For the Mom Stressing About Summer

Alicia Searl

Contributing Writer
Updated May 10, 2024
For the Mom Stressing About Summer

Leave room for God to move and hold your plans with loose hands as He will bring sweet joy to some of the most unexpected places.

It’s that time again. The time when children will come running out of school, grinning from ear to ear, lunchbox swinging, cheering loudly, only to fly into your arms, hug you ever so tight, and ask, “So, what are we going to do, now?” Summertime has officially begun! Are you stressed out yet?

You would think after nearly 17 summers I would somehow know how to embrace this time and allow it to melt away stress rather than create it, but that’s not exactly what happens. It seems that summer always has a way of sneaking in and humbling me. Where my kiddos see fun and vacay mode, unfortunately, I see all the stress that comes with planning and prepping for that fun. Not to mention, as my kids have gotten older, I feel this pressure to make summers even more meaningful with time being of the essence.

Once again, here I am, scrambling to make summer both fun and meaningful only to be hit with a dose of reality and high cortisol. As you may already well know, when it comes to summer, things don’t always go according to plan or the way you picture it all in your mind. Unexpected events happen, kiddos settle into boredom, vacations come with an extra dose of craziness, and the house gets loud (really loud). Not to mention, the summer heat (especially down here in the south) can put a damper on things. Ugh!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the sweet side that summer brings, as kiddos run around the yard barefoot, and the pool is filled with roars of laughter; I’m merely just pointing out that summertime brings on a huge shift for us moms. We are waffling between connecting with our kids in a real and meaningful way while groveling for a little routine and a bit of peace in the process.

This usually leads us to ponder if there's a happy medium where the two can collide. Honestly, I don’t know. I am still working on it. But…what I can say is that you aren’t alone, if that is any consolation. Let’s just say that right about now every mom out there has this internal heart flutter that is softly whispering, “Have you planned for summer yet?” 

So, let’s get ahead of it now! That way, when your little cutie pie comes bouncing up to you on the last day of school and wants to know what the summer holds, you can smile and say with full confidence, “To have fun with you!”

Manage Your Expectations

Okay, we have to start with a general question: What are your expectations this summer? Be honest. How do you really see it going? Is it manageable and realistic? I ask because sometimes we can conjure up these grand plans in our heads, and well…they just aren’t very realistic. Let’s be real moms. Pinterest-perfect summers don’t exist. Well, maybe they do for some people, but don’t live someone else’s dream; live your own! You have permission right now to let go of the expectations you are putting on your kiddos and yourself. Then go back and ask what are “your” expectations for this summer.

Be Flexible

If there is one word I have learned to come to grips with over the summer months it is "flexibility." Sometimes you have to just roll with it, or slide with it, as we like to say. When our girls were younger, we had a backup plan that included our trusty waterslide. So, when all else failed, we’d whip out the slip-and-slide and create our own fun. The truth of the matter is that plans change, events get canceled, siblings get sick, and that means disappointment happens. Be flexible and have a few backup plans up your sleeve in case the summer camp falls through or a friend has to re-schedule that anticipated play date.

Have a Simple Daily Routine

"Keep it simple" is the motto I have grown to love over the years when it comes to summertime. As a girl who likes structure and routine (which is why I tend to grow a bit anxious and stressed when summer draws near), it is best to have some sort of daily routine. Setting expectations for the summer will hinder those summer boredom blues and allow for peace of mind. 

Find a Balance

Speaking of summertime schedules, one of my greatest concerns as a mom is the use of too much technology and TV time. If there is no routine, the natural tendency in our home is to be plopped in front of the TV or a screen. Ugh, the battle of today’s culture, I guess. So, to find balance, we have a chore chart and an activity chart. This helps us find a balance and gets my little darlings actively serving in our home and getting physically active before having downtime, which is also needed.

Set Boundaries

Ok moms, it would be remiss to think that summer is going to be all fun and games and that these schedules and routines are the answer to your summer stress. Reality check! Sometimes things need to be tweaked to provide better boundaries. If you have no gap in your day to catch your breath or rest yourself, you are going to burn out—fast. Create time in your day where you get to rest and gather a peaceful thought. That may look like putting on a movie for them so you can retreat to your bedroom or curling up in the rocking chair to read a book. Either way, your little dears need to know you need time this summer too, and setting those boundaries up front will help them respect that time. 

Have a Summer Bucket List

Going back to those summer expectations, gather your crew together and discuss what each family member wants to do this summer. Then make a list or put those items in a jar to draw out later. After that, all I can say is let the fun begin! It can be a weekly or bi-weekly thing where you pick something to do as a family and have a blast making memories. After all, that’s what summer is all about!

Be of Service

Summer provides a sweet time to look into the needs of your community and serve those around you. Check out local volunteer opportunities where the whole family can be of service. From local animal shelters to local food banks, to even picking up litter at a local park or making cards for a retirement home, see what piques the interest of your kiddos and what you can do to meet the needs of others. 

Have a Rainy-Day Box

Rainy days may seem to put a damper on a summer day, but sometimes those can be the sweetest times to curl up with your little one and read their favorite book or snuggle under some blankets and watch your favorite movie. Also, check out making a rainy-day box by placing crafts, puzzles, books, and board games to bring out during a gloomy and stormy day.

Overall, just take a deep breath and realize that summer can be a unique opportunity to create some special memories with your most precious people. Leave room for God to move and hold your plans with loose hands as He will bring sweet joy to some of the most unexpected places. 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Pollyana Ventura

Alicia SearlAlicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy.  Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.