Summer Mom Guilt: 5 Ways to Beat It

Thanks to social media, summer mom guilt is stronger than ever. Anytime you log into Facebook or Instagram, you are inundated with pictures of your friends with their smiling children, doing tons of fun summer activities. Then the thoughts start to creep into your head.  Why don’t I take my children everywhere like my friends? Why can’t I provide so much fun and excitement? I am a terrible mother! Guess what – you’re not.  Here are my top five tips to keeping summer mom guilt at bay.

beat summer mom guilt

  1. Set realistic goals. If you are lucky enough to have time off during the summer, don’t feel bad if you don’t have fun activities planned for each day. For one thing, it’s not realistic. If you spend the whole day at the zoo in the sweltering sun, you will not feel like trekking out the next day and neither will your children. My goal is to have fun things planned for two days a week. This way, we have something to look forward to, but we also aren’t going crazy trying to have all the fun, all the time. If you do have to work, I recommend planning some easy fun activities in the afternoons, or planning one larger activity on the weekend. Something as easy as playing board games after dinner, going out for ice cream or seeing a movie under the stars at your local park is exciting and a change from the mundane.
  2. Put your kids in camp. Alex’s school is wonderful and offers a free/low cost summer camp for children. They go on cool trips once a week and spend the rest of the days playing games, learning to code, doing science experiments and just hanging out with friends. He wakes up every morning asking if today is a camp day so on the days I need to run errands, or having nothing exciting planned at home, Alex gets to go to camp. I get some quiet time at home to get things done and he gets to hang out with his friends – win-win situation.
  3. Be Present. When you are spending time with your children, be there and only there. Don’t scroll through social media or answer unimportant texts and emails that can wait. Giving them your undivided attention is worth way more than being there all day, but being distracted.
  4. Let them be bored. Boredom leads to creativity, and if you micromanage every minute of your children’s days, they will not have time to be bored. When we were kids, we spent the long summer days bored and were able to invent games and other activities for ourselves. Let you children have the opportunity to do the same. It’s good for them!
  5. Get the kids involved. Don’t put it on yourself to plan everything you do this summer. Ask your children what they want to do, and if possible, do it! You kids will feel proud that they got to plan your activities, and I am willing to bet that they are not going to be things that are super hard to accomplish. When I asked Alex for what he would like do to while we on vacation, his answer was swim in the pool. Easy peasy!

And most importantly, remember that no one is posting pictures of their children crying and whining that they’re hungry, even though they just are 12 minutes ago – only the best, curated moments of their family outings. Social media is not real life, and we can’t compare our moments, the good and the bad, to anyone’s feed.

I hope that my tips will help with the summer mom guilt. When those bad thoughts start to set in just remember, the new school year is just around the corner!

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  1. This is a great idea. I do not have kids so I do not have to go through any of these. But when I was younger my parent had us find things to do on our own. And I had a blast you should let your kids get bored.

  2. I’ve tried to get our kids involved in our summer activities and they love it! They want simple things and I’ve seen the importance of their opinion. LOVE YOUR TIPS!

  3. I am struggling with this so much right now. We simply don’t have the money to go and do like all those people on my Facebook. They are going everywhere from the movies once a week, to the zoo, water park, etc. We have been home all summer. We have a pool, and try and swim often, but the weather this summer has been dull and rainy. Thanks for this post, because I needed to read it today!

  4. Mom guilt makes me so mad. Social Media makes it so easy to give off this appearance that moms are doing incredible things every day with their perfect kids when, in reality, they posed the photo in the 15 minutes everyone was happy, and claimed it was their whole day. It should be fully acceptable to have a lazy do-nothing day during the summer. The kids go hard for 180 days and so do you. Everyone just stay in those jammies and watch a movie.

  5. Great ideas! I have little ones so they still need regular supervision. I’m looking forward to when they can play more on their own though!

  6. I always try to take the kiddos somewhere during the summer. And my daughter is ALWAYS telling me she’s bored. I always tell her to read a book, build something for the fairies, arts & crafts, or something.

  7. Just think about what we did during the summer when we were kids and suddenly, you’ll feel like a much more present parent! LOL We turned out fine, but seriously, I had nothing planned for me. We couldn’t afford classes and I am from a small town where there weren’t any awesome, free or low-income summer camps. My sisters, friends and I just developed wild imaginations from having to be creative. Lots of swimming, forts and playing with Barbies. Did my mom feel guilty? Never!

  8. My mom used to tell us she wasn’t our entertainment committee and that we had plenty of toys and imagination to go find things to do. Even though it used to drive me crazy, I do agree. Parents don’t have to feel guilty about not planning every minute of your kids’ summer.

  9. So very true about the effects of social media. When my brother and I were kids we grew up on a rural Iowa farm and the nearest friend lived 2 miles away. I’m so glad my parents didn’t try to entertain us all of the time. If they had I wouldn’t have memories of catching worms, reading books, playing board games, or going for long bike rides down our dirt road. x

  10. Lol.. I should let my 7year old read this post. Specifically the part about letting them be bored. She believes that we must be doing something every second of the day, and when that is not happening, she is bored. I do agree that I am not supposed to be entertaining her every waking minute. She will learn to deal with time by herself. It won’t kill her. Great article.

  11. i have mom guilt no matter what time of year it is! I am blessed I have a teenager now who will take the kids places while we are at work during the day during the summer months.

  12. I love it how you said “let them be bored”. Its so true, boredom really bring out the creativity of a child. They tend to find things and innovative games to occupy themselves.

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