Woo-hoo! It’s mommy time! The kids are away at camp or gone to grandma’s for the weekend. So what are you going to do now?
If you’ve been too busy planning their summer activities to think about your own, try these 10 terrific ideas. You’ll be so busy enjoying yourself, you might just forget how much you miss them.
1. Do new. Break out of your routine. Eat breakfast on the patio, take a hot new fitness class (think boot camp or yogalates), visit an art gallery or go to a wine tasting. You won’t have to cut the fun short to pick up the brood at ballet or baseball.
2. Reconnect with your friends. I mean the friends who knew and loved you before you had kids. Or fellow moms you’d hang with even if your kids weren’t in the same class or on the same team. Plan girls’ night out, host a cocktail party or corral a couple for a double date on the town. No kids allowed!
3. Rekindle romance. When we asked our MK Facebook friends what they most looked forward to during their kid-free time, date night topped the list. So let sparks fly. Have a romantic picnic together or cook dinner in alluring lingerie while he sips a drink. Reconnect with your sexy self. There’s no need to worry that the kids will bust in and catch you “wrestling” with daddy.
4. Conquer clutter. If most of your kitchen drawers are “junk drawers” or you’ve got piles of paper littering your desk, stop the madness. Clear out distracting clutter. Tackle one space at a time so the task remains manageable and you don’t get sidetracked.
5. Get the picture. Organize family photos. This is the perfect time to reminisce about the little darlings — you haven’t heard their whiny appeals in days. If you scrapbook, have a crop party. If not, online tools such as Shutterfly.com or MyPublisher.com make it easy to create heirloom-quality albums after years of storing digital photos.
6. Pamper yourself. Schedule a manicure or pedicure (or both). Get a massage. Have your hair cut at a real salon, not one where kids watch cartoons in barber chairs shaped like fire trucks. Sit pretty for a makeover at the department store makeup counter. Lavish love on yourself.
7. Read up. Now’s the time to read that book you’ve been dying to dive into but couldn’t enjoy with the Xbox competing at full volume. Devour a juicy romance novel, savor rich prose or linger over provocative ideas and perspectives. Join MK’s mom’s summer book club: We’re reading Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld (find info, a reading schedule and discussion points here).
8. Tune in. Listen to music you like, not One Direction. (Unless One D genuinely gets your toes tapping, that is.) Download some new songs or dig out your old faves. You won’t have to hear the kids groan “Oh, mom” when you crank up the volume and sing heartily along.
9. Eat it up. Enjoy grownup tastes you forgo when you’re cooking for kiddos. No mac-and-cheese or chicken nuggets. Go for teriyaki grilled salmon or a salad with goat cheese, herbs and walnuts. (Find dozens of other yummy recipes here.) Break out the china and sit down in your formal dining room, not at the breakfast nook.
10. Give back. If you’ve been meaning to do more community service but can’t squeeze it in between carpool and soccer practice, this is the perfect time to give. Call a charity you’ve worked with before or find all kinds of local opportunities, whether you live in Delaware, New Jersey or Pennsylvania.
Heidi Smith Luedtke is a personality psychologist and mom of two who knows the words to more cartoon theme songs than she admits. Get psychology lessons for life at Heidiluedtke.com.