For many moms, summer break isn't much of a break at all. With school out, staying sane while finding a balance between keeping the kids scheduled and letting them relax can be a difficult challenge to navigate.
Rachel Zoe, creator of The Zoe Report and Lysol's newest spokesperson, knows how overwhelming summer can be for moms. Fresh off a glossy "Best Use of Instagram by a Publisher" award win, while showing her resort collection and campaigning for her summer Zoe Report Box of Style, Zoe is a proven summer multitasking master. "Summers are never relaxing, but they're always fun," Zoe says.
Zoe shares her tips for staying calm, cool and collected during the hot summer months.
Summer just isn't complete without a trip to the beach. Pack your bags, and catch some rays and waves for a long weekend with the whole family.
"Being able to look at and hear the ocean is a big part of summer for me and my boys. The beach is like the world's greatest playground—it's our happy place," says Zoe.
Don't live near the coast? No problem—any body of water can be an authentic and fun-filled beach experience.
Staying hydrated is important year-round, but it's harder to keep up with during the hot summer months.
"My little one got a heat stroke once in Palm Springs and it was the most terrifying thing, so I'm very paranoid about hydration now. I think in the summer months when kids are having so much fun, they don't really eat or drink like they normally do, so you really have to watch them carefully," says Zoe.
"I'm extremely militant about sunblock. I cover myself and my boys with SPF 50 at all times. Two products I'm really obsessed with are Coola and SuperGoop because they don't come out all white and thick and sticky," Zoe says.
Even when it's cloudy out, skin is susceptible to sunburn. Make sure to use a high-quality sunscreen and apply thoroughly. A nasty burn is a sure way to put a damper on summer fun.
"Kids hate to have sunblock constantly applied to them, they find it so annoying," Zoe says. "I apply once, then keep them in hats and swimwear that has SPF 50 built into it. If you do that, you should be good the whole day and won't have to worry about reapplying all the time."
It can be tempting to over-schedule the kids during the summer, but it's OK to take a step back and let them enjoy a little bit of extra screen time. They'll be back at school and keeping to their regular limits before you know it.
"Kids go to school all year, and I think the summer is for letting them do the things they normally wouldn't during the year, like a little extra TV here and there. I think a lot of my friends tend to over-schedule their kids, and I think it's very easy to do that. Let them relax a little bit. They're kids," says Zoe.
A little screen time is OK, but summer is a great opportunity to explore some creative activities that the kids can enjoy. Encouraging them to discover a new talent or hobby is a great way to spend some time together.
"Summer for me is a time to remember what life was like before all the electronics," Zoe says. "It's hard because a lot of us are raising 'screenagers' at this point, and I think there's just a constant battle with electronics. In moderation, it's OK, but I want my kids to have down time and just go play in the sand, or have them write and color and create and do puzzles. I've started making changes to do more things like this and it's been really awesome."
Summer is a great opportunity to get the whole family together to bond over some outdoor activities.
"We include the kids in almost everything during the summer. So many of our friends have kids, so a lot of things are geared around that, and there are endless things to do. Some of our favorites are bonfires on the beach, concerts, art fairs, strawberry picking and polo matches," Zoe says.
Summer is great for spending time outdoors, but the hot summer months can also pose a challenge for pregnant or nursing mothers on the go. According to Zoe, you don't need to sacrifice style for comfort.
"Being pregnant or having small kids during the summer can definitely be a challenge, because it just gets so hot. I always recommend lots of sundresses in very lightweight fabrics that breathe—something billowy that you can easily move in and that isn't tight to your body. When I was pregnant in the summer, I lived in kaftans and was so comfortable," Zoe says.
Try Zoe's Carroll Ikat-printed silk kaftan, pictured.
Convenience is always key, particularly in the summer. Whether it's grabbing the sunscreen, a snack or water bottle, making things readily available is a big advantage.
"I really love crossbody bags for summer because I always want my hands free. When I'm with my kids there can't be a bag that occupies a hand. It has to be a crossbody or on my shoulder or a backpack, and it has to be easily accessible when I need it. I love a backpack that's canvas or something lightweight, and love anything with a lot of pockets and pouches so I can keep things organized," Zoe says.
There's clean laundry, and then there's the cleanest laundry. Zoe recommends Lysol's laundry sanitizer.
"I'm pretty obsessed with things being as germ free as humanly possible," Zoe says. "It's a constant quest to keep your kids from getting sick, so Lysol's new laundry sanitizer has been a real game-changer for me. It's been amazing for me to use this product and know that their blankets and bedding and the things they drag around on the ground are getting properly cleaned," says Zoe.
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