It’s officially SUMMER! And if you’re in a traditional nuclear family, you are probably thrilled about it. For blended families, summertime often brings on added stress, largely due to a shift to the summer custody schedule.
After being in a routine for 9 months, the summer is met with figuring out alternate child care, trading time for special events, vacations… the list goes on. What may have seemed like a cut-and-dry custody agreement during the school year may suddenly seem filled with gray areas. Whether or not your blended family is highly functioning, the added stress of altering the schedule for three months is enough to make any stepmom reach for the wine.
Over the years, I’ve figured out a way to get through the summer without losing my sanity. What works for me may not work for you, but I’m writing today to share my TOP 5 SECRETS for SAVING SANITY THROUGH THE SUMMER.
Summer Custody Schedule Sanity Savers
The summer schedule will likely be much more fluid than the school year schedule, and that’s okay. It’s imperative that you be flexible and willing to work with the other household. If the mom wants to keep the kids a little later on a trade day to take them to a fun summer concert in the park, then just let her! It really is that simple… just be sure she’s giving you the same level of flexibility! Your kids will likely not appreciate having to miss out on a concert just because you wanted them home for family dinner at 5pm.
Don’t Nickel-and-Dime for Time.
Drop the petty “keeping track of the minutes we have the kids” act for the summer (and if possible, forever). If you’re a 50/50 physical custody family, just work to have your days “close to even.” If there is legitimate reason for the mom to have the kids an extra day than you, just let her have them. Your kids will not remember where they spent 50 nights in the Summer of 2018 versus who they only spent 40 nights with… but they will remember you letting them enjoy all the fun summer activities they could get their hands on! Remember: It’s not about you.
Give the Kids a Summer.
If the kids can stay home every day with their mom, but would need to go to childcare on your time, consider letting them stay with her during the days! If your child has the option of staying home, sleeping in, and hitting the pool with friends, then why stop them from that?! You wouldn’t want your kids to look back on their summer and have felt like they were in school all summer if that could have been avoided.
Plan Fun Activities.
I know, you still go to work all summer, so it’s hard for you to feel motivated to plan fun things. Step out of your comfort zone and make it happen! Worried about finances? There are plenty of inexpensive summer activities you can do with the kids, so take advantage of them! Consider planning a two-day getaway. Go to that amusement park you know is overpriced and over-capacity. Think about your summers as a kid… how would you have wanted to spend your days?
Enjoy Your Own Summer.
Whether or not it’s when you have the kids, don’t lose sight of the fact it’s still summer! Plan a cookout, lay by the pool to get some Vitamin-D, go on romantic date nights, or say “yes” to an invitation from friends, for once! If you feel like you’ve lost time with the kids this summer, shift your perspective from “bummed out” to “excited!” Looking forward to your personal time does not make you a bad stepmom. Take time for yourself and for your husband. Recharge and rejuvenate. Allowing yourself to make the most of your summer- every single day- will hopefully kick off the school year on the right foot!
For those in the thick of sorting out summer logistics, I hope these tips come in handy! If you’re worried about missing out while your kids are at their other home, check out this great idea for a summer journal! Again, what works for one family may not work for the next, but these five tips have truly changed my outlook on the fluidity of our blended family. Wishing you all the best as you kick off your summer – Cheers!
PS: You really won’t want to miss these 100 free or inexpensive summer activities!
PPS: Have you grabbed your copy of The Busy Mama Co-Parenting Planner?!