If you are a hard working mom on a lifelong search for the best ways to combine and balance professional and family life, you might relate to my statement: I resent summer holidays.
I could come up with at least one major reason per kid that I brought into this world to support my statement, one for the dog, one for the cat, and we reach the top 5 reasons why moms like me resent holidays. Here are some tips that can turn that resentment into peace and joy during your summer holidays.
PROBLEM 1: House cleaning human resources running dry.
HECTIC: It is usually during the summer holidays that my Polish cleaning lady decides to visit her native country. As she goes on leave only once a year she will be away for 8 weeks. This means that the honor of cleaning the house, ironing and cooking are entirely left to me.
JOY!: Agree on a list of tasks that your kids can assist you with. Make a clear timetable with who’s doing what and when and ask the kids to tick them off when accomplished. You are a mom but nobody says you have to do it all by yourself, right?
PROBLEM 2: Regular babysitter services taking time off.
HECTIC: The first 4 weeks of the summer holidays present a learning curve for my family. We need to get used to each other after a long school year, mom and dad are working approximately ‘normal’ hours, meeting for breakfast and for dinner and perhaps for occasional romance on the living room couch. The best and worst about this is that during the first 4 weeks we cannot ask our babysitter for help. She is in France.
JOY!: Make it clear to your kids that you need some time off. If they are old enough (ours are 10-8-6) allow them to show that they are “big” kids by trusting them they are perfectly fine when you leave them alone for a few hours. Mine are thrilled to be left with a list of chores they need to finish before they can watch Tv.
Problem 3: Which Summer camp and when?
HECTIC: With mom just becoming an entrepreneur and dad as seasoned entrepreneur, little space is left for planning holidays early in advance. We usually fix the 2 weeks break somewhere in May. In Belgium this proves to be a high risk especially when you have to take care of more than one kid for the entire summer holiday. The rush for camp spots drains our energy: we are either too late, or the camp is incredibly expensive, or not all the kids like the same camp, the camps are far away, logistics doesn’t help.
JOY!: Discuss with other parents who are more ‘camp conscious’ than you are to keep you up to date with the registration periods. Decide in advance what is feasible for you, which camps you are interested in and remember: as much as you love your kids, you are running ‘the business’, you have the final word. Sometimes you will have to be firm and say a ‘No’ meaning it.
Problem 4: The dreaded or Lovely family Vacation.
HECTIC: Whether we choose for a flight destination or a car trip, there’s always a lot of hassle with the preparations. I have to admit I am a master at packing bags, puzzling with what we need versus what we would love to take. However the more the big day approaches the more I feel like hiding somewhere. Not to mention it always feels like the end of the world that we need to leave the animals behind and worry whether we will find them in good shape, or find them tout court when we come back home.
JOY!: Ask each of the family members to select the clothes they want to take with them. In our case, I will ask for 1 underwear, 1 pair of socks, 1 t-shirt, 1 short/ day of holiday, in case our destination doesn’t include any clothes washing facilities. If such facilities are available, the amount of clothes is divided by 3.
Problem 5: Gearing back up for another year.
HECTIC:Ultimately the holidays can be fun. Still the prospective of returning home and facing a mountain of clothes to be unpacked, attending to the animals and preparing for the new school year cast a shadow on any potential bliss we might be experiencing while away from home.
JOY!: Remember that all good things stop somewhere only to take off again the next summer holiday. Allow yourself the time to breathe in your home air, relax and chill before you assault your bags. Nobody will move them from there and with a bit of luck… your cleaning lady will do it for you. Allow yourself a bit of patience.
With the years and yearly practice, it gets better and better. The first 20 years are a bit of a headache, afterwards the habit kicks in. Enjoy! I love holidays!
I am Selena Ardelean, mom of three wonderful boys: Bruno (10), Sacha (8) and Jeremy (6) and wife of the sweetest man on earth. A
former teacher of English of Romanian origin, I have built my professional experience in HR and international merger-acquisitions companies. I enjoy nowadays my career as life and leadership coach, speaker, trainer and author, fully embracing my life in Belgium.
A few months back I have operated a big change in my life shifting from an employee mindset to one of a starting entrepreneur. I have recently opened the Triple A Coaching – Personal Development Center where I help individuals and companies overcome culture shock. My personal story of an immigrant settling in Brussels in search of a better life has helped me understand my purpose in life which is to encourage and empower people to step with confidence on the path towards their true self. Learn more about me here.