With each day that brings us closer to that magical occasion which is summer holidays I can’t help but feel a certain degree of relief floating around in the pit of my stomach. The end of school means no more scrambling at 8:17am to find lunch supplies for the boy child so I can have him out the door by 8:25am. The end of school means no more 8:30pm battle of the wits to find new and inventive ways to get the kids to go to sleep in broad daylight. The end of school means road trips and not having to work around the school time schedule. It means relaxing with our feet up. It means putting the brakes on for a couple of months.
Or does it?
Perhaps once the pressing matter of school has ended I will once again throw us into a plethora of extracurricular activities and other “must-do” engagements. Maybe I will find myself scheduling every minute of the months of July and August and conceivably we will be just as busy, if not busier, than we were during the school year. So where does that leave us? Scuttling around once again in the wee hours of the morning trying to get ready while the kids whine that they are tired from getting to bed late because, when it comes down to it, who can really go to sleep when it looks like it’s four in the afternoon outside?
It leaves us stressed out and anxious.
I’ve consciously made the decision that’s not what our summer will be about this year. Quite frankly I’m overdue for a break and if I know my children, they are too. I want my family’s two months of summer bliss to be about carefree whimsy. Because what’s the worst that could happen if we just simply let the day take us? What if we woke up every morning and instead of calculating each and every step forward, we let the day fold out naturally?
I want to picnic at the beach. I want to sporadically pull the car over to pick a bouquet of wildflowers with Sophie. I want to drive remote control cars at the skate park with Lars (I’m not entirely sure you’re allowed to do that actually). I want to bring all of my romanticized ideas of parenting to light this summer because it seems that so far in this parenting game I’ve been too busy planning every upcoming second to do otherwise.
I was a 90’s kid and I loved summer vacation. We usually were living on an acreage somewhere but that didn’t stop my brother and me from doing all of the awesome things that kids always have and forever should appreciate about summer break. We explored. We rode our bikes (a lot). We were private eyes. We built shoddy tree houses to hide in from the monsters that lurked in the wood. We snuck juice powder from the kitchen cupboards and hid out in the tree line while our finger tips were slowly dyed purple. We had our imaginations therefore we had it all.
I can’t recall my mom ever planning out my summer for me, can you? It actually sounds quite preposterous when I think about my own childhood. Summer was a time to exercise the imagination — so if you were an adult, the only way you were getting in on our play was if you had a pretty darn good idea for a make-believe scenario.
But now with Pinterest boards called, “Summer planning on a budget” and blog posts like, “100 ways to keep your kids moving this summer” it simply seems the norm to map out every moment of the your child’s two months of schooling freedom.
I read an article online a few weeks ago called, “10 Way to Give Your Child a 1970’s Kind of Summer” and I thought it was great. It was aimed to an older age group than my children so of course a few ideas must be tweaked (I probably won’t be dropping my four and six year old off at the movie theater for the day thank you kindly) but the essence of this article was bang on.
I want my children to experience the same stress free summers I did. No deadlines. No “Have to’s”. No set in stone plans. No monotony. Just what summer holidays were intended to be — a split from the everyday. This summer, instead of jam packed, premeditated and Pinterested activities; I’m going to teach my kids how to create their own adventures.