A mother’s summer survival guide

sommeralltag kueche

Ramadan is over and the second half of our summer holidays began. That means for me to be a full time, homeschooling, and stay-at-home-mom again.
It also means that I have to redefine those roles for myself because I haven’t really had them since we opened the school in 2010. So it is for me now quiet a new challenge to care 24/24h for four children (including a teething toddler) without babysitter help.
It was important for us as a family to have now some private time without other people at home; it was important for us to enjoy the new house exclusively as a family and to keep out the different energies non-family-members sometimes bring into home. So it was a conscious choice to spend the holidays without maid and babysitter and to take on again the role as a housewife. I mostly enjoy this, alhamdulillah, and most of the time it really feels good.
But I have to confess that there are moments when I really struggle with all the duties and the energy-level fulltime mothering requires. After one day of past Ramadan extra-fasting I quickly gave up the idea to make up the missed days from last year because fasting in Ramadan is a blessing but outside the holy month it asks for a lot of extra effort and strength which I fully need now to put into my mothering-role in order to stay sane and positive, inchaallah. So at the moment our days are a constant changing, up and down, inhaling and exhaling, feeling well and exhausted, a mixture of happy-relaxed-summer-moods and a yelling-crying-arguing-bored-fatigue, mashaallah: Carrying the whining baby a LOT and not having free hands; trying to respond to the many different needs and interests from children of different ages from one to eleven who are with me the whole day, preparing food for everyone everyday nearly five times from scratch, fighting the never ending piles of laundry and dishes and a house to clean…while feeling guilty not to spend enough quality time with the little ones but at the same time feeling frustrated not to work down my “have-to-do-list“ or not to be able to have me-time and to do something of my “want-to-do-list”… – mothers, I think you know what I am talking about – we have the hardest job on earth!

To stay positive I’ve put together some of the things that help me going through the hard times and to find bliss in the everyday – I thought it might help some of you as well.
Happy blissful mothering to all of you! Take care and never forget to be good to yourself!


10 ideas that help me surviving these summer-holidays-at-home:

  1. Aiming to complete every day ONE thing of my to-do-list:
    I don’t aim for more, but also not less. My aim has to be achievable beside all the things that have to be done during a day with four little ones (all the mundane household chores). So when I succeed in doing one thing of my personal list it gives me a feeling of deep satisfaction to strike through at least one thing every evening instead of looking at five things I wanted to do but couldn’t.
  2. Taking breaks:
    we take them often during the whole day, to stop, to inhale and to recharge my batteries, with iced coffee, tea, homemade frozen lemonade, waffles, cake, melon or some other yummy thing.
  3. Accepting that piles of laundry and dishes are a reality and never will end:
    I try now to see these chores as worship and as the important and blessed work of a housewife.
  4. Going out at least once a day:
    going into nature, leaving the house, breathing fresh air helps me a lot to keep a good mood, even if it is only for ten minutes. And going on adventure every now and then, gong on a longer walk, an expedition, a trekking, swimming or fishing…
  5. Surrounding myself with beauty:
    it fills me with infinite joy to live in a beautiful environment and to keep my home nice, alhamdulillah. To use natural, handmade, crafted everyday objects nourishes my soul and gives me positive kicks throughout the day. Serving drinks in an antique glass jar instead of a tetra pack, or using a wooden bowl instead of a plastic basket, to use the nice linen table cloth and the good old porcelain from grandma, to put on a nice dress, to decorate the table with fresh flowers and to give the kitchen a new look with fresh colours on pillows and candles, all of that is bliss!
  6. Setting the right priorities:
    I have to remind myself to focus on the real important things of holidays and not getting distracted by unimportant mundane stuff: the kitchen doesn’t have to be swept every day and my water tabs do not have to be polished… I try to spend quality time with one of my little ones instead. The dished do not have to be washed right away when baby just felt asleep and when the bigger ones play outside – I can use that unexpected free time to read a book or to sew something for myself which makes me happy and helps me being a more patient mom afterwards…
  7. Staying offline and unplugged:
    one thing I’ve learned over the years is that switching the computer on to go online, trying to read or respond to an email during day and while being with the kids just doesn’t work for me: Because I don’t work well nor am I a good mum then, I either get angry with the PC or with the kids… So I decided to go online only when they sleep, which is by night or in the early mornings.
  8. Rhythm and structure:
    Holidays have to be different, the living has then to be an easy one and days feel best when we are able to flow with the moment, to relax and to live free without all the duties of normal life. So I try not to structure our days too much: We sleep after fajr until we wake up without an alarm clock, we eat when we feel hungry and we simply decide every day to do what we want to do… but to keep some rhythm and some structure helps me to benefit even more from these lazy days, to stick to some routine and some family rules makes the easy living much easier for everyone and helps me to stay sane.
  9. Praying:
    I pray everyday for guidance and ease, for Allah’s help in all the responsibilities I carry and for wisdom in all things I have to do and think about.
  10. Being thankful and trying to see the positive in everything, especially in the gift of being allowed to have so many beautiful little souls under my care, subhanallah!

Maybe you have some other ideas to add?

sternkissen machen  carpe diem
sternkissen neu
new pillow – new colour scheme –  carpe diem – enjoy the moment.


7 thoughts on “A mother’s summer survival guide

  1. Salaams Itto,
    thank you for sharing your survival guide. I can relate to your tips. Also a mother of four little ones. I always enjoy reading you. May you have a blessed summer!
    Lisa Fatimah 🙂 from Canada

  2. salaams itto,
    i can understand everything you write about, all the difficult moments during the day. i am a full-time home-schooling mum and sometimes get very exhausted, but remembering that everything we do as a mother and wife is an ibaadah really helps me to get through the day.
    i always enjoy reading your wise words.
    hasna from the UK xx

  3. Oh finally I got to read something realistic and something that I can relate to. Reading the stories of those supermoms who are pregnant and breast feeding and fasting at the same time or the moms who do a science project with there kids almost everyday with all the regular studies makes me feel under the dumps. Finally someone besides me who finds Shawwal fasts difficult with four little kids or someone who loves sewing even with a crying whinning toddler!!!!!!
    Erum from Canada

  4. This was so wonderful to read for me also, Ramadan was such a great month and I am really struggling to get into a new rhythm. Lego, Walking, playing in the park and abandoning keeping on top of cleaning, though the washing baskets really so need to be sorted out now…had such great intentions for Shawwal inshaAllah. My new thing is online yoga which has really motivated me. Thinking of you and sending Duaas from Yorkshire.

  5. It’s always a real pleasure to read you Itto. Your inspiring and beautiful words really talk to me. I tried to take it easy this summer and enjoyed being away from Internet, spending quality time with my little one and thanking the Universe for all the blessings in my life.
    Useful advices dear. Stay well and blessed.

  6. Salam Itto,

    Reading this while I am having a tea break outside! My husband is caring for my son at home now while I have a motherly break. But motherhood and being a stay home mum is such a blessing that I would never exchange for it. Though I need a break like now for me to reset so I can be a patient mother again. Love this post and makes me reflect now I’m alone.

    Love and take care,
    Huda Lee

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