Last summer was my very first summer home with my children. At the time, I had a 6-month-old baby girl and my two boys were 6 and 3 years old. Frankly, I was terrified to have all three of them to myself most days of the week for the entire summer. SO, I made sure to sign them up for camps, activities, and vacations to keep us moving and busy for most of the summer.
Then, all of a sudden, summer ended. But…we were not relaxed, refreshed, and recharged. We had that same exhausted feeling we had during the school year at the end of the summer!
I spent the summer running the kids around to their camps and activities, waking the baby up from her naps because I had to pick someone up, packing lunches and snacks, etc. I realized I made the summer an extension of the school year, rather than what a summer should be.
When I was little, I remember relaxed summer days.
I remember going outside to explore, finding beautiful flowers, chasing lizards, going fishing, going to the beach, playing board games, spending extra time with my grandparents, having friends over more often, and, some days, staying in my PJs all day long.
So, when did we decide that summer should be packed with so many activities?
This year, we’re taking a different approach. I’ve signed them up for no camps. Not one. We have one low-key, summer beach vacation planned. My oldest will be on a rookie basketball league because he has fallen in love with that particular sport. They’ll spend more time with their grandparents. Some days we’ll just stay home, but other days we’ll get out and explore the world together.
We have the freedom to go swimming, go to the beach, visit splash parks, take advantage of local library events, read books (lots of reading!), splash in puddles, take day trips, draw, explore, stay in our PJs, and maybe drive each other crazy on occasion.
We’ve even sat down and made goals for ourselves this summer on some important topics, such as exercise, reading, playing, and socializing. We’ll focus on our plans to achieve these goals, but stay flexible and open.
Most importantly, we’ll be together. We’ll recharge.
Because how many more of these summers do we have together?
Soon enough, they won’t want to spend this much time with their parents or their siblings. Soon enough, they’ll be out of the house and grown up.
So, here we are, summer. We’re going to lean into you and take advantage of this precious time with one another.