A Working Mom’s Guide to Summer Fun

It’s my lunch hour and I’m sitting at my computer, mindlessly perusing Facebook. Photo after photo, and status update after status update are all infused with summer fun–pool time, picnics, and summer vacations.

My heart aches, and I long to be participating in summer fun with my children. Unfortunately, my job prohibits me from afternoon play. It’s one of the hazards of being a working mom. (That, and the lack of a good tan.)  While I try to make up for it on the weekends, it’s tough to fit it all in. Plus, I’m exhausted after the work week. So what’s a working mom to do?

Here are some great tips to get in some fun time with the kids this summer, and still be at the office, because the nanny shouldn’t get all the fun.

working moms' guide to summer fun

1. Break the rules.

Not just for you, but for them too. It is summer, so let them stay up a little later if means extra play time outside. This is also true for activities; who says you need to just go to the pool in the afternoon? A 5 p.m. swim and then a picnic dinner makes for one great night of family fun.

2. Maximize your downtime.

If you have a lunch hour you aren’t actually working through, plan a family lunch date. Or if you are like me and have some flexible work hours, go in a little later and take the kids out for breakfast. Our favorite is The Bluebird Diner, and we try to squeeze one “breakfast with mom” date in each month.

3. Plan a “Staycation” instead of a vacation.

Who needs the added stress of packing the kids, their stuff, your stuff, and your hubby’s stuff into a car to drive hours away, all the while listening to “are we there yet?” That is NOT a vacation. Instead plan a staycation, like going camping in the back yard or a day trip to the zoo or water park. One vacation day, one day in the car, and no luggage: now that’s a VACATION!

4. Plan, Plan, Plan.

If you plan business meetings, you CAN (and should) plan time to spend with the family this summer. Pop it in your smartphone calendar and treat it like any other business meeting, because family IS business. Along with planning comes the dreaded, “What’s for dinner?” question. Meal planning, the crockpot, and sometimes boxes of macaroni and cheese are just what you need to minimize work time and maximize playtime.

5. Choose Quality over Quantity

You could truly spend the entire summer with your children; however if you are multi-tasking, it’s not really quality time. Setting work aside–ALL work, even the laundry–and focusing on the kids for one hour can make or break a summer afternoon.

working moms guide to summer fun

Hopefully, with these five tips working moms everywhere {me included} can enjoy some family time this summer. And get a good tan, too.

How do YOU make the most of summer as a working mom?


Brook {without the "e"} is a spunky faux redhead and former UI grad who has decided to call Iowa City her home for over 10 years. She met her husband on the internet, and they spend their days playing superheroes with their two boys, Edison (2007) and Grant (2010). She juggles mom life with a full-time job as a marketing consultant, competing in triathlons and writing her heart out on her personal blog www.redheadreverie.com. She believes life is a journey, not a destination.


  1. I’m a stay-at-home mom (with a pretty great tan 😉 ), but I still thoroughly enjoyed this post! I’ve enjoyed breaking a few rules myself this summer. Sometimes there’s so much freedom in just loosening up a little. Just today I broke the mealtime rules so we could go to the pool at a more convenient time, and it was great! Wishing you lots more summer fun… and a few extra rays!… 😉


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