Maximizing Productivity During Summer Vacation

summer vacation

I’m supermom. Maybe you are, too. Or maybe you are one of the moms who doesn’t feel she has her stuff together enough to be supermom. Perhaps you feel discombobulated, out-of-sorts and even as if you are not doing it as well as those other mothers. I’ve got a secret for you; even supermom feels like that sometimes. In fact, I feel like that most days. With a daughter who is turning 8 next month, a daughter who just turned 5 and twins who just turned 2, I’m busy. My husband is the best daddy that ever walked the planet (literally – he never missed an OB appointment during any of my pregnancies, he woke up to help me with every single middle of the night feeding, he wakes up with the kids if they wake up with a bad dream, he does bath time, he cooks, he reads stories, he brushes teeth, the signs papers, makes school lunches, takes time off work to attend all pediatrician appointments, and he loves our babies to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond).

He makes my job quite easy. He makes it easy to be supermom, but that does not change the fact that he leaves the house at 6:45 am and is not home until 5:30 pm. That leaves me to dress four kids and get them all in the car so that I can take the oldest two to school and pick them up in the afternoons. That leaves me to load the car, wake the kids, make breakfast (our kids start school at 9:20, how ridiculous is that?) and do it all day long by myself. Since I have a demanding career (but I work from home), I still have to find a way to fit that into my schedule along with two-year-old boy/girl twins at home, I’m often a stressed out mess. I can’t have a messy house, so I feel like I’m always picking up, working and wishing for nap time to hurry up and start. I have a routine, and it works well.

Now it’s summer vacation. We are officially one week into summer vacation this week, and I’m already losing my mind. All four kids home during the day is enough for me to want to pull my hair out by the roots (and I pay a lot to cover those) and lose my mind. But, I like to still look like supermom. That’s why you’ll see me in the YMCA with my four kids at 9 am, carrying the twins at the same time, smiling, working out and having a good time. It’s why my hair is done, my makeup is on and my house is clean. If I don’t do the things that make me feel good, I don’t feel good.

But the good news is that I feel like a total mom failure all the time. I might look put together and in control, but I’m one clenched teeth, fake smile, “You just wait until we are in the privacy of mommy’s car, my little love,” and a slightly tighter-than-usual hug away from losing my mind and running away from home. I don’t like summer. Love my kids, don’t like having all four of them home day in and day out while I’m trying to work.

That said, I have devised a foolproof schedule that works to allow me to become the most productive parent you have ever seen during the day. I mean, I’m rocking it at the moment, and I’m looking to help parents everywhere learn how to get things done at home while their kids are home, still make time to be an excellent parent, and not lose it – too often.

Get up early

I know, I know; no one wants to wake up early during summer. I wake up at 5 am, though, and it’s the best thing I can do. By 8 when my kids are up, I’ve already worked for a few hours, taken a shower, blown out my hair and put my makeup on. There’s a load of laundry in the wash, the dishwasher is empty (though my husband does all that) and I’m on my second cup of coffee. Getting up early allows me to have some time to get things done without distraction or frustration, and it’s a much, much nicer way to start the day feeling productive.


By 9 am, I like to have my kids at the YMCA. Today, they spent an hour in the KidZone while I worked out with girlfriends. I was energized, ready to tackle the rest of the day, and good to go by the time I was done. A great workout, even if it’s just as home in the morning, is a wonderful way to boost your productivity and really get things done during the day.

Discuss expectations

The most helpful thing for me is to discuss my expectations with the kids during the summer during the week. They know mommy needs quiet time in her office to work, or else there will not be time for fun things later in the day. They know that if they can give me until 1 pm or so, I can finish and focus on them. They also know that I can’t do that if I’m picking up messes I didn’t make, breaking up fights and asking tiny humans to stop whining. They’re not perfect about it, but they are good about it. They love to feel as if they are helping me, and that makes my life so much easier during the summer.

Carve out time

The best way to be productive during the summer is to make time for the kids. I would work all day, every day if I could. However, I know that’s not good for me or my kids. So, they get an hour of playtime with friends at the fun space in the gym every morning, and I get to work out. By the time we get home and early afternoon rolls around, they’re ready for me to pay attention to them, and I’m able to do that without distraction. It works well for my productivity during summer, and it works well with my kids.

It helps, too, to have a little stash of goodies to dispense during rough periods. I like crayons, coloring books, new DVDs or books, bubbles and other little things that excite my small kids and keep them entertained for a while so that I can get things accomplished.

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