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Summer Va[chaos]ion

Updated: Nov 14, 2022

The Summer Daze & Who Moved The Cheese?

I have a secret. I used to be terrified of summer vacation. When my kids were younger, I could never understand parents who were excited to fill nine weeks with art projects and long beach days.

For me, just as I finally finished weaving together that tenuous rug of routine (who finished school when on what days, which kid had soccer or art or math tutor at what times) along came "JulAugust"; and all the hard work of getting used to that year's routine got ripped out from under me.

Summer juggling is hard for neurotypical moms.

It can be doubly daunting for ADHD moms.

There are many other reasons ADHD parents struggle during the summer months. Perhaps you're trying to do the acrobatics of coordinating nine weeks of child care while you need to keep working. Just remembering the schedule takes half your spoons! (Read about Spoon Theory here)

Perhaps you're home and responsible for entertaining them, trying in vain to compete against those dopamine-injecting screens. Planning daytrips takes a huge amount of executive function, never mind planning a vacation!

Either way, guess who is more likely to have kids diagnosed with ADHD, experiencing the same struggles? Yup, you hit the jackpot!

Fight Your Negativity Gremlin

I could go on about mess, more meals and later bedtimes. And I think we all have some anxiety about being home - lockdown PTSD. But over the years, I've learned to also notice the good stuff, like:

  • seeing the elated faces of my children on the last day of school.

  • eating dinner on the balcony in the fresh air.

  • the sweet relief of walking into an airconditioned room from the midday heat.

  • joyous shrieks that come from kids splashing and diving in water.

But I know it's hard to keep those things in mind. Remember that old Negativity Bias Gremlin we uncovered few weeks ago? We have to make a more conscious effort to notice the positive.

That's what made the think of a little exersise I once learned in a parenting class with the aim of setting ourselves up for success:

Recipe for Disaster / Success

Explore what could go wrong to give yourself more of a chance of getting it right!

  1. Imagine yourself having a disastrous summer. Knowing yourself, what thoughts and actions contributed to the negative experience? Write 5 reasons why you did not have a good experience. Starting each sentence with the words "I", explain how you contributed to the negative experience. ( For e.g. "'I went to bed late and was constantly grouchy". Or "I let the kids sleep in too late for us to get out on time.")

  2. Now that you have your recipe for disaster, turn each sentence around to the positive, finding the optimal solution to your problem.(For e.g. "I got into bed before midnight 3 times a week." or "I woke the kids at 7:30 every morning.")

It's not foolproof, but it gives you some direction and a starting point for setting good intentions.

Want a downloadable PDF version of the Recipe for Disaster Idea? Click here.

So go on, share your recipes with me in the comments!

And finally, print this out and read it to yourself every one of those 60ish days of summer! (from an awesome article entitled Lazy Days of Summer? For ADHD Moms, That's Not a Thing) :

Dear Self,

You have ADHD, and it’s for real. Know that everything it takes to run your family and your life is way more difficult for you than it is for others. This means you gotta take care of yourself more than others have to take care of themselves. This also means you gotta give yourself a crap ton of grace. You really are rocking it and you really are intelligent and when you don’t feel you are either, be patient. Also, layer on the self-care, consult with your ADHD-specialized psychiatrist, and did I say be patient? Breathe and be patient. Now is not forever. Healing, a better grip, and inner calm always return in time. Hang on. Remember: You rock!

Love, Self

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