Does anyone else ever feel those pressures? To make a picture perfect summer? Or offer an array of adorable snacks and plans and learning activities? I ’m not sure if it’s the mom in me or the homeschool mom in me - or maybe just the schedule lover in me :) But, as often happens when we are looking at what others are up to on the world wide interweb, I can fall into the trap of overplanning and overstructuring. Which, for me, hilariously leads to burn out or feeling like I can’t keep up - with the very awesome summer plan that I came up with 🤣
While I was reflecting on my childhood summers and asking my husband about his… we both nostalgically remembered how care-free our summers were. How laid back and easy our mornings felt. How our sweaty, muddy selves came in after a long days’ play full of popsicles and powdered lemonade, and completely crashed ready to go back at it again the next day. There were moments of strawberry picking and theme parks scattered throughout, but for the vast majority of our summer memories it involved early morning cartoons, play-filled afternoons, and refreshing evening swims. I want that for my kids this year.
So, what am I vowing not to do this summer? Well, for starters…
1. I vow to not take full responsibility for giving my kids a “fun” summer. I don’t have to be the one organizing hide and seek and creating colored chalk paint. I don’t have to beef up their calendar full of extracurriculars. And this year? I won’t. Unless, of course, it is delivered to my doorstep or found in a library book with step by step directions that my children can read on their own.
2. I vow to not let their summer take over my summer. There is a constant war being waged in my mind and heart - the notion and rightness of the sacrifices motherhood undoubtedly brings, but also knowing there are clear and healthy boundaries to be drawn so that I do not loose myself in the title of motherhood. It’s my natural inclination to say yes - will you swing me? yes. Will you get me a glass of water? yes. Will you take me to the pool? of course. Will you play a game with me? yes. <— while those are all good, true and beautiful things, I must rid myself of the guilt of saying “no.” Saying no can be a great thing when they are given the change to be independent; think for themselves; problem solve; get creative; serve one another. I’m not doing them a disservice by showing them how to rest or how to take delight - and it affords me the chance to also say yes to this break I’ve been given as well before we go back into school this fall. (this is not to be confused with self-absorption. But rather a healthy way to set spirit-led boundaries).
3. I vow to not wake up feeling the stress and hurry of the day ahead. When school hits we are on a relatively strict schedule; morning responsibilities and chores, Bible time, morning work, and many mornings a week we have classes and co-ops to attend. On summer break, we don’t have these things, so we are only as schedule-bound as we decide. So what am I deciding for us this year? To not be bound to a strict morning routine. To take it easy, soak in beautiful music and breakfast outside; lingering a little longer in the Word and with my coffee. To take morning strolls in our pajamas if we so choose. Will family Bible time, chores and responsibilities still happen? Of course. But it’s a season that we don’t have to rush…and summers and childhood don’t last forever..
So, these are things I’m not doing - but what exactly will be doing?
This summer I am determined to keep things simple. Popsicles. Walks to the pool. Early morning cartoons. Cheetos. Soaking up every bit of daylight and not being so concerned with maintaining a bedtime schedule. Last minute friends popping by for s’mores. Afternoon reads with approximately zero thematic activities. Pearler beads and water colors, so long as they’re amazon primed. Hopscotch and four-square on repeat. Unlimited juice pops and yes to all the fishing. And to keep things somewhat exciting this summer, we are doing one fun outing a week, such as putt putt, menchie’s frozen yogurt, and a free day at six flags (God bless friends with season passes). We’ll head to the library a few times to restock on read alouds and quiet time books, and I ’ll be sure to plug away at books just for me :) And we’ll meet with our fun little play group once a week because mamas needs friend-time, too!
The fun is there, but the pressure is off.
And in true Hybrid Fashion… Mainting summer schedules are not bad by any means —If you have hung around here for any period of time you know that I (Lily) thrive on routines and structure. And when my littles were littler we maintained year round structure for the sanity of every last one of us! But we are entering a new season in which some of my kids can walk to the fishing pond by themselves, ride their bikes to a neighbors house, and spend hours working on a lego invention without me worrying they’re actually coloring on their walls instead. So, what is going to give your family life and joy this summer? What’s going to offer you simplicity? What is going to give you rest before the school year ahead? Write them down, plan them out, and then do that.