Dreading first summer without my kids – what do I do?

PA post imageIf this is your first summer, here are a few tips to help you move past the dread.

Use time away from your children to recharge

Unfortunately too many parents treat kid free time more like a dirty little secret than an opportunity to recharge. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and bypass the guilt. It’s actually okay to enjoy a break from being Mom or Dad 24/7. To avoid squandering your well-deserved time off, plan ahead and consider how you can constructively use your time apart.

To get started take 10 minutes to jot down a list of things you’d normally consider self-indulgent. You can also include things you’ve wanted to get done but haven’t gotten around to yet.

Coming up short on ideas?  Ask yourself.

–       When the last time you saw a movie you wanted to see?

–       What would it take to plan a weekend getaway with friends? 

–       Is there a hobby or new experience you’ve wanted to try?

–       What’s something you did in the past or “pre-kids” that you might like to do again?         

Instead of keeping quiet, feel free to share your summer plans with kids. Not only does it model good self care but it also reinforces that you feel good about them spending time with the other parent. It also send a clear message that enjoying time apart is okay.

Keep your anxiety in check

Kids are extremely sensitive to parental stress so make sure your children’s QT with the other parent isn’t tainted with worry. No matter how sad or apprehensive you feel, remember, you are the parent. Do your best to responsibly manage your feelings and not leave children wondering if you’re going to be okay while they’re gone. If necessary, get support from trusted friend or family member to help you sort things out. 

It’s perfectly okay to tell your children you love them and that you will miss them. However, don’t forget to reassure them that time with the other parent is important and that you want them to enjoy it.

While the thought of being away from your kids can feel incredibly overwhelming, don’t forget that absence makes the heart grow fonder. When time apart is constructive it can deepen everyone’s appreciation for the important people in their lives.