Between work, camp drop-offs, pool-filled weekends, backyard barbecues, visiting the in-laws, and taking the kiddos to the beach, summer has a way of slipping through your fingers. Even though motherhood may make it seem like those lazy warm-weather days of sipping margaritas with your BFFs under the quiet glow of tiki torches have all but gone, you can still squeeze out some self-care moments during the summer months. When you feel yourself getting stuck in a summertime rut, take a little bit of “me” time with these easy-to-squeeze-in mommy-break ideas.

An excited woman balances on a railing in front of a museum

1. Check out a gallery or a museum. Toting the tots along to the art museum provides you with the chance to expose them to a new world, teach them new lessons, and open emotional doors for them. But it’s also filled with you quietly whisper-yelling “Don’t touch that!” as you wrestle with the diaper bag and try to keep the stroller from puncturing a Monet. Get a sitter this time, and take an afternoon to slowly stroll through a gallery or museum. You’ll have the chance to actually look at the art, relax, and maybe even get a little bit introspective.

2. Play in the dirt. This one is otherwise known as “pretend to garden.” Everyone else in the house passes on helping you tend to the plants outside because… Well, because it’s not fun. An afternoon of actual weeding is far from a relaxing indulgence, so instead of sweating away in the garden, bring a book, find some shade, and kick back in your backyard queendom for an hour or two.

3. See a movie solo. If you have to sit through yet another cutesy cartoon masquerading as a movie that’s also ironically humorous to adults (it’s so totally not), you might end up as the one throwing a tantrum. Have your S.O. take their turn watching the little, hire a sitter, or drop your kiddo off with a grandparent while you head to the movies. This is an almost unheard-of opportunity to sit in a dark, completely quiet, air-conditioned space (with all the popcorn and candy you want) and watch an R-rated flick without anyone disturbing you.

4. Visit a salon. Your feet are covered all week at work, and on the weekends when you finally expose them they look less than pool-ready. You take care of everyone else all week long — don’t you deserve the chance to let someone else take care of you? Get some pampering of your own with a mini mani-pedi break.

5. Paint en plein air. In other words, get your art on outside! And no, you don’t need to be an “actual” artist to try this one out. Painting is a creative outlet that lets you relax and take your mind off of all those everyday stresses. Grab your kiddo’s tempera paints and a brush (or just use your fingers) and paint what you see in the fresh air.

A woman lounges on her sofa enjoying a bowl of ice cream

6. Have an ice cream night. Oh, and this one is by yourself. Even though it’s super-fun to have a family ice cream sundae Sunday, sometimes mama needs to eat her Halo Top before it melts into a puddle of mushy mess. Wait until the kids are asleep, grab a spoon, and give yourself a little treat.

7. Take a cold shower. You’ve spent the day sweating in places that you just don’t want to think about. Instead of adding to the sweat factor by pouring yourself into a steaming hot bubble bath, spend some time in a cool shower. It’s kind of like jumping into an early-morning pool — minus the chlorine and plastic toys.

8. Read a book. Yeah, yeah, you read plenty of books… about cartoon cats, superheroes, and babies who can talk in full sentences by six months. But you rarely, if ever, read an actual “grown-up” book anymore. Start your very own summer reading club of one by picking a new book each month to cuddle up and relax with.

9. Mix a mocktail. Maybe you’re breastfeeding, or maybe your tired self just can’t handle a full-strength margarita these days. Whatever the reason, refresh and recharge with a mommy mocktail. Play mock mixologist and combine cold, cold seltzer with juice, fruit, and anything else that strikes your fancy!

10. Watch the stars. Your little one is asleep, and your S.O. is in the house with them. Take a breather at the end of your busy summer day and catch a star show from the comfort of your patio, deck, or fire escape. Bring along an atlas of constellations or a handy phone app and look for the dippers, big bears, and a cast of mythological characters.

What’s your favorite summer activity? Share your pick and tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)