A summer holiday survival guide by twin mum and leading life coach Alice Rickard
Let’s be honest… as much as we all love our children, the summer holidays can fill us with dread. Endless weeks of juggling, entertaining, spending, and coordinating. And to top it all off, during the longest days of the year.
The tiny little squares of the calendar suddenly seem to have expanded. How the hell am I going to get through this? What am I going to do with them? How am I going to get my work done? These recurring yearly thoughts echo around the minds of mothers EVERYWHERE.
As a self-employed, twin mother, living in London, I get it! It’s a lot.
I’m sure you've already been bombarded by endless WhatsApps stating who is doing what, which camp is the best, and the top days out for your children, which personally just fuels the anxiety and comparisonitis we mothers can often feel.
This guide is not about them. It’s about you. Let me take you from surviving to thriving on the countdown journey to September.
Here are my THREE top tips when it comes to managing the summer holidays:
PREPARE. PRIORITIZE. PRIZE.
If you can win the first 5 minutes of your day, you can win the first hour. If you can win the first hour, you can win the day. How you start your day will determine whether you will respond or react to whatever the day throws at you.
If you can start your day calmly with some breathwork or even set an intention for how you want to feel that day, you are literally guiding your central nervous system on how to feel. I am aware this sounds wishy-washy, but trust me, this works! It is the difference between me taking a beat to quietly respond to my children fighting over who is getting in the car first or screaming at them and slamming the door.
When we start our day by scrolling our phones, checking the gram, or some overactive WhatsApp group, we are telling our brains, ‘Hey, this is how you are going to get your dopamine today,’ and your brain is going to search for it throughout the rest of the day.
When we give it calm and peace, our brains search for more of that. We literally instruct ourselves on how the day will go. Before you cuss me out with the ‘well, your children clearly don’t jump on top of your bed at 5 am demanding their iPads’ - they do! And when they do, those are the days it is even more paramount that I prepare my mindset.
If you are starting the day thinking this is going to be sh1t. Your mind LOVES to be right, so it is probably gonna be sh1t.
You don’t need long, you don’t need crystals and candles and some whole meditation ritual. You need to lock yourself in the loo for 5 mins while you sit your children in front of the TV and do these three things.
1. BREATHE - Start your day by calming your central nervous system with 5 really long, slow, deep breaths.
2. INTENTION - Set your intention for the day. This is honestly the difference between existing and living. Is it to be calm? Is it to be present? Is it to be fun mum? Is it to be organized? Give your mind directions.
3. QUESTION - The quality of your life is determined by the quality of the questions you ask yourself. What do I need to do today to make today a success? What do I need to do today to make me feel happy?
Something I had to learn the hard way when I became a mother was understanding the IMPORTANCE of prioritizing myself.
As a mother, prioritizing yourself is so important for both the well-being of your family and your sanity. It may seem counterintuitive at times, as your natural instinct is to put your children's needs first, but it is essential for both your energy levels and emotional capacity to survive listening to the same song on repeat in your car for 8 weeks.
Prioritizing yourself doesn't mean neglecting your children; rather, it involves carving out moments for yourself. It doesn’t matter what that time entails, but make sure it's something that brings you energy. What do I mean by that? Going for a walk listening to a podcast that makes you laugh, rather than scrolling a feed on the sofa that makes you feel inferior. Spending time with someone that makes you belly laugh so hard it tests your pelvic floor, versus someone who sucks the life out of you. Whatever it is, it should feel great.
By nurturing yourself, you set a positive example for your children, teaching them the value of self-love, balance, and resilience. You know the classic saying men have “happy wife, happy life” - I like to remind this one to my children: ‘A mum that has rest is the mum that’s the best.’
Hear me out. A lot of jobs give you a commission-based bonus. A lot of tough endurance races give you a medal. It’s a supportive way to acknowledge your performance. How often do you acknowledge your performance as a mother? How often do you say, ‘Do you know what I really nailed that meltdown, I handled it calmly, with no support, and got the job done’?
My best mum friend, Mary (you know the type that you wouldn’t have survived motherhood without), came up with a brilliant idea that we needed some sort of reward system for getting through various stages in our kids' lives, or in particular school holidays! Rewards have included spa trips, drunken shopping sprees, and my favorite one to date, a trip to go and see exotic dancers who pick you up and throw you around some dirty room in North London.
The prize itself is not the point. The logic behind it is. We are all so good at focusing on the negative, the things we’ve failed at or forgotten, the difficulties and the struggles. By having a prize and end goal in mind, it not only helps us move forward, but it also teaches us to look back and give ourselves the recognition we deserve.
My hope when you read this is you come up with your own, end-of-summer holiday reward system for all the bloody stars you have earned over the summer holidays. Let me know what your reward is going to be (Instagram @motherofmind) - I seriously want to know. One because I'm sure it will inspire me, but two because if you are taking the time to message me what it is, you are 10 times more likely to actually implement it. And I want that for you.
You can find me on Instagram @motherofmind - come and say hello!
Good Luck and have a wonderful Summer Hols. See ya on the flip side.
Mother of Mind
Alice Rickard x