Oh summer, I have such a love/hate relationship with you.
I love you because your weather is warm and your days are long. Because there are beaches to visit, boats to ride on, and s’mores to make. I love that we can throw on our shoes and head outside without worrying about piling on the layers and coats. I love the never-ending list of fun things to do and I love the relaxing times, too.
So where does the hate come in with all that awesomeness??? Because, while I love all that warmth and sunshine and fun things to do, your summer days also tend to bring on a lot of mom guilt for me.
I see my social media feed blowing up with photos of people enjoying their summer days. Beach trips and ice cream and pool days and picnics and the list goes on… While over here at my house, most days – my boys and I just have normal days. They go to school, I work. When they’re home, I’m busy catching up on cleaning and laundry and grocery shopping and trying to squeeze in a nap for my 2 year old somewhere in there. There’s so much to do just to keep our house running, that we aren’t always able to take advantage of your awesomeness. I end up feeling guilty when I see that sunshine and we are inside taking care of responsibilities (or just being lazy in our jammies) and not outside doing something epic.
Well, thankfully, my friend Virginia over at The Good Life Photography was able to snap me right out of that “Woe is me” attitude. She had a great post on Facebook last week about how we need to manage our expectations of what a great summer should be. Not every second of every day has to be jammed packed with awesomeness – She writes:
“I have spent so much time in previous summers worrying about making every day super amazing and full of memory-making activities, only to let myself down and riddle myself with guilt for being a crappy summertime mom. But then I realized, they don’t need eight hours of awesome to make a memory – they only need 15 minutes of awesome to declare the day to be ‘the best day ever’.”
Her words immediately clicked with me and made me feel like I’m not alone in my feelings. YES! Not every second of every day has to be amazing. My kids, like many others, take joy in the simple things. Yes, pool days and beach days and boat rides are great – and we will have lots of those days – but, those things are just not possible every day. Because, in our house (and yours, I’m sure), work still needs to get done, the house still needs to get cleaned, the groceries still need to be gotten, and the dinners still need to get on the table. And as much as I would love to spend the whole summer outside having fun, my responsibilities tend to get in the way.
Yesterday, we had one of those responsible days. The sun was shining, the weather was warm – but not too hot – and it was the perfect day to be outside. So, what did we do? Well, I had a to-do list a mile long and spent the entire day inside cleaning, working, and catching up on the laundry pile that was at an all time high while the boys occupied themselves with Legos, trucks, and TV. And before I knew it, it was 5 pm, we were getting in the car to go to the grocery store, and I realized that it was the first time we had stepped out of the house all day. Feeling the warmth of the sun on our faces didn’t bring joy… it immediately brought on all that mom guilt “Why aren’t I the ‘good mom’ that comes up with some super fun activity that we should have been doing today?”.
But, then, Virginia’s words popped into my head – how she said all it takes is 15 minutes of awesome to make it a great day. So, while at the grocery store, I threw some popsicles in my cart at the last minute (which is huge because I am not a list strayer 😉 ). And when we got home, we ate dinner on the back patio (which the boys love to do) and I surprised them with popsicles on the back steps as we watched the sun go behind the trees. That, my friends, was all it took to have a great summer day. Sitting there with them – watching their smiles, hearing their laughter, and seeing the popsicle juice drip down their chins – I already knew that at bedtime, they would talk about how this was “the best day ever”.