Last summer, I’m going to be honest – I dealt with a lot of working mom guilt and jealousy. Guilt that I was schlepping my kids from camp to camp because my husband and I needed to work. Jealousy when I would see status updates of moms enjoying the pool with their kids in the middle of the work day.
Of course, these feelings were completely self-induced. My kids had a great summer and didn’t seem to resent my 9-5.
Only I did.
With summer break looming (my kids only have 11 school days left, but who’s counting), I have made a commitment that those feelings are not allowed to rise up this year.
How am I going to combat them?
A summer bucket list.
This week we wrote ours out on a piece of poster board. It has a glitter boarder because glitter makes all things better. On that glittery stock, we listed all the big and little activities the kids want to do this summer.
The children’s museum
In total, we came up with 32 things we want to do together.
When we finished it, I said to my kids, “Are we going to have a good summer?”
My nearly 6-year-old daughter Adeline joyfully said, “No, we are going to have a GREAT summer!”
As I read over the list, I was reminded that the idea of what a perfect summer looks like was something I had created in my head and did not align with my kids’ ideas of a perfect summer. Their desires are simple. A family day at the zoo. A water balloon fight. A canoe ride on the river near our home. These are things we absolutely can and will do – even with me having a traditional day job.
It will be a GREAT summer.
If you have ever looked at another mom’s Instagram or Facebook feed in the summertime and thought, I wish that was my summer, I want to encourage you to change your thinking this year. Eliminate the mom guilt and jealousy.
It isn’t about what time of day you go to the pool, it’s about getting in the water when you go.
It isn’t about flying to another country, it’s about doing what makes sense for your family – even if that means a simple drive on the country roads near your home.
It isn’t about spending a lot of money, it’s about being together.
20 years from now we will look back on these summer months and not remember the stress of juggling camps and work, we’ll remember the splashes at the pool and the nights spent roasting marshmallows with neighbors.
Pay attention now to the moments that make summer great for your family.
And maybe, make a summer bucket list.
Have you ever made a summer bucket list? If so, what did you include?
This post was also published on Today Parenting and discussed on The Today Show. Check out the clip below.