My summer has officially started as of today, and while there is an overwhelming feeling of YAY-ness, there is also some work that has to be done behind the scenes so the next three months run smoothly.
Today I’m writing the post I wanted to read about five years back when I was spending my first summer at home as a mother. You may or may not agree with everything I have to offer here, but I can tell you with certainty that what is written here is rooted in life experience, good and bad.
A lot of you know this about me already, but I quit teaching for one year to stay at home with my two kids. It was the 2014-2015 school year. Jackson was almost three, and Johanna was a few months old. I was tired of the hustle and bustle. I wanted a day or two (or 365) to look my babies in the face and really get to know them, learn their quirks, be there for them in this important developmental stage. Also, I was really burned out on the teaching profession at the time. Oh, did I mention that I was five and a half hours away from ANYONE I knew when I decided to make this drastic life change?
SUPER long story short, I quickly realized staying at home was not for me. I was very unhappy being in isolation, and although there was some good to come out of that short stint (I got Jackson potty trained in like two days – like a boss… or Johanna is now a Mommy’s girl – WOO HOO), I knew for the betterment of so many aspects of my life, I needed to go back to work. So I did, and I can say, though it doesn’t always run smoothly, we four are all happier now that Mommy went back to work.
Please, if you hear nothing else from this post, do not judge a mom because she finds fulfillment working outside of the home, just as you shouldn’t judge a mom for finding fulfillment for being at home. We are all wired differently and created to do different work. That brings me to summertime…
Part of what I love about choosing teaching for my career is that the crazy life stops for about three months. I get to soak up time with my family and be more present. However, each summer I have been home with my kids has looked a little different. I have been the over-the-top-annoying “follow a schedule on the hour, every hour” Mom, the “ehhh, let’s just hang” Mom, and everything in between. As a teacher, though, I have realized that because I thrive under some sort of routine, we need it in our summer lives, too. But part of what makes summer so flippin’ great is that the routine can be thrown out on any given day. It really is about finding your balance, and I am including some tips today that will help you navigate your summer so it’s enjoyable for you, too, not just for your kids.
1. Try to put yourself together every day.
At the risk of sounding like I’m writing for a women’s magazine published in the 1950s, I am totally serious, actually. When I was staying home, I would crave going places because that meant I could actually fix myself up (make-up, hair, a decently put-together outfit). It made me feel like me. Now I know “fix yourself up” holds a different meaning for each of you reading this post, but find whatever makes you feel like yourself and do that. For me, it was putting on make-up, fixing my hair, and wearing a styled outfit.
2. Experiment with your fashion and beauty looks.
You know how you are always running late for work, and though you really want to try that one thing you saw on Pinterest with your hair, you’re afraid of it looking like trash? Try it in the summer! Experiment with make-up. Experiment with fashion. Honestly, if you’re a teacher, it’s really freeing to know you can experiment and know you’re not going to be standing in front of children/teenagers all day. That’s how your style grows, when you extend yourself out beyond what makes you feel comfortable to really know inside what is uniquely your look. Make a list of styles or looks you have wanted to try, and make it a goal to try them all at least once this summer.
3. Find a hobby (or two), and spend some time investing in what makes your soul happy.
Yes, the summer is about your kids and soaking up that quality time, but it’s also time for you to refresh your soul, which is probably needing some TLC after the stresses of the end of the school year. For me, I enjoy style and fashion (obviously…), so I will work more on my LuLaRoe business and blogging! I also love to run, and I will be training for a half-marathon in August. Don’t just THINK about these hobbies; put them on your calendar! I use Google Calendar myself (just started, and it’s awesome), and I treat these hobbies very seriously. My workload got so heavy in May that I barely had time to run, but I really want my summer to be as much about me recharging my own battery as it is about spending time with my kiddos. I know it takes a lot of charging for me to operate at full capacity, and I don’t feel guilty about making some time for myself.
4. Try to have a plan (even if it’s tentative) for the day.
We cannot deny our teacher DNA: we love a plan. Right?! For many summers, I wondered why I felt so down, so sad, so bleh…it was because I wasn’t respecting how God made me! God made me to thrive in some type of routine and to get excited about conquering a to-do list. And that doesn’t automatically turn off in the summer!
I try to wake up at least 30 minutes before everyone in my house so I can sketch out our daily plan and enjoy a cup of coffee while doing it. I used to laugh at moms who did this (yeah, right…who would do that willingly?), but now I seriously don’t function as well when I don’t have “brain dump” time. I take out a cute notebook that is just for me and write down what I need to do that day, that week, whatever the case may be. I write down goals and tasks and get great joy and satisfaction from crossing them off the list. Yeah, I’m also strange, so there’s that…
5. Hire child care.
I felt like utter and total trash speaking it out loud when I was staying at home. But I was saying it over and over in my head. I need a break!!!!! I absolutely adore my children, but I am not going to act like I don’t need reinforcements.
Hire a baby-sitter. Ask family. Whatever works best for you. A break from Mommy is a wonderful thing for your kiddos as well. Then you are all excited to see each other when you return! I will be taking my kids two days a week to daycare so we can keep our spots, and we also (THANKFULLY!!!!) have family close by. But find someone you trust to care for your babies so you can do whatever…grocery shop, shoe shop, whatever.
Here’s how I followed my own tips today:
I LOVE the leggings and tennis shoes combo, but for obvious reasons, it’s not work appropriate. I am going to experiment with my casual spring/summer look, and today I wore a LuLaRoe Randy top (size small) with the coveted black one size leggings. CLICK HERE to snag your own Randy top and leggings in my VIP Shopping Group!
I tied a chambray button down around my waist to highlight my waist and to give me the desired coverage while wearing said leggings. Chambray is such a good neutral that pairs so well with other neutrals. I am OBSESSED with THESE ADIDAS SNEAKERS from DSW. They will be perfect for Casual Friday going into the school year as well.
I absolutely LOVE the half topknot, but I feel like it only works for casual wear, if you ask me. I would feel kinda weird wearing this style to work, but to each her own! I spent some time getting it right this morning, and thankfully, I ended up with something decent! About two months ago, I had the balayage treatment done to my hair, and I am loving how funky the dark roots look in this style.
I also tried false eyelashes today. You obviously can’t tell in the picture, but I bought some e.l.f ones from Target (3 sets and glue for $5) yesterday and put them on today. I AM IN LOVE AND MAY NEVER NOT WEAR LASHES. Ha ha. I have considered getting eyelash extensions, but when I figured out how long it takes and the cost, I’m going to pass for now…
And if you’re following me on Instagram, you have heard about my daughter Johanna and her budding fashionista personality. Today she chose a zip-up sweatshirt with a maxi skirt and hi-top Converse, which actually kinda worked. Here is a little behind-the-scenes look into my glamorous photo shoots. My five-year-old son is behind the camera…
Have a great week! Chat with you soon!