Monday, June 17, 2013

My Summer Bucket List (and Why I am Taking the Summer Off) {Mindful Mothering Mondays}

A friend said it first, told me that she was taking the summer off.  No driving the kids to extra activities or taking on more responsibilities.  A summer off.  My fellow homeschool Mama said it without apology.  "This is my summer.  I'm taking it off."  I thought she was brave and heroic.  And later, I thought yep, I'm doing the same.

As the school year wraps up and summer begins, we'd all like to think that it is an automatic break.  It is, from some things like academics, but in other ways it can become more work.  For those of us who homeschool, the relief from the crush of an academic day in the house with our kids can become anything but a break when faced with the demands that summer can bring with it.

Back when I was in MOPS, before I had any school aged kids or activities, or knew what it was to have to drive kids hither and yon all during the school day, the Mentor Mom of our group told me "We take the summers off.  No extra activities.  No sports.  Nothing during the summer but family time.  That's it." I honestly thought it was a bit of a killjoy, making a strident rule like that; then my kids grew and I figured it out.

Because a crazy schedule can do just that - make the Mama insane, burn the whole family down to nothing and steal each precious day.  I'm determined to hold onto these breezy summer days and keep them as loose and laid back as possible, ready to jet off at a moments notice or just spend an afternoon watching the world go by.  As much as we try to keep our family exempt from the rat race of modern family life during the school year, it can sneak in here and there.  I want a free summer.  I want a summer off.  I want a summer where we stay up late and sleep in til whenever we feel like getting up, when ice cream is a viable dinner option and splashing in the kiddie pool before bed counts as a bath.  I want a summer where I lay anxiety to rest and shoo away stress because there really is nothing else to do but whatever we are doing right now.  Where everything else is secondary and falling asleep in your bathing suit is completely acceptable.

So, instead of signing the kids up for scheduled events, I write out a wish list of sorts - happy, summertime things that we can leisurely tick off as we go along, or maybe just scratch out altogether in pursuit of something different.  We kicked off last week, heading to the strawberry fields (with most of the county, it turns out - the place was packed!).  With no schedule, no rush, no other place to be, we took all the time we wanted.  When the baby needed to nurse, I pulled up a chair right there at the edge of the field and watched my kids play and pick and enjoy themselves.  When Peter got tired, I tucked him into his car seat and picked berries nearest the car.  It felt easy because it was easy.  We just went with the flow of the day and I could feel myself start  to relax - perhaps for the first time in a long time.  This is how it is supposed to feel.  This is what I wanted.  This is what I've been hoping for.  A summer off of schedule, stress and system.  A summer full of imagination, possibility and freedom

 Here's my summer bucket list, in no particular order.  If you have any more ideas for us, let me know in the comments!

1. Walk down the street for ice cream

2. Go to an outdoor concert

3. Take weekly nature walks

4. Get in the water once per week

5. Visit at least two of the Great Lakes

6. Visit at  least two museums

7. Do pedicures with my girls

8. Take naps outside

9. Camp in the back yard

10. Camp at campsite

11. Make dinner over the fire pit

12. Eat dinner outside as much as possible

13. Meet up with friends once per week

14. Read to and with each kid every day.

15. Learn new words every day (daily vocab words!)

16. Walk 2 miles a day

17. Teach my bigs to cook

18. Say "yes" as much as possible

19. Date my husband

20. Go to a spray park

21. Go on a day trip

22. Spend a day in the woods

23. Go fishing

24. Make iced coffee. A lot of it.

25. Tie Dye.  Everything.

26. Visit a  drive-in, both dining and movies

27. Make jam

28. Pick berries!

29. Have family movie nights - and sleep on the floor.

30. Make a model with my boys

31. Start knitting Fall sweaters

32. Bake something new every week

33. Have friends over for dinner

34. Have a water fight

35. Go to a county fair

What's on your summer bucket list?


{It's Mindful Mothering Mondays, a day to take a deep breath and write out your mothering journey, whatever form it takes. A day to link up for encouragement from others who are in this same phase of life. A day of writing out the trials and triumphs and what you're learning right where you are, right now.

You might post recent struggles or thoughts. Maybe just a picture or a quote. Or maybe you'll just come here and read the links that others post. Whatever form your participation takes, this is a day for you.
We are all in this, together. Together, we can encourage and build one another up, be honest with our shortcomings and strengthened by community to keep fighting the good fight.

I chose Mondays because what Mama doesn't need a little encouragement on a Monday? As such, I'll have the link up ready to go on Sunday night for you to begin submitting your links.

I hope you'll meet with me each Monday! Here's what to do ~

Link up your post below. Remember to put the link to the exact post you want to link, and not just your blog url. Include in your post a link back here so others who want to join in can find us! And visit some other Mamas who have linked up.

Post the community graphic within your post, so people who are reading your Mindful Mothering post can come back here and find the rest of us!

Invite the writers of your favorite blogs to join in!

Share this meme with others on facebook and twitter. This community is for all moms, and the more that participate, the more we will be able to enjoy!!}

Grab the graphic here:

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  1. I loved this post it was exactly what I needed to read today thank you. Xx

  2. What a wonderful idea! I think I will make my own list and borrow a few ideas from yours. Here's to a low key summer!

  3. Sounds like a perfect way to spend the summer. We have yet to venture into kid activities at any time of the year yet, but you can bet when we do, summers will be ours to do with as we please, no schedules with activities to be at. Enjoy your summer, that bucket list is sure to keep you guys busy and oh so happy.


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