As I sit at the pool watching my kids play, I’m starting to count down the days until school starts. And I have mixed emotions.
I’m excited to get some time to myself back, more of a routine and a dedicated chunk of time to work, but I know I’ll also be missing my kids like crazy.
It’s been a roller coaster of fun, boredom, laughter, tears, fights and friendships for the kids this summer and it’s been one heck of a ride for me, too.
In fact, some of the summer has had me clinging to a shred of sanity while I asked my kids to find something to do for a few minutes so I could have a time out to gather myself together, take a few deep breaths and carry on.
I saw this fun list over at The Stir today about how to be a happier mom and realized I could really take some of these to heart and put them into practice.
Check out their full list, a few of which I’ve elaborated on here, plus some of my own ideas for a happier existence.
Of course, with time being limited during the summer months to give myself any attention, I’m betting these won’t be put into play until the school year starts.
What are your favorite ways to recharge and find your happy place?
1. Put on makeup – even if you’re just hanging out at home. And dress up more than just pjs. I can’t tell you how many times I thank – out loud – the person who invented makeup, so that I can cover my blemishes and dark circles. As for the getting out of pjs thing, I just feel more productive and yes, sometimes… even pretty.
2. Call a friend. Or email, Skype, Twitter, Facebook. Get in touch with people and cure the lonelies, by dishing on what’s new with yourself and them. You’ll be amazed at what a boost it is to your system.
3. Have a good laugh. Watch dumb comedies all night (or, in my case, just one because I can’t stay up through two movies!). Hot Rod, Step Brothers and Anchorman are my go-tos.
4. Get out of the house – without the kids. Make a plan with a friend (or friends) for a girls-night out, or, if less ambitious, leave the kids with your partner or spouse and go to a friend’s house for a couple of hours.
5. Plan a date night. We fail at this almost consistently, but you need to make time for your partner or husband. It’s the whole lining-up-a-babysitter-we-can-trust thing that seems to thwart this plan.
6. Exercise. It does the mind and body good. Of course, finding time is another story…
7. Plan a quick vacation/staycation with the family. Get away from the home routine and shake things up by visiting a nearby town or taking a quick roadtrip. Don’t cook, clean, do dishes or laundry. This makes mommy very happy.
8. Unplug. Like, all the way. You can do it! I know you can! Me, on the other hand… I’m not quite so sure.
9. Get a massage. You deserve it.
10. Have a family fun night. Let the kids pick the activities, games, snacks, etc. They love that it’s all about them and you all get quality time together.
11. Indulge. Plan a fancy dinner out or indulge in a decadent dessert. Even just an all-you-could-ever-imagine sundae bar at your house will lift the spirits.
12. Get the wind in your hair. A bike ride, a hike, a jog, rollerblading, swimming, sailing. Get outside and soak up the sun and fresh air.
13. Book a romantic getaway with your significant other. Hey, remember that guy? Leave the kids at the grandparents and head to a romantic bed and breakfast or inn for a day or two.
14. Watch the sunrise. Ahh. Serenity.
15. Talk to your kids. Really talk. Have conversations and find out how they are feeling and what they are thinking. Answer questions, explain things. Really hear them.
16. Take time for family meals. Things get busy with sports and activities, homework and chores, but you have to get everyone to the dinner table and spend meals together.
17. Retail therapy. It works. You don’t have to spend a lot, but buy yourself a little something once in awhile – a pair of earrings, a new pair of shoes, a shirt, a new journal. Anything.
18. Create memories. Take the focus off of “stuff.” Take your kids places, experience life and let them have the memories of the things you’ve done. Make it less about the material items in life.
19. Write. Get it all out there, whether on paper or in a blog… for your own eyes or for the world to see, it’s therapeutic to write down some of your personal stuff.
20. Dance party. Shake away the blues and stress by getting the kids in on a dance party. Club music, rock, 70s disco or funk – expose your kids to some new music and dance until your feet hurt.
21. Snuggle party. Cuddle up in bed or throw pillows and blankets on the floor and everyone gets in on the snuggle action.