Automated parenting and other tips: Mompreneuring on summer break

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summer break
Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash

Summer break is tough on entrepreneurship. It’s hard to find the time to “entrepreneur” when “mom” is a 24-7 gig.

A friend and I were discussing this the other day, and she suggested I write about how I’m managing this summer. Here’s what I’m doing:

Automated parenting

My daily to-do list for my kids is extensive. But the fun is built right in.

Yes, I have my kids practice reading, writing and math most days.

But just as important, I’ve added items for personal growth (helping someone, straightening up for 10 minutes, one household chore a day) and just plain fun (1/2 hour of screen time, explore, create, play).

I don’t go full-on autopilot: I do actually read with my kids and play games. But the list exists so that, during the times I need to work and they’re whining for something to do, I can just point them to what’s written on the white board, and they can get on with doing something they haven’t done yet that day, with minimal mommy involvement.

Make it an actual summer break

Somedays, though, I scrap the whole thing.

“Mom, do we ALWAYS have to do all these things?”, my oldest asked me about a week into summer vacation.

“Nope,” I responded. “Some days, we won’t do any of it. We’ll just go to the splash pad or have a play date with friends.”

Because I want to teach my children two things: You have personal responsibilities, yes, and those can’t be ignored. But family time and relaxation are equally important.

Get kids involved

I’m trying to find ways to get my kids involved in motherbility so that “Mommy’s work” is more of a family project.

So far, that’s been solely theoretical, so I’m open to suggestions!

For my #motherbilitymom feature interviews, I’ve been trying to meet moms at playgrounds or other kid-friendly spaces. The idea is that the moms and I can talk while our kids run around and play.

In reality, that’s just meant me trying to talk to a mom while my kids climb around us and pipe in with a million questions (for me), mid-interview. (Side note: Must prioritize teaching my children manners.)

The silver lining is that this experience has inspired a new project I’m excited to tell you about a few months down the road. Stay tuned.

Work as much as I can when I can

We have two weeks of vacation planned in the next month. I refuse to work on vacation, other than to post a quick thought on social media or respond to an email.

So I’ve spent the last three weeks getting motherbility done for most of July and into August. It’s meant early mornings and late nights, a lot of everything mentioned above, and this:

Embrace TV days

Somedays, I just have to get stuff done, without distractions.

These are my kids’ favorite days.

They don’t happen often, but sometimes I just let my kids have endless screen time. Their only requirement is they have to take turns.

Have I mentioned that my kids love those days?

The American Academy of Pediatrics undoubtedly would shake its head, but I refuse to feel guilty.

So far this summer, my oldest daughter has finished the entire “Harry Potter” series, my son has started to learn his multiplication tables, and my youngest can read 75 or so of the 100 first words they’ll give her in kindergarten starting this fall.

We’ve spent a day at a water park, gone to a splash pad, had several meet-ups with friends and a sleepover. We have a week’s camping trip and a trip to an amusement park coming up, and a birthday party for my son after that.

I’ve also posted written motherbility posts at least twice a week, including several #motherbilitymom profiles. The next two are ready to publish.

If, amid all that, my kids have watched a few too many episodes of “Lego: Ninjago,” and “Octonauts,” so be it. We’re all just doing our best.

Eight weeks until school begins. I had to look at that up. Because I’m not even counting down the days.

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