Summer is a sacred space. The sunshine, warmth, hours outside, and cold treats make it the highlight of the year! It’s a season where we get to set aside the rigid school schedule for later nights, vacation days, and pool reads. For moms everywhere, it’s the perfect time to rest and recharge! How do we accomplish rest, when we still have kids running around, all with needs that still must be met? We make rest a priority! Here are a few ideas on how to prioritize a chance for you to recharge over those sweet summer months.
1. Choose a Summer Bible Study
Often the hectic schedule of the school year can make studying the word of God a difficult to accomplish treat. While your family is on summer break and spelling doesn’t have to be the first thing done after breakfast, why not choose a Bible study to spend some time in. There are so many options to pick from! Go online and find something that gets you excited. We need the truth of the Bible in our lives to keep our cups full!
If you need some accountability or would rather get into the word outside your house, recruit some friends to do the study with you. Pick a night of the week, put on some eyeliner, and get together to talk through what you are studying. No matter which way you approach the study, alone or with others, it’s sure to be a great way for God to speak some inspiration into your heart for the next school year!
2. Join a Summer Book Club
Another way to get more reading in over the summer, is to join a summer book club. Chances are you have already made a summer reading list for your kids, but have you taken the time to think of what kinds of books you’d like to dive into over the next few sunny months? Books offer entertainment, inspiration, and if you do it in community a chance to connect. Start or find a book club that will challenge you to meet a summer reading goal.
You will feel a lot prouder of the books you checked of your summer reading list than the list of shows you binged watched after the kids bedtimes.
3. Start Journaling
Journaling is a great way to clear your mind of the clutter. The best part of a journal is that it’s a total blank canvas! There is no wrong way to journal. All you have to do is open it up, grab something that writes, and attempt to put something from your brain onto paper. It can look like a phrase, a list, a drawing, a doodle, a memory verse, a rant, or absolutely anything else that you come up with. You can use your journal as a tool to help you better plan the next year, a place to write down your prayers, and it’s a great place to store favorite verses. A journal is a safe space into which you can put some of yourself. It can be a tool to help you let go of some of the burdens from the last year and create a vision for the year to come.
4. Set a Summer Goal Just for YOU
When we set our minds to meeting a challenge and then we actually accomplish that goal, there is a beautiful boost that our hearts receive! What have you put off doing for you? Have you wanted to change a part of your diet? Have you wished you could host more events at your home? Is there a skill you’ve wanted to learn but haven’t set the time aside to learn it? No goal is too small to count! Starting small may give you the confidence you need to tackle bigger tasks on that “I sure wish I took the time to do that” list.
Meeting a just for you goal is a way to help you feel seen and accomplished. If you feel lost in the hustle of helping everyone else meet their goals, it’s easy to get discouraged. Investing in something for you really does help everyone. It gives you the chance to feel valued and consequently you are able to serve your family even more joyfully!
5. Institute an Afternoon Rest Hour
Once your kids outgrow that magical afternoon nap, it can be tempting to fill the entirety of the day with activity! While it’s great to take advantage of this extra freedom to do more as a family, your daily routine as a family shouldn’t neglect rest. Everyone gets grumpy when they are overtired and overscheduled. Resist the urge to fill the day from top to bottom and set aside a sacred hour of rest in your afternoon. Use this hour, not to catch up on laundry, but to invest in you! Make this the time that you read that summer Bible study or dive into your book club selection. It’s even a great chance to sneak in a glorious afternoon nap for you.
Use this hour to invest in your heart over the summer!
6. Delegate Summer Chores
The truth is just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean there is actually less to do. Sit down and plan out how you are going to tackle the summer chores. The great news is that over the summer your kids have more free time, making it a prime time to up the number of household chores they are responsible for. Rather than you emptying the dishwasher every morning after breakfast, why not teach the kids how to do it? This way summer really can feel like you have less to do and you really can take the chance to add some of these life-giving activities into your schedule.
7. Find a Friend to Swap Babysitting Time With
Take advantage of the lack of routine and find a friend to swap mornings off with. Once you work out the logistics, take a few hours off over the summer to get after that summer goal. Your kids likely will love the chance to play at their friend’s house and won’t even miss you.
We need quiet spaces to gather meaning to our days. Noise can be beautiful, but the quiet places are where God speaks. Clear a few mornings to hear God and maybe get a few things checked off the to-do list a little more easily too. Chances are swapping will be a huge blessing to your partnering friend too!
8. Plan a WEEKEND Just for You
Distance offers perspective and if you have small children it can also offer the added benefit of a full night's rest! Plan a weekend trip for just you and your significant other or coordinate a Girl’s Night Away.
If that’s out of the question for your stage of life or budget, set aside one full day to do something that doesn’t involve mothering. Take the time to wander through a bookstore, slowly enjoy a coffee, or embark on a grand hiking adventure! Kids are amazing but we need times and spaces to be just ourselves. It’s important that we just reconnect with the parts of us that operate outside need meeting and house cleaning. Why not embrace some just for you fun!
9. If You Homeschool, Participate in a Conference or Training Event
One way to ignite passion into our homeschool is to be inspired by others who have the same goals in mind or learn a new way to approach some aspect of your homeschool routine. Homeschool conferences or trainings can offer a fresh perspective for your everyday life. Is there a subject or part of your curriculum you are struggling with? These events can offer specific classes to help you overcome those struggles. Do you feel like your routine is feeling dull? Many times, you can learn from the creativity of others at these events.
Search online and see what events are being held near you this summer! Lots of times, these events also hold large curriculum fairs. Even if you can’t attend an entire conference, just showing up and browsing the various curriculum resources can be great inspiration for how you want to approach your next school year!
10. Serve Outside of Your Home
Take a small sabbatical from primarily thinking through how to meet the needs of your family and find a place to serve outside your home that energizes your heart! Is there a ministry you’d love to give some time into over the summer months? Allow yourself the grace to give time beyond your four walls of your home, even if it requires taking the kids along to do it.
I’ve always had a love of gardening! Last summer I stumbled across the chance to help with a local community garden just for the summer months. It felt amazing to give a little of me into a project I felt strongly about that reached outside our home. I even brought along my older kids, and serving alongside them felt amazing. I was shocked to find that “doing work” actually boosted my energy because I was giving into something that excited my heart.
Galatians 6:9 instructs us not to grow weary in doing good. Not growing weary calls for a partnership on our end. We have to be mindful of how tired we are. Sometimes, we can’t avoid fatigue, but many times we put our own well-being after everything. This is good for no one!
If we don’t want to burn out, we have to invest in our own hearts, health, friendships, and prioritize whatever it is that recharges you. Take this summer and use it as a season to refuel your heart. Mothering is important, good work but it’s a marathon not a sprint. Find your right stride, so you can keep doing good work.
Amanda Idleman is a wife, homeschooling Momma to three amazing kids and is passionate about encouraging others to live joyfully. Amanda also loves to write as a freelance writer and on her blog (when she finds a spare moment for it). You can find out more about Amanda at her blog rvahouseofjoy.wordpress.comor follow her on Instagram at rvahouseofjoy.
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Are you in the trenches with your toddlers or teens? Read Rhonda's full article here!