School is out for the summer almost everywhere, and that modern rite of summer has begun: people on every social media channel posting pictures of all the fun summer activities they’re doing with their kids. At 10am on a Tuesday, while I’m sitting behind a desk all day with my kids in daycare. Cue the working mom guilt.
I know there’s a lot of time left in the evenings and on weekends for fun stuff, but — confession time — sometimes the logistics of it all just overwhelms me. (“Yes, let’s go on a bike ride. Oh wait, go potty first. Then let me get the Ergo for the baby. Oh wait, he needs changing. Where’s your helmet? Oh shoot, it’s bathtime already, I guess it’s too late to go after all. Cue meltdown.)
Last summer I just did what was easy — mostly play in the backyard — and I ended up feeling like the summer was wasted. I mean, what kind of slacker mom doesn’t take her kid swimming? This year I have a new plan. No, I’m not going to jam-pack our schedule with t-ball games, swimming lessons, and “mandatory fun,” but I do want to feel like we really got to enjoy our summer when we get to the end of it. There are some activities that just scream “summer” to me, and I want to be sure to enjoy them with my family. So, how am I going to make that happen?
1. Make a list. Yes, it’s yet another summer bucket list. Annoying, I know, but I really am the kind of person who will completely forget that we can camp out in the backyard unless I plan it out ahead of time! Is it better if we call it a “Summer Fun Inspiration List”? I’m sure we won’t do everything on it, but at least it will remind me of all the fun things there are to do in the summer when I’m whining about the heat and humidity.
- Camp out in the backyard
- Roast marshmallows
- Catch fireflies
- Throw water balloons
- Have a water gun fight
- Go swimming
- Go fishing
- Go to a baseball game
- Draw with sidewalk chalk
- Make lemonade
- Make homemade ice cream
- Make a blackberry cobbler (my favorite dessert of all time)
- Watch fireworks
- Go canoeing or kayaking
- Shoot fireworks
- Watch a 4th of July parade
2. Gather supplies for fun. Am I the only one who passes on doing something to avoid a trip to Wal-Mart or Target on a Saturday afternoon? Ugh… it’s one of my least favorite tasks. Anyway, most of the items on our list are relatively inexpensive (by design) but they do require some stuff. (It’s hard to have a water balloon fight without any water balloons!) So I will suck it up and take a trip to Big Box Inc. to acquire the necessary supplies for all these activities (plus sunscreen and bug spray). It won’t be fun, but at least it will be done!
3. Plan for fun. It’s a little counter-intuitive, I know, but I’m a big believer in planning a few anchor events each weekend, then filling in the slack times with relaxing and spontaneous fun. If I don’t have something planned, I will spend the whole weekend doing things I need to do but nothing I want to do… And all (house)work and no play makes Sarah a dull girl!
Looking at our summer fun inspiration list, I’ll want to schedule that backyard camp out soon, before it gets too hot, and the water activities can wait until we are in the full heat of summer.