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How moms can plan relaxation time

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Schedule for downtime

Who ever said summer is a time for relaxing and taking it easy didn't have my life. Or they didn't have kids. Or something. My day is as crazy - and often as scheduled - as it is during the school year. Just because it's summer doesn't mean there aren't demands on me. But because it's summer and I think I should be relaxing more, I tend to feel shortchanged. How do I get the summer down time I need and still meet the needs of my family? I schedule relaxation time. That's right - I schedule it.

Woman in Hammock

It seems incongruous, I'm sure, but it seems to be the only way we manage it. And "relaxation" is relative. I'm never completely on my own, and there is still work to be done, but the relative feel of the time is of relaxation and enjoyment. It's a reason I love summer.

Pick a favorite activity

What's your favorite summer activity as a family? Is it picnicking in the park or trips to the beach? Maybe it's playing bocce with local cousins or laying in the hammock doing absolutely nothing? How often each summer do you actually get to do that? Now, how often each summer would you like to do that? If the reality is less than the desired, then it's definitely a candidate for scheduling.

Put it on the calendar

It's time to schedule this activity as a regular event on the calendar. Really. One of my husband's favorite summer activities is a weekend dinner on the beach. But since we have so many different things going on with the kids and work and house projects, we've found that scheduling the time away from the busy-ness is one of the few days actual relaxation happens.

If you put something on your calendar, you are more likely to plan for it and arrange your day such that the event happens. It seems like a lot of organizational work for time that is supposed to be loose and free, but for the time to truly be loose and free, you have to make sure that other demands are put aside, and that takes planning.

Stick to it

Once you've figured out the what and the when of your time for relaxation, you have to stick to it. Unless there's some kind of emergency, this is an as committed event as going to work in the morning, or evening bedtime. You want it, you need it, now take it.

Taking the time to figure out ways to make sure you enjoy the summer (or whatever season) are key to making sure that you get what you need to enjoy your otherwise crazy life. You may not be able to completely remove the insanity of making sure the kids are Covered, but you can carve out time to make sure you enjoy the time, too.

For more tips on family relaxation:

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