“Mom, what are we gonna do today?”
“What’s for dinner tonight?”
“Can I have a snack?”
Oh, the questions. So. Many. Questions.
It’s Summer break, which for me, means working from home while balancing two precocious girls. Most days, they are a delight and I’m sublimely grateful I get extra time to make memories and laugh at their discoveries. Finding that perspective though, has only been possible by limiting my overwhelm.
Our brains can only handle so many decisions a day. Sometimes, by mid-afternoon my brain just turns off. My willpower is zapped and I want to curl up and watch Disney movies with my girls.
Although Summer is meant to be easy breezy, I still feel bombarded with making decisions:
Which camps should they attend?
How can I schedule playdates with other busy parents?
What should I pack for a vacation out of town?
Did I remember to put sunscreen on their backs?
How much screen time is too much?
Should I break up that sibling argument or let it be?
And what’s for dinner tonight?! It’s too hot and I just want to eat chips and salsa.
If you are feeling paralyzed by all the decisions coming your way this Summer, let me suggest a few ways to limit that overwhelm. Having a plan for certain stressors will give you the mental white space to make clearer, wiser decisions.
Even though Summer is a more relaxed season, having a loose structure is necessary for me to function and be the Mom I want to be. These tips might help you too:
1. Kid Calendar
Having a Summer calendar printed and on display where the kids can see limits that one BIG question I get daily, “What are we going to do today?” On the calendar, I wrote down all the big events happening: beach vacation, camp weeks, family visits, our annual yard sale etc. Now I can direct that question from my curious five-year-old to our calendar. We also have a short list of weekly activities like: library visits, pool days and play dates that we add as Summer goes on.
2. Dinner Prep
If you have never meal planned before, now is a great time to start! Although Summer appears laid back when it comes to planning, I found that having this decision made saves me from the 4pm panic. By that time of day, without a plan, I’m apt to let everyone eat cold cereal. Which, let’s be honest, has happened!
3. Themed Days
Sounds like spirit week for Summer, right? Consider having specific days for certain activities. Days when you’re home doing chores, out for playdates, making crafts or running errands. That way, depending on the day, you’ve already made a decision for where the focus will be.
4. Summer Outfit
Most days this Summer, I’m wearing the same simple outfit. Shorts and a t-shirt or a light-weight dress with sandals. Have something easy you wear everyday and lay it out the night before. Less decisions about what to wear create more opportunities to be present. And with the time saved, you may even get to enjoy that extra cup of coffee before the kids wake up.
Moms, we have a lot to think about each day. There are so many decisions we are presented with and it can feel overwhelming. Let’s enjoy Summer for what it’s mean to be. A time to rest from the usual school year hustle. A time to connect and perhaps be a bit more spontaneous.
Limiting our decision fatigue allows us to be more flexible and open. We can say yes to that extra pool swim or late night ice cream treat. Spontaneity allows for fun and more of those special childhood memories.
Let’s choose more joy and less overwhelm this Summer!
** Thanks to our guest author Erin for sharing such great ideas to avoid decision fatigue. Mommy Convos has a beautiful summer printable you can print off here.