A Thriving Summer

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I kind of just realized that summer is almost here. I mean, I knew summer was coming because the kids started coming home with less and less homework and the temperatures have been creeping up and we’ve been eating popsicles almost every afternoon. But it didn’t really sink in until this morning that next week is the last week of school. Not only is it the last week of school but they get out early each of those 4 days. (Insert panic.) If you’re a mother of school-aged children, then you’re familiar with the combined feelings of relief and fear that comes with planning a summer routine. Then, of course, add in trying to build your business, which you run from home, which is now suddenly full of children all day long for 8 straight weeks.

I’m so ready for the relaxed schedule and the ability to do things at our own pace but it also means finding things to do that don’t require too much screen time, too much mess, or me spending too much time in the car. Here’s the other thing: I don’t want to have yet another summer where I wonder where the days went. Where I look back and find nothing worth remembering. Not that I feel the need to fill the summer with blockbuster events every week, but I do want to be intentional about crafting memories for myself and the kids. I do want to feel like we accomplished something both individually and together, no matter how small. I don’t want to just survive, I want us to thrive.

How am I going to thrive summer?

  1. Establish routine. I’m digging in my bag of old Waldorf-inspired resources and implementing a weekly and daily rhythm. The four of us will all function better when we know what the expectations for the day and week will be. We’ll have weekly trips to the library, pool, and beach but layer in plenty of open space for rest, spontaneity, and for mommy to work.

  2. One Family, One Book. In the past our schools have done One School, One Book, a reading initiative where every family is given one book to read at home that they then discuss at school. I love the idea of bringing this into our summer plans. One, this will ensure that everyone is getting some reading in, and two, it provides another way for us to connect. At the top of my list are James and the Giant Peach and The Phantom Tollbooth.

  3. Family Vacation. I’m really disappointed that we won’t be able to travel to Louisiana to spend time with the grandparents. One of the things I didn’t account for in this move is just how much more expensive and infrequent direct flights are from San Francisco to New Orleans but we have to make the best of it. I’m hoping I can distract the children by making a trip up to Anderson Valley in Mendocino County to see another stretch of coastline, eat some cheese, and drive through a redwood tree.

  4. Popsicles. Word on the street is that this particular part of California is really hot in the summer so I’m devoting a significant portion of the summer grocery budget to popsicles so that we at least feel a little cooler on those super warm days. Besides, doesn’t everyone feel better after eating a popsicle?

At first, I thought my list needed to be much longer but the reality is that I still believe in simplicity and ease. By using just these three survival—nay—thrival techniques, I’m hoping that the summer will be fun, but not over-done, full without being overwhelming. Mostly, I just want to be present. And I’m hopeful that this little list encourages and supports that desire.