Notes from a Mom in Chapel Hill

How to Make Summer Work Work

Remember being a kid and the start of summer vacation? It meant FREEDOM, ice cream, skinned knees in the driveway, bug bites, late nights playing outside, and days at the pool. For about 2 weeks. Then it meant boredom and screaming “MOOOOOM what can I do NOW!?”

Well, guess what? Now I am Mom. And now summer vacation is here for those of us with traditional school years and my 4 year old has already mastered the “I am soooo bored” whine. Already. He’s 4.

Mom in Chapel Hill

Yet while I stay at home with my kids, I work. I am a writer and blogger and the computer is constantly requiring my attention. (Sometimes I feel like I have a stronger relationship with this laptop than with my husband. )

It’s not just the writing that requires time, it is the account management time, the social media time, the email response time, the cold calling & marketing time…and that’s all business stuff. That doesn’t even include whatever personal things and Words With Friends games I have.

With writing and blogging, success is directly related to how much time you put in. It is pounding the keyboard hours on end to meet an approximately 25% success rate (ok, maybe more, but not much).

So how is it possible to be a Mompreneur with 2 little kids running around, “bored,” all summer? I can’t just put my boys in front of the TV all day….or can I…?? No, no, I can’t and I don’t really want to. I like spending time with my kids. Except for when Mom in Chapel Hill needs some attention and they are hitting each other with the Swiffer because they are bored at 9:30 am.

How is it possible to get it all done? Really. I am asking. Because I haven’t found the way yet.

Over on my personal writing website, Go Dansker Mom, I wrote about this a little bit. I deemed that my word would be “patience.”

Which is a nice touchy-feely thing, and helps, but here are some true practical tips I am working on:

1. To maintain. This is not going to be the time to grow my blog(s) and take on a bunch of new freelance writing projects. If I can maintain and stay where I am, keeping my current readers and clients happy, then I will be OK.

2. To work when the kids sleep. This is tough because who wants to work at 8:30 pm after the kiddos are in bed? And my toddler can wake up in the morning as early as 6:00 am. I have tried setting the alarm for 5:00 am but that is just laughable. I learned what works for me is to enlist my husband’s help in motivating me to get working at night. He does this by turning on really terrible television that I have no interest in watching. It works!

3. To get help. With blogging and writing money screams in for a month then it slows to nothing. There isn’t a set budget and I never know when the next “paycheck” is going to come, and how much it will be for! Justifying a sitter or Green Kids is hard. But I have struck a deal with a great sitter who will watch my kids for a fantastically cheap rate because she knows we’re going to keep her regularly employed. Now for about 2 hours every other Friday I have time to sit and answer emails. It is a regular appointment on the calendar, I don’t have to run around setting it up, and it has been a life saver.

4. To set boundaries. This is advice Christy has shared in her fabulous SuperMoms Anonymous series. I have learned to be clear with my kids when I am working and need space. And when I am not working I am present with them. This means snapping the lid of the laptop closed and getting on the floor and running trucks through block towers. I want to be successful and I also want to be there for my kids.

I know that in the long run, someday, I will look back and think of how quickly the years with my sons went. I am not sure I will ever say “man, I wish I had had more time to work.”

But I also know that I love what I do and being successful gives me confidence in my everyday life to be who I am. So it’s all about balance.

Got any tips for this mom? Give them to me, QUICK, Curious George is about to end!

Notes from a Mom in Chapel Hill

Allison Carter
Notes from a Mom in Chapel Hill
Go Dansker Mom


Cary Heise
Latest posts by Cary Heise (see all)


  1. I’m working on a similar post now, so it’s funny that I ran across yours Allison!! {I may need to reference it…..} The only thing that I’ve found that helps is scheduling specific tasks for quick periods of time in the day.

    I’m easiy distracted, so I found that if I can check JUST EMAIL {i.e. not Pinterest……} while the kids are eating breakfast, I can get that quick task out of the way. I don’t answer anything, I just check it to see if there is anything important that I need to address. If there is, than I know to add that to my “must do” list at nap time. Naptimes are about 3 hours {hooray!} at my house, so I do an hour of picture editing, an hour of blogging {writing, corresponding with sponsors, linky parties, etc.} and an hour of “must do” {anything else that needs to get done THAT DAY}.

    After the kids go to bed, I check email again, respond to the blogs I follow, Facebook, and Pinterest….all of which I consider fun!

    Hope that helps!!


    1. Shara- I love your advice! And yes, Pinterest is certainly my fun thing.

      I, unfortunately, don’t get any nap time, it’s terrible. My 4yo has “aged out” of naps. That’s why I have rekindled my love for SuperWhy on PBS! 😉

      Happy summer!

  2. It’s tough – no doubt! Older kids pitch in, aunts and uncles, friends and play dates. Thank goodness for friends and family. It really does take a village!

    1. I agree! A village, for sure. I just hope that I am able to give back to folks who have given so much help to me over the years. My mom-guilt kicks in otherwise.

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