Summer Family Fun Ideas for Working Moms

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Our top six ideas for working moms to enjoy summer with your children.

Summer can be kind of a bummer for working moms. Our kids are out of school, the weather outside is gorgeous, and yet we’re stuck at work.

Maybe we’re schlepping the kids to and from camps or daycare (what a drag), or possibly lucky enough to have a summer sitter who’s soaking up the sun with them at the neighborhood pool (grateful but a little bit jelly?).

This being my eighth summer as a working mom, I’m here to tell you not to let it get you down, my friends! With a little creativity and planning, you, too, can enjoy this season of sprinklers and sidewalk chalk with your favorite lil’ people.

Here are my top six ideas for working moms to enjoy summer with your children:

If you can adjust your work schedule, leave a little the office earlier and have a nice, long afternoon/evening with your kids.

Idea #1: Adjust your work schedule.

Because the days are longer, your window of “outside” playtime is extended. If you can get to work a little bit earlier (while your kids sleep in, or your spouse takes them to daycare), you can leave a little the office earlier and have a nice, long afternoon/evening with your kids. You can take them to the pool, have a picnic dinner at the park, or just blow bubbles in the yard.


Do something you wouldn't ordinarily get to do on a weekday, like hit the local amusement park or take a day trip somewhere you've always wanted to explore.

Idea #2: Play hooky once or twice.

Plan on using a day or two of paid time off “just because.” (I’m not advocating lying to your employer about being sick to get a paid sick day. Because that would be wrong. Also, you don’t want to worry about getting caught if you’re out and about with the kids.) Do something you wouldn’t ordinarily get to do on a weekday, like hit the local amusement park or take a day trip somewhere you’ve always wanted to explore.


If you work close enough to where your kids spend their days, you might be able to swing a lunch hour or coffee break to hang with them.

Idea #3: Do a lunchtime picnic or afternoon ice-cream break.

If you work close enough to where your kids spend their days, you might be able to swing a lunch hour or coffee break to hang with them. I’m planning to ask our sitter to bring them to a park that’s close to my office, and we’ll meet up for a “fast food” picnic and playground time. They’ll think it’s neat to see Mom in the middle of a work day, and you’ll appreciate the kid time, too.


Whether you have the budget for a beach-bound getaway or a low-cost staycation, I highly recommend setting aside at least a few days of time off for some kind of family vacation.

Idea #4: Take a real family vacation.

Whether you have the budget for a beach-bound getaway or a low-cost staycation, I highly recommend setting aside at least a few days of time off for some kind of family vacation. It can be so relaxing and energizing to be together, exploring new places and just enjoyng each other’s company—without the hectic chaos of daily home life. If you do end up going for the staycation option, avoid the temptation of “getting stuff done around the house” and prioritize fun family activities as much as you can.

Maybe you can bust out the laundry and grocery shopping on Friday night or Saturday morning, leaving the remainder of the weekend open for leisure.

Idea #5: Plan your weekends like a pro.

Working moms usually think of weekends as time to get caught up on household chores, as well as to spend quality time with our kids. During summer, give yourself permission to do more of the latter at the expense of the former. Maybe you can bust out the laundry and grocery shopping on Friday night or Saturday morning, leaving the remainder of the weekend open for leisure. Or take one whole weekend for to-do list stuff, and make the following one all about family fun.

Consider a compressed or reduced workweek to make more time in the summer for family fun.

Idea #6: Consider a compressed or reduced workweek.

I was talking with my sister-in-law about summer kid plans, and she said she moved from full-time to a three-day workweek—just for summer. Pretty cool, right?While this might not be an option for everyone, many working moms have found ways to make a shorter workweek happen. According to flexible work expert Pat Katepoo, “The secret to getting a ‘yes’ to your request is to present an air-tight plan and proposal that provides the business case for your new compressed work week arrangement.” Check out Pat’s Compressed Workweek Proposal planning package, which you can download instantly (along with other flexible work proposals) from her website. 


Follow Working Moms Against Guilt’s board Summer Family Fun on Pinterest.

Fun summer family activities

With the time you do carve out for your family, how can you make the most of it? I spend a leetle bit of time on Pinterest (OK, a lot—but it’s fine! It’s my job! LOL), so I’ve discovered about a million and one ideas for summer family fun. Here are some of the coolest ones I’ve found:

What are your favorite working-mom tips and tricks for summer fun?

 

Susan Wenner Jackson

Susan Wenner Jackson is the cofounder and editor of Working Moms Against Guilt. She lives in her hometown of West Chester, Ohio, with her husband, two children, and their dog.

9 Comments

  1. Even though I am stay at home mom, I loved the idea of working moms doing their best to spend some time with kids. A great list of ideas. Oh, and thanks, Susan, for including our rock play ideas.

    • You’re welcome! I’m lucky to have Ahalogy at my fingertips for all the best stuff on Pinterest 🙂

    • Wow! Spoken like a stay at home mom. From a working mom, this sucks,

  2. For the past 7 years I have given up one week of vacation during the year to take 5 Fridays off over the summer. I get 5 three day weekends (this year I get 6 because July 4th is a friday!). This gives us great family time and we take at least 3 long weekends away to the mountains or the beach so it feels like a “real” vacation. The kids love not being in camp 5 days a week all summer. A friend of mine takes Mondays off during the summer because she likes to visit touristy places when they are less crowded. I know this doesnt work for everyone but for us it has worked and we really feel like we had a summer vacation.

    • Sandy, that is a great idea. Long weekends (especially so many of them) can really feel like mini-vacations. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great ideas. The compressed work week will not be allowed in direct care. Adjusting hours and using accrued vacation time is something we must do. Kudos to enjoying the weekend and not just concentrating on the “to do” list.

    • Thanks, Louise!

  4. […] Working Moms Against Guilt rounds up six ways for working moms to fit in summer family fun. […]

  5. This is an insult to working moms. We don’t always have this luxury,

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