at Renaissance Mom is winding down. As a special treat “Momnesia” author Lori Verni-Fogarsi has provided RM with a guest post today offering those in the throws of motherhood a way to find balance between themselves and their children this summer. And as a bonus she is offering RM readers a sneak peek at some never-seen-before summer-related “Momnesia.” See below for details. And remember it’s the last day to enter to enter the “Momnesia” book giveaway! Good Luck and enjoy!
By Lori Verni-Fogarsi
Ah, summer! School is out and there are no early-morning alarm clocks, rushed breakfasts, or buses to catch. We can play in the sprinkler, color with chalk, and wash the car. Create our own bird feeders made from milk containers, put on puppet shows, and have water balloon fights!
The problem? You do all of this and when you look at the clock, it’s still only 11:00 am! Already exhausted, we say to ourselves, Goodness, what am I supposed to do with the kids the rest of the day?
Yes, there are many joyous aspects about summer, not the least of which is having time to play with our kids. Yet for many moms it can feel overwhelming to have to entertain the children every moment with no time for our other responsibilities. Or, heaven forbid, our Selves! For me, there’s the additional aspect of needing at least a few hours a day to get my work done in my home office.
My answer? Finding balance. Also known as (from the children’s viewpoint) drawing the line. This occurred to me about four summers ago, when I was writing my novel, “Momnesia,” which is about a mom finding balance between her family and her Self. Coincidence? Probably not.
For example, rather than making every single day jam-packed with entertaining the children as if I were a circus act, I’ve decided that I am entitled to enjoy my summers too. Because the truth is, we moms are no fun when we’re exhausted, resentful, and have more mosquito bites than our body’s toxicity level can withstand.
Here are a few of the ways that I strive to maintain balance during our summer months:
- We either go to the pool before lunch or after, but not at a time that requires me to bring the lunch with us.
- I use coupons, buy in bulk, and still consider it a splurge, but we use the oh-so-easy spray sunscreen instead of lotion. It makes an actual difference in my life.
- Each child has household chores to do every single day. This may be as simple as emptying all the little wastebaskets, or more advanced like pulling weeds, but either way it teaches them to be productive members of the family, builds confidence, and takes some of the load off my plate. And no, I don’t feel guilty… remember when they used to go to school all day?
- Multitask kid and adult activities, such as inviting some of your friends over in the evening and setting the kids loose in the yard with glow sticks, firefly jars, and other things that don’t require your personal involvement.
- Just say no. I’m not talking about drugs (although obviously we say no to them too). I’m talking Twister. Or Candyland. Or whatever game it is that you’ve already played a million times. Repeat after me: “No, thank you. Mommy is going to relax right now.”
- Save their screen time for the time of day you’d like to have free. By not allowing it all the time, it’s special instead of boring.
- Create an emergency stash of quiet activities like crafts, puzzles, and origami. Keep them hidden and pull them out when needed.
- Don’t expect your husband to be a mind reader. It is a strength, not a weakness to simply say, “Honey, I really need some time to myself. Will you please do (whatever) with the kids so I can have a break?” Remember, a happy wife is a happy life and chances are, he’d much rather help out than have you miserable, but most men won’t simply “know” on their own. Tell him!
- Get a babysitter occasionally. Even if only for a few hours so you can run some errands, meet a friend for lunch, or have a slice of pizza with your husband.
- Don’t just pray… trade! Instead of wishing both of your kids would get invited to a play date on the same day and time, arrange it! Offer to watch a friend’s kids for an afternoon or an overnight, and ask them to do the same!
I hope you’ve enjoyed some of my summer “balancing methods” and I’ll bet you can think of some of your own! Feel free to share them in the comment section below!
Lori is the author of the hot new novel, “Momnesia,” (which recently earned her an Indie Excellence Book Award Finalist recognition by the way). She has been a freelance writer, columnist, journalist, and seminar speaker for 15-plus years, and has authored one nonfiction book, “Everything You Need to Know About House Training Puppies and Adult Dogs,” which has been widely acclaimed in its genre. Lori is also a happily married mom of two, step mom of two more, and has two cats, both rotten. For a sneak peek of Lori’s summer-related “Momnesia” excerpt visit https://www.facebook.com/note.php?saved&¬e_id=334072680005339&id=187970324615576.