Summer is all about kids having fun — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carve out some time to enjoy the season yourself too. Even if me time seems like something that just doesn’t happen in your household, try to squeeze in a few of the following activities before the clock runs out on longer days and hotter temperatures. Not only will it give you a chance to enjoy all that summer has to offer, but you’ll be able to recharge your batteries — which in the long run, is going to make you better at this whole parenting thing anyway.
Go wine tasting
Guzzling a can of rosé between the time your kids go to sleep and when you pass out on the couch may sound relaxing, but there’s a more refined way to enjoy some vino (and actually taste and remember what you had!). A wine tasting excursion can give you the chance to get a better idea of what you actually like (beyond just red or white). Most wineries with tasting rooms will encourage you to enjoy a glass of your favorite wine afterward — bring a picnic if the place allows.
Plan a friend getaway
It may seem impossible to get all your friends’ schedules to coordinate for a quick trip, but think of it this way — the group email that you start today could result in you and three of your besties on a beach or a lakeside cabin before Labor Day. The easy part here is that most parents won’t care where you go — as long as it’s away. You’ll be surprised at how much fun you can pack into 48 hours with the people who matter most to you.
Take a spa day
A massage or facial not only feels good, these luxurious services also offer health benefits, including less stress, fewer injuries from picking up the kids and skin that will glow (at least until back-to-school night). Check sites like Groupon for great deals at local places. Can’t make it to the spa? At-home services like Zeel bring the ahhh feelings right to your living room (just make sure your partner takes the kids to a movie, ’cause no one wants to be asked to wipe someone during their Swedish sesh!).
Attend an outdoor concert (sans kids)
If you’re like us, hearing live music may have been a big part of your youth, but once you have kids, it can be a real luxury to take an evening and attend a concert. Seeing your favorite band (or whoever is playing at the free concert in your local park) can boost your mood — you’ll find yourself singing along, getting up to dance and simply enjoying the great outdoors. No judgment if you can’t stay for the encore.
Read a book outdoors (maybe even in a hammock)
Finding the time to read isn’t easy, but is there really any greater pleasure than getting lost in a great book? Carve out some time for reading by skipping your nightly hour (or three) of internet surfing. Some public libraries even have adult summer reading programs (with prizes).
Take a bike ride with your partner (or friend)
Riding bikes isn’t just a kids’ summer activity! Instead of doing date night at a restaurant or meeting a friend for coffee, dust off that beach cruiser and start pedaling. Or better yet, venture out on your own and explore your town or city on two wheels. The endorphins you’ll experience from the exercise will make it worth the trip.
Dine al fresco
If it seem like too much trouble to bring your meal outdoors, remember those harsh winter months when all you wanted to do was get outside. Sit down at an outdoor table alone at your local restaurant and order up a glass of rosé — I promise, it’s a thing everyone should really experience. Or fire up the grill for a barbecue (just make sure that for this one meal you get a break from being the grill master/server.)
Try sunset yoga
Doing yoga always works wonders for us when we’re stressed or sore, but outdoor yoga in the summer is a whole other level of Zen. Get outside to your local park — yoga studios often offer free outdoor classes in the summer, so there’s no excuse not to take advantage.
Take a hike
Whether you’re a hiker looking for a challenge or a beginner in need of a moderate stroll, just getting outside to clear your head in nature can have lasting benefits (like less screaming at your kids and spouse). Grab a friend and your sturdiest footwear and start exploring local trails — you’ll be glad you ventured out.
Have summer sex
This one could be with a partner or solo. During the summer, we wear less clothing, and the climate dictates that we are feeling hot and just a little bit less inhibited. Whether you do it outdoors, on vacation or just in those few minutes when everyone else is out of the house, you deserve some summer lovin’.
Whether you get five days all to yourself or just five minutes, there are so many ways you can use the time to take good care of yourself, which in turn will make you a better parent. So be sure to take the time for a few adventures of your own before the hustle and bustle of the school year starts. And do it guilt-free — because you deserve it!