I made a parenting resolution this June.
I would take time off of work to be a better mom to my 5 kids.
I started working as a social influencer 12 years ago. I love what I do for a living. If you know me and you follow me, you know my work is my passion. I'm very blessed to love what I do and wake up every single morning excited to dive in head first. I know it's not that way for everyone, so I truly embrace the fact that it is that way for me.
Usually throughout the day I'm head down working from the time the kids leave for school till the time they get home. That's about 6 hours of uninterrupted work time. Those 6 hours are precious for me because I know I need to get about 10 hours of work done in 6. As every working parent knows, when the kids are home - not much is getting done.
Or – better said – fully embraced work is not getting done because there's always one ear or one eye looking and listening for any needs and/or wants from the kids. With my sons – it's a bit easier because they're 10, 11, 12 and 13. They fully understand that mom needs to work and get stuff done.
With my 4 year old daughter?
Yeah. Not so much.
Victoria's preschool ended on June 1st. My 4 sons were set to be in school until June 21st. I was set to enroll her in summer camp at her preschool for 3 weeks to make it easier on me as a work-at-home mom.
I had her all signed up and ready to rock it, but I canceled it the day before it started. I felt bad doing it because I knew she was excited to go, but I just felt I needed to spend some one-on-one time with her. When my sons were her age, I was pretty much a stay-at-home mom. I was building this "little" blog at the time, and really trying to understand and embrace social media. I would spend all day with the kids and it was wonderful.
That time was time I will never, ever forget. We did so many things together. We would go to the zoo, to the park, to the ice cream shop, to the library and have play dates all the time with other families in our area. I know I can't give that to Victoria because life for our family has changed a ton in the last 10 years, but I felt I needed to try and carve time that would be special to just the two of us.
The reality for me is I need to work. I'm the breadwinner right now. A lot falls on my shoulders. As much as I wish I could be more present at school for the kids and on field trips and in volunteering opportunities, it's just not in the cards right now. Work consumes me during the day and it's important for me to grow my business. I'm very passionate about building something my kids will be proud of someday, and my husband is doing the same thing. I've always had this dream to build something from nothing, so my life as an entrepreneur fills all my hopes and dreams and wishes. I want my kids to see me working hard for them and hopefully be inspired to do the same for their families someday, too.
But here's the truth, I became an entrepreneur so I could carve out my own schedule. I decided to become what I am today so I COULD go to the zoo or park or ice cream shop in the middle of the afternoon. On a wing and a prayer, years ago I created a work life for me that hopefully would be conducive to my family life someday. And here I am, 10 years later and I've been able to do it. But I don't take advantage of that fact I have created this for myself and for my family. My mom told me not too long ago, "You will never wish you worked those extra hours, but you will wish you spent that extra time with your kids. It goes by so fast."
That really hit home to me, especially now that my 4 little boys are 4 teens! So I decided to get creative and do something for me and for Victoria.
I created "Camp Mom."
Since Victoria really wanted to go to camp, I knew being creative with the name and getting the word camp in there would help! Camp Mom kicked off on June 2nd and went through June 21st! I had so much fun coming up with stuff for us to do that we normally don't get to do together!
Some of the things that we did together:
We went to the zoo. We went out to a "fancy" lunch. We went to an indoor playground. We went to an outdoor playground. We went to the library. We went on a scavenger hunt. We walked to our town center. We picked flowers. We went swimming. We went to the beach.
Every single day for at least 2 hours, I STOPPED WORKING. This was something that was very foreign for me to do! I'm not used to 'turning it off' for any time during the day! I stopped answering emails. I didn't answer calls. I was off the grid completely and the only thing that mattered was my girl.
I can't express fully just how much it meant to her. Every single morning Victoria woke up and asked, "What are we doing today!?"
There was excitement! It was just mommy-and-daughter time. We laughed and we talked and we just got to be together without any distractions. It was the most precious time of all.
I'm going to be honest here with you, I was worried about actually doing this! I was worried about "checking out" for a couple of hours. Looking back it's laughable that I felt that way! Work is work, but my family – that is my life. I did have two occasions when I needed to be away for work throughout the last 3 weeks and my mom stepped in for me, which was fun for Victoria, too!
The best part was seeing how many moms followed along and started doing the same thing, too! Everyday I was getting a text or message from someone saying, "This is what we did today for Camp Mom!" Even some of my friends who work full time as teachers or in offices were sharing with me how they were fitting it in during the late afternoons. It was amazing to see other moms embracing the present moment and making some time for something important.
Here I am exactly a month later writing this and I can tell you without doubt that Camp Mom changed me. I was always so worried about checking out during the day, but Camp Mom – believe it or not – made me MORE productive. I was getting up early figuring out what needed to get done for the day and I was doing it. I was more organized than ever. I was excited about making sure all my to do list items were checked off before I left for Camp Mom. It really made me see that by having something important to fit in, I was able to make myself work harder and more efficiently to make it happen.
Now that the summer is here, I've given myself the gift of being with my family more and more because I'm getting smarter with how I work. I'm giving myself permission to craft and create a summer schedule around my work. My kids are happy. I'm happy. My work is thriving.
3 weeks 'off' in June literally changed my life for the better.
I'm on a mission to keep this resolution fired up for myself and any other parents out there looking to make more time with their kids a possibility during the summer.
Camp Mom – who would've thought!?
Camp Mom was a big success for us. Being able to STOP work and be with Victoria every single day was the best thing in the world. It was the best thing I ever did.
Our last day of Camp Mom was probably the cutest! I told her we were relaxing and getting pampered, so we went for mommy and daughter pedicures.
It was ... well, amazing!