Tips for Work at Home Moms in the Summer

Getting Back on Track for Summer

Wow! The last few weeks have been crazy. My family came to visit, it was my son’s birthday, baseball was overlapping with my son being on 2 teams simultaneously, and it was the end of the school year for the kids so there were a lot of field trips and other school activities to keep me racing around.

I’m so grateful that I’m finally able to attend and volunteer, after 10 years of being a mom and 18 years of clocking in, I can actually attend school functions without feeling guilty about missing work.  However, it did make working from home a little difficult, and honestly, I’ve been slacking off.  Now that school’s out, it’s time to get back on track, but how? 

I know most of it is my own fault for not putting in the extra time and effort, so I’m making up for it now.  We can finally get into a routine with the kids home for summer. 

What’s the Best Way to get into a Routine? Well…

  1. Make a daily schedule and prioritize it! I love lists! Even more, I love crossing things off my list when they’re done.  Having a daily schedule let’s everyone know what to expect from the day. Our schedule includes reading time, chores, mommy’s work time, and some fun activities for us to do together. Some days that will mean going to the beach or the park, and some days it will be crafting or playing games.
  2. Set time limits and stick to them. If you need to work for 3 hours, break it up into an hour at a time, when the hour is up stop and spend time with your kids, it gives everyone time to relax and decompress.  Come back and do another hour, then plan an activity with your kids and maybe another hour after they’re in bed, obviously whatever works best for you and your family.
  3. Be present with whatever you’re doing, especially when spending time with the family. Staying focused is not always the easiest to do when you have a million things going on. If you stick to a schedule you’ll be sure to have time to give your attention to what and who needs it at the appropriate times.
  4. Wake up early and go to bed early. Never underestimate the value of sleep.  Getting enough sleep will help recharge your energy levels so you can be more productive, happier, and healthier. Get up before the kids and enjoy your coffee, maybe work for an hour or go for a walk or run.  First thing in the morning is always a good time to get your mind straight for the day. If you don’t wake fully rested, you may not have the motivation or energy to get things done.
  5. De-clutter the house.  With the kids home for summer, it’s more important than ever.  De-cluttering is good for your mental health, when there is stuff everywhere it makes it hard to focus. Clearing the mess will symbolize clearing your mind. Have your little ones complete a couple of chores everyday, summer is a great time to teach responsibility and family teamwork.
  6. Make time to exercise.  Get moving, it will help you feel better, de-stress and give you a recharge. When you schedule time, it gets done. I love the saying: “The only workout you’ll ever regret, is the one you didn’t do”.
  7. Meal Plan. With the kids home for summer, you’ll be eating more meals at home. Have plenty of healthy snacks readily available and plan out simple meals to keep you from stressing over what to feed everyone. I like to make chia seed pudding and popsicles and keep them handy. The kids love them and they are packed full of essential nutrients that kids need!

Life is about balance.  Make clear-cut rules about chores, screen time, and Mommy’s work time. A good plan can make all the difference! When you and your kids know what to expect, life runs much more smooth. Most importantly have fun this summer! Think about how many summers you have left with them and make every moment count!

Related

Weeknight Family Meal Plan

Family meal plan

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M T W Th F
       
Meatless Mexican Basic Seafood Pizza
         
Quinoa
Stuffed
Peppers
Mexican
Rice +
Chicken
Grilled Cheese + Tomato
Soup
Shrimp
Alfredo
Naan
Bread
Pizza
         
Pasta Fish Tacos Mini
Meatloaf
Tuna
Cakes
Tortilla Pizza
         
Spaghetti
Casserole
Chicken
Tacos
Veggie Pasta
Salad
Salmon
Veggie
Wraps
Home
Pizza
         
Quinoa
Spinach
Salad
Tuscan
Salmon
Stir
Fry
Tuna
Melt
Quesadillas
Mini
Pizzas
       
Make ahead meals on Sunday when possible Include a veggie with every meal – even pizza Choose whole grain pasta Make your own whole wheat tortillas – so simple Make your own salad dressing

Snack Ideas

  • Celery + Nut Butter                                        
  • Apples + Nut Butter
  • Trail Mix
  • Energy Balls
  • Granola Bars
  • Carrots + Hummus
  • Blueberries
  • Banana Chips
  • Tangerines
  • Blue corn chips + Salsa or guacamole
  • Greek Yogurt + Honey + Cinnamon (my favorite)

Recipe Suggestions

  • Here is a link to my Breakfast Recipes, you’ll find them all very easy and kid friendly, if you happen to have a little chef in the house, they are all easy to make!
  • Check out 100 Days of Real Food Blog, she has a lot of great recipes all made with “Real Food,” including whole wheat pizza dough; whole wheat tortillas; Salad Dressing; Energy Balls.  She also has a great app called “Prepear” that you can use to plan your meals out – just an overall great resource!
  • Make a large batch of rice or quinoa on Sunday and use in your lunches and recipes throughout the week!

Things to Consider when buying:

  • Choose Nut Butter that is only Nuts + Salt (Kirkland Organic, from Costco is my choice)
  • When buying Greek Yogurt, choose plain and add a little honey + fruit for sweetness (Fage 2% is my favorite)
  • Choose a trail mix without chocolate, or make your own with almonds + Craisins + sunflower seed + pumpkin seeds, and a little granola
  • Check out Metronome Wellness for the list of dirty dozen + Clean 15 Produce
  • I purchase most of my meat from Butcher Box.  I love the quality, service, and selection.  They only sell only humanely raised meats, with the promise that the animals were never given hormones or antibiotics, so I can feel good about feeding it to my family.  I have been very please over the past few years.  A side note, I am not a fan of meat shopping, so to have it delivered, frozen, to my door is a win-win for me!
  • I love me some Costco & Trader Joe’s.  Both have a good variety of affordable, organic food. 
  • As much as I love fresh fruit and veggies, I must admit, I buy a lot of frozen, it’s nice to always have on hand and know that it’s going to keep.
  • When time allows, you can’t beat a good farmer’s market or roadside stand for the best local produce around!

How to Meal Plan for Busy Families

Feeding Your Family on Busy Nights

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Life’s busy! There’s no denying it.  What does your day look like?  Get up, get the kids off to school, and yourself off to work?  8-9 hours of watching the clock and thinking about the never-ending “to-do list” at home?  Never fully engaged at work because there’s so much to do after work.

Then, you finally get home by say 5:30, and one, or both, or all, of the kids have a game or practice that starts at 6:00, dinner is out of the question until the game is over, which makes it about 7:30 or 8 by the time the family has time to eat? At this point, all you can think about is a shower and getting everyone off to bed, forget about spending any time cooking! So, what do you do?  Microwave? Fast Food? Leftovers?  If this sounds familiar, I totally understand, been there, done ALL that!

Meal Planning Makes All the Difference!

It can be challenging at times. We all want our kids to be involved in sports and activities, and do what they love. Work and kid’s activities creates a lot of stress and mixed emotions for us moms.  I’m just a naturally anxious person, so when life gets hectic and feels out of control, I’m not well.  I need organization and a sense of control in my life. 

Write it Down

It literally takes 5 minutes some weeks for me to meal plan. I’ll grab a scrap piece of paper and write down Monday – Friday, and then assign a simple meal to each day. That way if I’m not home, my husband can at least start dinner if he is, but he’ll only do this if he knows what to cook.  Forget about him coming up with any ideas on his own, he’d rather just go grab something and be done with it. 

Not only is eating out expensive, but it’s hard to know exactly what goes into the food you’re family’s eating.  I find it’s also, much easier to overeat if you eat out.  Instead of listening to our bodies, there’s a slight guilt in not eating the food we just paid a little too much for. So just jot down your plan and stick it up on the refrigerator for everyone to see.

Suggestions for Quick, Easy Meals

I though I’d share a few meal ideas and suggestions that we use. Hopefully, you can implement a few of them into your own meal plan. 

  1. Salad in a bag + protein (tuna, chicken, bacon, almond slices, seeds)
  2. Crock pot meals (Here’s a site with some great, healthy ideas) I’m not the best at remembering to put something in the crock pot, among the hustle and bustle of the morning, but if you can put everything together in the fridge the night before, it makes your mornings go a bit more smooth.
  3. Deli sandwiches – this can be as simple or complicated as you want. Remember to use whole grain bread, choose lean, minimally processed, nitrate free meats, and add some veggies either on the sandwich or on the side.
  4. Tuna salad wrap or sandwich– Make ahead some tuna salad and have it ready to go. Again, make sure you are using a whole grain bread or tortilla for a good source of filling fiber and energy.
  5. Grilled Cheese or Grilled PB & J on whole grain bread with raw fruits and veggies
  6. Chipotle – I’m including this because it’s our go to. It’s surprisingly affordable for our family. My husband and I usually split a bowl, the kids get “kid’s meals” and we spend less the $20, we do this maybe once a week. It’s a healthy, quick, reliable meal that the whole family actually agrees on. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like making or cleaning anything. (Helpful tip: Keep the sour cream and cheese to a small portion and pass on the chips! If you don’t bring them home, you won’t eat them, that simple!)
  7. Pasta with your Favorite Sauce and Protein – Pasta is one of the quickest meals to make. I can have a batch of spaghetti ready in about 10 minutes. Remember to use whole grain pasta to fuel your little athletes!
  8. Chicken Nuggets or Tenders with a Veggie – Dare I even say it? Let’s face it, kids love chicken nuggets. As long as we’re feeding them good quality meat, we should feel just fine about feeding them something we know they like. (Just look for chicken raised without antibiotics or hormones, free range is even better, but more pricey).
  9. Frozen Cauliflower crust pizza – Kids like pizza, and popping a pizza in the oven while everyone’s getting around is pretty easy. The cauliflower crust has actually been a big hit at our house, and I feel pretty good about them eating pizza. (Costco carries a good one, and there’s also an “O’ That’s Good” Oprah brand we really like).
  10. Quesadillas – cheese, chicken, or tuna, and a veggie, they can be ready in about 10 minutes.

Whatever you need to do to provide your family with the nutrition that keeps them healthy and strong.  Keep fresh or frozen fruit and veggies always on hand for an easy side item. Make the main dish simple, with a little protein and fiber to fill them up and sustain their energy.

Planning is Key!

As I said earlier, write it all down. If you know you have a busy week ahead of you, plan the meals out ahead of time, even the trips to pick up dinner.  Let’s face it, sometimes it’s just nice not to have to do any dishes! 

Another trick that I’ve found that makes the meal planning easier in my house, is to assign a type of food to each night of the week.  For example, Mondays are Meatless, Tuesdays are Mexican, Wednesday are Basic, Thursdays are Seafood, and Fridays for pizza type items!

Here is an example of a meal plan I’ve used in the past.

Metronome Wellness Meal Plan

So, don’t stress Momma, you got this!  Keep it simple, remember the basics. Protein, Whole Grains (Fiber), and Fruits and Veggies. No one is perfect, life’s not perfect, you’re doing the best you can.  Just ask yourself is everyone happy and healthy? If the answers are yes – pat yourself on the back, you’re doing a GREAT job!!!